The Ground Beneath Her Feet A Novel

Salman Rushdie




Trade Paperback

592 Pages


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In this remaking of the myth of Orpheus, Rushdie tells the story of Vina Apsara, a pop star, and Ormus Cama, an extraordinary songwriter and musician, who captivate and change the world through their music and their romance. Beginning in Bombay in the fifties, moving to London in the sixties, and New York for the last quarter century, the novel pulsates with a half-century of music and celebrates the power rock 'n' roll.


Praise for The Ground Beneath Her Feet

"Rushdie is a real writer, and in this book he makes us laugh with the sheer proliferating energy of his call."—Michael Wood, The New York Times Book Review

"Completely seductive. This is Rushdie at his absolute, almost insolently global best—his adroit mastery of language serves brilliantly imagined characters and a mesmerizing narrative."—Toni Morrison

"Smashing. An ambitious playful marvel . . . joins a body of work that may well last as long as the mythologies it celebrates."—David Kipen, San Francisco Chronicle

"An ode to literature, a satirical political commentary, and, of course, a love
story. Replete with the surpluses of intellect and fancy that define Rushdie's
earlier fiction."—Gail Caldwell, The Boston Sunday Globe

"No novelist currently writing in English does so with more energy, intelligence and allusiveness than Rushdie. Nearly every page of The Ground Beneath Her Feet offers something to arrest a devoted reader's attention: puns and wordplays galore . . . and enough literary echoes—of Joyce, Yeats, Frost, Dante, oh hell, of nearly everybody—to keep graduate students on the prowl through these pages for years."—Paul Gray, Time

"[A] brilliant new novel . . . Rushdie writes like a wizard, and the book teems with virtuoso set pieces . . . Rushdie's muse is still singing, and the effect is out of this world."—Entertainment Weekly

"It's the best thing ever written about rock and roll. It IS rock and roll . . . Comparison to James Joyce's Ulysses is inevitable, and earned . . . It's a book of profound affirmation, of indomitable humanity. Of love. A book of greatness." —Michael Pakenham, The Baltimore Sun

"Inspired . . . uplifting . . . This book is so rich in wit and erudition, fantasy and wordplay—in sheer playfulness—that it's never less than splendid, impressive, sublime."—David Walton, The Dallas Morning News

"Salman Rushdie's new novel is a wonderful storytelling beast that feeds on pop culture, misfit history and the persistence of myth. Rushdie's epic range has never been more impressive. Here is a great novelist operating as a master of metamorphosis transforming life, art and language in the subterranean maze of his imagination."—Don DeLillo

"The blessings and curses of fame, the seismic character of sociopolitical change, and the dream of transcending our earthbound natures are the commanding though scarcely only themes of this brilliant epic reimagining of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice . . . Photojournalist (and 'event junkie') Umeed, a.k.a. 'Rai' Merchant relates in a stunningly flexible, observant, and wry narrative voice the story of the volatile enduring love binding two Indian-born musical superstars: coloratura rock singer Vina Apsara and composer-performer Orpheus Cama. That story begins in the late 1980s when Vina perishes in an earthquake (one of this novel's recurring symbolic events); backtracks to describe, in luscious comic detail, Vina's violence-haunted American childhood, Orpheus's youth among a prominent Parsi family ruled by his Anglophilic scholar-athlete father 'Sir Darius' (a magnificently drawn character) and shaped by the contrary fates of two sets of twin sons (one of whom becomes a notorious mass murderer), and Rai's own confused relations with them both. The narrative then surges forward to 1995, after Vina's apparent 'reincarnation' has ironically confirmed Orpheus's messianic conviction that 'There is a world other than ours and it's bursting through our own continuum's flimsy defences,' and, in a way Rai could not have foreseen, this Orpheus and Eurydice are reunited. No brief summary can accurately convey this astonishingly rich novel's historical, religious, mythological and, not least, pop-musical range of reference, or the exhilaration of Rushdie's mischievous transliterations of world history (Oswald's gun jammed; Borges's Pierre Menard really did write Don Quixote). It's a brash polyglot symphony of colliding and cross-pollinating 'worlds'; a vision of internationalism that echoes and amplifies the plea for obliterating our differences so prominent in Rushdie's The Moor's Last Sigh (1996). An unparalleled demonstration of a great writer at the peak of his powers."—Kirkus Reviews

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1THE KEEPER OF BEESOn St.Valentine's Day, 1989, the last day of her life, the legendary popular singer Vina Apsara woke sobbing from a dream of human sacrifice in which she had been the intended victim. Bare-torsoed men resembling the actor Christopher Plummer had been gripping her by the wrists and ankles. Her body was splayed out, naked and writhing, over a polished stone bearing the graven image of the snakebird Quetzalcoatl. The open mouth of the plumed serpent surrounded a dark hollow scooped out of the stone, and although her own mouth was stretched wide by
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  • Salman Rushdie

  • Salman Rushdie is the author of several novels, including Grimus, Midnight's Children, The Satanic Verses, Haroun and the Sea of Stories, The Moor's Last Sigh, The Ground Beneath Her Feet, and Fury, and a book of stories, East, West. He has also published works of nonfiction, including The Jaguar Smile, Imaginary Homelands, and The Wizard of Oz.