Orpheus Ascending

The real TV girl in his life is perhaps the avenger fury: Neela Mahendra, an independent producer-cum-revolutionary who embroils Solanka in South Asian politics and a romance that makes him quote Pat Boone lyrics. Lastly, Jealous would have to be Eleanor Masters Solanka, the Shakespeare scholar and jilted ex-wife. She haunts him on the phone and taunts him with the chance to be jealous himself. (And maybe it's middle-aged me but I couldn't help thinking that a novel like this with a female protagonist—not particularly fit or fine, a middle-aged, stuffy academic-cum-dollmaker who is nonetheless irresistible to the erudite, the kinky, and the fabulous—would not be taken seriously. But hey, we can hope.)

The bore’s last sigh: Salman Rushdie takes on New York.
photo: Rossano B. Maniscachi
The bore’s last sigh: Salman Rushdie takes on New York.

Suffice it to say that in Fury these creatures pursue Malik with zeal. If Rushdie brought Ormus, the Orphic musician of Ground Beneath Her Feet, to an end reminiscent of John Lennon's, he goes by the mythic book this time and brings Malik Solanka fatefully to a staircase in the sky. Fury comes nowhere near the heights this brilliant novelist has reached before, lacking a real match between the mythic leanings of the author and the mysteries of his new home. I'd give him some time to get to know us and our gods and demons.

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