Fury (Salman Rushdie) – First Impressions

Fury contains an overwhelming maelstrom of socio-economic-cultural-political-philosophical-mythological-literary-you-name-it-he-references-it references Rushdie pulls out and brandishes before the (probably, well anyway I am) less well-read reader.

My first reaction to this is to feel very stupid. I mean yeah, when he talks of Spinoza and Derrida, I know they’re philosophers; when he refers to Alex Portnoy and Mr Roth I know he means Philip; and when he mentions Jil Sander power suits and Marcus Schenkenberg hell yeah I know what he’s talking about there, but when he describes a building with a cornerstone etching of “to Pythianism”, I’m afraid I must admit I was unaware that this was a clash of Greek and Mesopotamian metaphors, or that Pytho was the ancient name of Delphi, or that Pythian verse is written in the dactylic hexameter, so thank you for telling me, Mr Rushdie.

My second reaction is that he’s trying a little too hard. In describing a girl, I don’t quite get the need to include that she is wearing a black D’Angelo Voodoo baseball cap, except so that Rushdie can say look at me peeps, I still got love fo’ the streets. When describing a commercial featuring a group of fashionable vampires wearing Ray-Bans, I don’t quite get the need to explain that “thanks to Buffy on TV, vampires were hot”. It’s something I noted about The Ground Beneath Her Feet as well. I can’t say there’s anything wrong with it, it’s just that I have this recurring mental image of Salman Rushdie doing Dr Evil’s “I’m cool…I’m hip…t-chk-a-chk-a-chk-a etc.” routine, and it’s kinda scary.

But it’s early days yet. I’m only 49 pages into the book, and although I may poke a little fun at him now and then, Salman Rushdie is still a writer whose mastery and flair with the English language makes me quail and kowtow and wonder why the hell anyone ever bothers reading this website when they could be reading Salman Rushdie.