Title: Fury: A Novel
Author: Salman Rushdie
Release Date: September 4, 2001
Publisher: Random House
Genre: Literary Fiction
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4 out of 5
Fury tells the story of Malik Solanka, a fifty-five year old professor-turned-inventor living in New York City. He has left his wife, Eleanor, and their son in London without explanation – he only knew he had to get away from them as soon as possible. This is a portrayal of New York City and American society that is at once honest and satirical.
Fury is a weird book. There’s no getting around that. It’s definitely a short novel for Rushdie, but it’s packed with strange occurrences and fantastical adventures. That being said, it’s also a biting, sarcastic look at the excesses of late ‘90’s New York City – from the Elian Gonzales scandal to the Bush-Gore presidential election, Rushdie takes on and personifies the entire city of New York in this book.
The characters in Fury aren’t necessarily the best developed, but they are certainly intriguing. From Malik Solanka, in the middle of a personal crisis and pursued by three beautiful and intelligent women, to Neela, the literary equivalent of Salman Rushdie’s then-wife, Padma Lakshmi (right down to the scar on her arm from a car accident), these are fascinating characters. Though the reader never necessarily establishes an emotional connection with the people in the novel (likely a conscious decision on the author’s part), it’s still interested to see where they end up.
The main theme of Fury is the idea of love versus violence – how, while one can exist without the other, they are often inexplicably intertwined. Love can often turn into violence. There is fury everywhere, fury that becomes violence, but is tempered by love.
Rushdie’s writing, as always, is absolutely breathtaking in Fury. I marked several passages, and it was difficult to determine which of these I wanted to share in my review. I’ve always believed that Salman Rushdie’s novels are worth reading simply for his amazing ability to manipulate language, and this book is no exception.
“He had known from the first minute of this illicit liaison that he was playing with fire, that everything he had driven deep down within himself was being stirred, the seals were being broken one by one, and that the past, which had almost destroyed him once before, might yet be given a second chance to finish the job.” – page 135
“And these three young men, for whom love had become a question of violence and possession, of doing and being done to, had gone to the frontier between love and death, and their fury had worn it away, the fury they could not articulate, born of what they, who had so much, had never been able to acquire: lessness, ordinariness. Real life.” – page 202
I know that Fury is not even close to one of Salman Rushdie’s most popular works, but I still enjoyed reading it. There’s a very good reason that he’s my favorite author – Rushdie is a master at creating beautifully written novels that really make the reader contemplate their themes.