4.4 19
by Salman Rushdie

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"Malik Solanka, historian of ideas and dollmaker extraordinaire, steps out of his life one day, abandons his family without a word of explanation, and flees London for New York. There's a fury within him, and he fears he has become dangerous to those he loves. He arrives in New York at a time of unprecedented plenty, in the highest hour of America's wealth and power,…  See more details below


"Malik Solanka, historian of ideas and dollmaker extraordinaire, steps out of his life one day, abandons his family without a word of explanation, and flees London for New York. There's a fury within him, and he fears he has become dangerous to those he loves. He arrives in New York at a time of unprecedented plenty, in the highest hour of America's wealth and power, seeking to "erase" himself. Eat me, America, he prays, and give me peace." But fury is all around him. Cabdrivers spout invective. A serial killer is murdering women with a lump of concrete. The petty spats and bone-deep resentments of the metropolis engulf him. His own thoughts, emotions, and desires, meanwhile, are also running wild. A tall, green-eyed blonde in a D'Angelo Voodoo baseball cap is in store for him. As is another woman, with whom he will fall in love and be drawn toward a different fury, whose roots lie on the far side of the world.

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
Equipped with a virtual sixth sense of observation, a beyond-this-world command of language, and an uncanny ability to zero in on contemporary culture and chronicle all its frivolity and majesty, Salman Rushdie is among our greatest living writers. He is also one of our most prodigious.

Fury, his eighth novel, is a ferocious comedy that combines the writer's masterful storytelling with a commentary on 21st-century American society that packs a rabid pit bull's bite. It is, in a word, brilliant.

Fifty-five-year-old Malik Solanka is having a Dantesque midlife crisis. A former philosophy professor and creator of a popular doll known as "Little Brain," Malik is perched on a crag that overlooks an abyss of violence. He is very close to jumping in. Living in self-imposed exile in Manhattan during the summer of 2000, he has just left his second wife in London after finding himself consumed by thoughts of murder: "actual murder, not the metaphorical kind. He'd even brought a carving knife upstairs and stood for a terrible, dumb minute over the body of his sleeping wife." Like Orestes in the Greek tragedy cycle The Oresteia, Malik is being pursued by furies of his own making, riddled with a deep guilt that goes beyond his fleeting thoughts of bumping off his wife. As he traverses the infernal streets of New York in search of redemption and understanding, he is bombarded by streams of erratic and obscenely comedic stimuli -- cell phones, loud talkers, 24-hour coverage of Elián González, Rudy Giuliani, The Sopranos, designer clothes, fast food experiences that would lead a lab rat to commit suicide. For everyone else in New York, it's just an average day.

Fusing the transience of modern life with the philosophical truths of antiquity, Rushdie elevates American pop culture to the realm of myth -- but it is a myth as saccharine and diaphanous as cotton candy, a myth so capricious that no one can truly find comfort in its allegory. Caustic, intelligent, and sometimes "How the hell did he think of that?" hilarious, Fury is more than just our first great satire of the 21st century, it is a minor masterpiece. (Stephen Bloom)

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Random House Publishing Group
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Professor Malik Solanka, retired historian of ideas, irascible dollmaker, and since his recent fifty-fifth birthday celibate and solitary by his own (much criticized) choice, in his silvered years found himself living in a golden age. Outside his window a long, humid summer, the first hot season of the third millennium, baked and perspired. The city boiled with money. Rents and property values had never been higher, and in the garment industry it was widely held that fashion had never been so fashionable. New restaurants opened every hour. Stores, dealerships, galleries struggled to satisfy the skyrocketing demand for ever more recherch produce: limited-edition olive oils, three-hundred-dollar corkscrews, customized Humvees, the latest anti-virus software, escort services featuring contortionists and twins, video installations, outsider art, featherlight shawls made from the chin-fluff of extinct mountain goats. So many people were doing up their apartments that supplies of high-grade fixtures and fittings were at a premium. There were waiting lists for baths, doorknobs, imported hardwoods, antiqued fireplaces, bidets, marble slabs. In spite of the recent falls in the value of the Nasdaq index and the value of Amazon stock, the new technology had the city by the ears: the talk was still of start-ups, IPOs, interactivity, the unimaginable future that had just begun to begin. The future was a casino, and everyone was gambling, and everyone expected to win.

On Professor Solanka’s street, well-heeled white youths lounged in baggy garments on roseate stoops, stylishly simulating indigence while they waited for the billionairedom that would surely be along sometime soon. There was a tall, green-eyed young woman with steeply slanting Central European cheekbones who particularly caught his sexually abstinent but still roving eye. Her spiky strawberry-blond hair stuck out clown-fashion from under a black D’Angelo Voodoo baseball cap, her lips were full and sardonic, and she giggled rudely behind a perfunctory palm as old-world, dandyish, cane-twirling little Solly Solanka in straw Panama hat and cream linen suit went by on his afternoon walk. Solly: the college identity he’d never cared for but had not entirely managed to lose.

“Hey, sir? Sir, excuse me?” The blonde was calling out to him, in imperious tones that insisted on a reply. Her satraps became watchful, like a Praetorian guard. She was breaking a rule of big-city life, breaking it brazenly, sure of her power, confident of her turf and posse, fearing nothing. This was just pretty-girl chutzpah; no big deal. Professor Solanka paused and turned to face the lounging goddess of the threshold, who proceeded, unnervingly, to interview him. “You walk a lot. I mean, five or six times a day, I see you walking someplace. I’m sitting here, I see you come, I see you go, but there’s no dog, and it’s not like you come back with lady friends or produce. Also, the hours are strange, it can’t be that you’re going to a job. So I’m asking myself, Why is he always out walking alone? There’s a guy with a lump of concrete hitting women on the head across town, maybe you heard that, but if I thought you were a weirdo, I wouldn’t be talking to you. And you have a British accent, which makes you interesting too, right. A few times there we even followed you, but you weren’t going anywhere, just wandering, just covering ground. I got the impression you were looking for something, and it crossed my mind to ask you what that might be. Just being friendly, sir, just being neighborly. You’re kind of a mystery. To me you are, anyhow.”

Sudden anger rose in him. “What I’m looking for,” he barked, “is to be left in peace.” His voice trembled with a rage far bigger than her intrusion merited, the rage which shocked him whenever it coursed through his nervous system, like a flood. Hearing his vehemence, the young woman recoiled, retreating into silence.

“Man,” said the largest, most protective of the Praetorian guard, her lover, no doubt, and her peroxide-blond centurion, “for an apostle of peace you sure are filled up with war.”

She reminded him of someone, but he couldn’t remember whom, and the little failure of memory, the “senior moment,” nagged at him infuriatingly. Luckily she wasn’t there anymore, no one was, when he returned from the Caribbean carnival damp-hatted and soaked through after being caught unprepared by a squall of hard, hot rain. Passing the Congregation Shearith Israel on Central Park West (a white whale of a building with a triangular pediment supported by four count ’em four massive Corinthian columns), Professor Solanka scurrying through the downpour remembered the newly bat-mitzvahed thirteen-year-old girl he’d glimpsed through the side door, waiting knife in hand for the ceremony of the blessing of the bread. No religion offers a ceremony of the Counting of the Blessings, mused Professor Solanka: you’d think the Anglicans, at least, would have come up with one of those. The girl’s face glowed through the gathered gloom, its young round features utterly confident of achieving the highest expectations. Yes, a blessed time, if you cared to use words like “blessed”; which Solanka, a skeptic, did not.

On nearby Amsterdam Avenue there was a summer block party, a street market, doing good business in spite of the showers. Professor Solanka surmised that in the greater part of the planet the goods piled high on these cut-price barrows would have filled the shelves and display cabinets of the most exclusive little boutiques and upper-echelon department stores. In all of India, China, Africa, and much of the southern American continent, those who had the leisure and wallet for fashion—or more simply, in the poorer latitudes, for the mere acquisition of things—would have killed for the street merchandise of Manhattan, as also for the cast-off clothing and soft furnishings to be found in the opulent thrift stores, the reject china and designer-label bargains to be found in downtown discount emporia. America insulted the rest of the planet, thought Malik Solanka in his old-fashioned way, by treating such bounty with the shoulder-shrugging casualness of the inequitably wealthy. But New York in this time of plenty had become the object and goal of the world’s concupiscence and lust, and the “insult” only made the rest of the planet more desirous than ever. On Central Park West the horse-drawn carriages moved up and down. The jingling of the bells on the harnesses sounded like cash in hand.

The season’s hit movie portrayed the decadence of Caesar Joaquin Phoenix’s imperial Rome, in which honor and dignity, not to mention life-and-death actions and distractions, were to be found only in the computer-regenerated illusion of the great gladiatorial arena, the Flavian Amphitheatre or Colosseum. In New York, too, there were circuses as well as bread: a musical about lovable lions, a bike race on Fifth, Springsteen at the Garden with a song about the forty-one police gunshots that killed innocent Amadou Diallo, the police union’s threat to boycott the Boss’s concert, Hillary vs. Rudy, a cardinal’s funeral, a movie about lovable dinosaurs, the motorcades of two largely interchangeable and certainly unlovable presidential candidates (Gush, Bore), Hillary vs. Rick, the lightning storms that hit the Springsteen concert and Shea Stadium, a cardinal’s inauguration, a cartoon about lovable British chickens, and even a literary festival; plus a series of “exuberant” parades celebrating the city’s many ethnic, national, and sexual subcultures and ending (sometimes) in knifings and assaults on (usually) women. Professor Solanka, who thought of himself as egalitarian by nature and a born-and-bred metropolitan of the countryside-is-for-cows persuasion, on parade days strolled sweatily cheek by jowl among his fellow citizens. One Sunday he rubbed shoulders with slim-hipped gay-pride prancers, the next weekend he got jiggy beside a big-assed Puerto Rican girl wearing her national flag as a bra. He didn’t feel intruded upon amid these multitudes; to the contrary. There was a satisfying anonymity in the crowds, an absence of intrusion. Nobody here was interested in his mysteries. Everyone was here to lose themselves. Such was the unarticulated magic of the masses, and these days losing himself was just about Professor Solanka’s only purpose in life. This particular rainy weekend there was a calypso beat in the air, not the mere Harry Belafonte Jamaica-farewells and jackass-songs of Solanka’s somewhat guiltily fond memory (“Now I tell you in a positive way / don’ tie me donkey down dere / ’cause me donkey will jump and bray / don’ tie me donkey down dere!”), but the true satirical music of the Jamaican troubadour-polemicists, Banana Bird, Cool Runnings, Yellowbelly, live in Bryant Park and on shoulder-high boomboxes up and down Broadway.

When he got home from the parade, however, Professor Solanka was seized by melancholy, his usual secret sadness, which he sublimated into the public sphere. Something was amiss with the world. The optimistic peace-and-love philosophy of his youth having given him up, he no longer knew how to reconcile himself to an increasingly phony (he loathed, in this context, the otherwise excellent word “virtual”) reality. Questions of power preyed on his mind. While the overheated citizenry was eating these many varieties of lotus, who knew what the city’s rulers were getting away with—not the Giulianis and Safirs, who responded so contemptibly to the complaints of abused women until amateur videos of the incidents showed up on the evening news, not these crude glove-puppets, but the high ones who were always there, forever feeding their insatiable desires, seeking out newness, devouring beauty, and always, always wanting more? The never encountered but ever present kings of the world—godless Malik Solanka avoided crediting these human phantoms with the gift of omnipresence—the petulant, lethal Caesars, as his friend Rhinehart would say, the Bolingbrokes cold of soul, the tribunes with their hands up the mayor’s and police commissioner’s Coriolanuses . . . Professor Solanka shuddered faintly at this last image. He knew himself well enough to be conscious of the broad scarlet streak of vulgarity in his character; still, the crude pun shocked him when he thought of it.

Puppet-masters were making us all jump and bray, Malik Solanka fretted. While we marionettes dance, who is yanking our strings?

The phone was ringing as he came through his front door, the rain still dripping off his hat brim. He answered it snappishly, snatching off its base the cordless unit in the apartment’s entrance hall. “Yes, what, please?” His wife’s voice arrived in his ear via a cable on the Atlantic bed, or maybe in these days when everything was changing it was a satellite high above the ocean, he couldn’t be sure. In these days when the age of pulse was giving way to the age of tone. When the epoch of analog (which was to say also of the richness of language, of analogy) was giving way to the digital era, the final victory of the numerate over the literate. He had always loved her voice. Fifteen years ago in London he had telephoned Morgen Franz, a publishing friend who by chance was away from his desk, and Eleanor Masters, passing by, had picked up the clamoring instrument; they had never met but ended up talking for an hour. A week later they dined at her place, neither of them alluding to the inappropriateness of so intimate a venue for a first date. A decade and a half of togetherness ensued. So, he fell in love with her voice before the rest of her. This had always been their favorite story about each other; now, of course, in love’s brutal aftermath, when memory was reinvented as pain, when voices on the phone were all they had left, it had become one of the saddest. Professor Solanka listened to the sound of Eleanor’s voice and with some distaste imagined it being broken up into little parcels of digitized information, her low lovely voice first consumed and then regurgitated by a mainframe computer probably located someplace like Hyderabad-Deccan. What is the digital equivalent of lovely, he wondered. What are the digits that encode beauty, the number-fingers that enclose, transform, transmit, decode, and somehow, in the process, fail to trap or choke the soul of it. Not because of the technology but in spite of it, beauty, that ghost, that treasure, passes undiminished through the new machines.

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Fury 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Despite the plethora of critical bad-mouthing about this novel, Rushdie's first literary effort from the Big Apple does not disappoint. The casual reader will become immersed in the world of Professor Malik Solanka as the story weaves through his past and present in search of a future that provides meaning and hope, while the critical reader will find hints of magical realism, Baudrillard's postmodern theories of simulacra, and an abundance of classical references tucked away in the pages. Although different from his earlier novels, Fury exemplifies the rapidly changing world of the 21st Century in a way that is uniquely Rushdie.
jgodpstr More than 1 year ago
I'm a huge fan of Salman Rushdie's. And while this book wasn't very well received critically I think it was one of his best. Previous books have explored India, Pakistan, and the middle eastern influence on the world. This book is focused on the American mythos and how we affect the world. As scathing about the us in it's own way as Satanic Verses is of Islam, yet Rushdie still seems to respect the u.s. A touching relationship between father and son. As always filled with Rushdies fantastic and mytholigcal view of the world. One of the best comtemporary writers out there.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Rushdie always creates beautiful prose however, to me this book seemed a little off, compared to his other works. This book is too much a reflection on his own life and his impressions of his new home of NYC. The plot is not separate enough from his own life's course, and this keeps the novel from matching the quality of his other works.
Guest More than 1 year ago
While Rushdie devotees and certain Ph.D. literates might find FURY engrossing, the average reader will likely find themselves overwhelemed by the exposition and underwhelmed by the plot. Rushdie's strength lies not in his intellectual postering, nor in his rapid-fire narrations, but in his choice to show one man's inner struggle among the maelstrom of culture that is New York City, a city (circa 2000) on the doorstep of tragedy. Unfortunately, the setting bears almost no true relevance as FURY is constantly bound and gagged by Malik Solanka's dull mid-life crisis, Malik being a man who is (in Rushdie's own description) 'a priviledged individual with too much self-interest', indeed a self-possessed man who nonetheless only has to snap his fingers to get two of New York's most beautiful women vying for his attention. There is no questioning the strength of Rushdie's prose, but his mind is a bit like a speeding motorcycle, and he doesn't care if his readers spill out of the sidecar. Another example of why the modern literary novel has alienated a larger audience. A fairly weak story cloaked in intellect, a short novel that's a labor to get through.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A rather tiresome read by an author well past his prime. 'Magical Realism', is definitely over. Rushdie attempts to capture the motion and speed of New York City and to recreate the whirlwind of 'The Ground Beneath Her Feet', and of course 'Midnights Children. It doesn't work though. It all comes across lame and tired. His classical references belie an urge for greater respectability (?) or perhaps just an attempt to show-off. They are pedantic as ever though and slow the book down horribly. At the end that is all this book is about, newspaper clippings, greek mythology, and passe transculturalism set in a weak story line.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I literally forgot I was in a book while reading this. When the page went blank to end a chapter I had to recompose my being as someone not witnessing this story firsthand. Without getting into the story too much, let me just say if your personality tends to dip toward the Type A side, you will highly identify with the main character.
Guest More than 1 year ago
There is no question that Salman Rushdie is a genious, if not the defining literary genious of his generation, however in Fury, it seems that he becomes bored after developing his characters and offering his personal insight. Rushdie then goes on to develop a semi-rediculous after plot of Puppets and Indians, however, I enjoyed the book from cover to center. I highly recommend it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Salman Rushdie's writing has mellowed since his "Satanic Verses" so upset the mullahs. "Fury" is slyly witty and the language is absolutely gorgeous, every sentence as smooth as a polished pebble. But the book only touches peripherally on the subject of fury: the fury of the Indian diaspora at being treated as interlopers in countries they have lived in for generations; the fury of intellectuals at crass commercialism. "¿Why did he permit the Puppet Kings such psychological and moral liberty? Perhaps because the scientist and scholar in him could not resist seeing how these new life-forms resolved the battle that rages within all sentient creatures, between light and dark, heart and mind, spirit and machine¿." Compared to these furies, Rushdie's protagonist, an Indian professional facing a late mid-life crisis, seems more irrascible than furious. He flees home, business and family to sulk in a New York rental, where he is improbably fought over by two drop-dead gorgeous women. But as a hero, Professor Solinka is too amiable, too ordinary to wear the fabulous verbal clothes that Rushdie weaves for him.
Guest More than 1 year ago
An engaging story....but after Solanka revealed the genesis of his fury I abadoned the book. I do, however, recommend Fury. Rushdie's writing style is superb which makes for interesting and thoughtful reading.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Salman Rushdie is easily one of the world's greatest living writers. His novels are masterpieces of surrealist tragi-comedy, and read like grand tapestries of the human condition. In spite of its brevity, Fury is no different. You might even say that the author's ability to pack so much depth into 260 pages is itself a remarkable feat. Fury recounts the doings of Malik Solanka, a former Cambridge fellow turned dollmaker, who abandons his wife and child for the anonymity of New York City. Caught in the throes of a mid-life crisis, Solanka believes he can no longer fill the roles of father and husband because they fail to to address his own unique set of emotional needs. But New York proves to be no better, and we are left wondering whether Solanka's bitter take on the American Paradise is actually Rushdie's own. There are pointed barbs directed at the media, politicians, celebrity culture, body-mage, anti-depressants, new age religion, and just about everything else. In between the scathing editorials, something resembling a novel emerges. In a plot worthy of Borges, Rushdie takes us on an imaginary journey wherein man-made dolls rebel against their human creators and fact and fantasy become indistinguishable. Faced with the loss of the self, Solanka sets out on a bizarrre adventure which ultimately leads him back to his own humanity. Rushdie, meanwhile, leads us to a conclusion that is both touching and fulfilling.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She blew ice at what was left of the bush, though the fire was still burning the tree and spreading more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I hear that there search term has "victory" in it. Thats all i know hope it helps. Southpaw