Read the ground beneath her feet by Salman Rushdie Online


The ground shifts repeatedly beneath the reader's feet during the course of Salman Rushdie's sixth novel, a riff on the Orpheus and Eurydice myth set in the high-octane world of rock & roll. Readers get their first clues early on that the universe Rushdie is creating here is not quite the one we know: Jesse Aron Parker, for example, wrote Heartbreak Hotel; Carly SimonThe ground shifts repeatedly beneath the reader's feet during the course of Salman Rushdie's sixth novel, a riff on the Orpheus and Eurydice myth set in the high-octane world of rock & roll. Readers get their first clues early on that the universe Rushdie is creating here is not quite the one we know: Jesse Aron Parker, for example, wrote Heartbreak Hotel; Carly Simon and Guinevere Garfunkel sang Bridge over Troubled Water; and Shirley Jones and Gordon McRae starred in South Pacific. And as the novel progresses, Rushdie adds unmistakable elements of science fiction to his already patented magical realism, with occasionally uneven results. Rushdie's cunning musician is Ormus Cana, the Bombay-born founder of the most popular group in the world. Ormus's Eurydice (and lead singer) is Vina Apsara, the daughter of a Greek American woman and an Indian father who abandoned the family. What these two share, besides amazing musical talent, is a decidedly twisted family life: Ormus's twin brother died at birth and communicates to him from "the other side"; his older brothers, also twins, are, respectively, brain-damaged and a serial killer. Vina, on the other hand, grew up in rural West Virginia where she returned home one day to find her stepfather and sisters shot to death and her mother hanging from a rafter in the barn. No wonder these two believe they were made for each other. Narrated by Rai Merchant, a childhood friend of both Vina and Ormus, The Ground Beneath Her Feet begins with a terrible earthquake in 1989 that swallows Vina whole, then moves back in time to chronicle the tangled histories of all the main characters and a host of minor ones as well. Rushdie's canvas is huge, stretching from India to London to New York and beyond--and there's plenty of room for him to punctuate this epic tale with pointed commentary on his own situation: Muslim-born Rai, for example, remarks that my parents gave me the gift of irreligion, of growing up without bothering to ask people what gods they held dear.... You may argue that the gift was a poisoned chalice, but even if so, that's a cup from which I'd happily drink again. Despite earthquakes, heartbreaks, and a rip in the time-space continuum, The Ground Beneath Her Feet may be the most optimistic, accessible novel Rushdie has yet written....

Title : the ground beneath her feet
Author :
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ISBN : 19213917
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 576 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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the ground beneath her feet Reviews

  • Amanda
    2019-04-28 01:44

    4.5 starsThis was exceptionally well done. A+ for plan and execution Mr. Rushdie. Reading Salman Rushdie makes me want to take an advanced mythology class. He really uses it well. According to Wiki, it is a variation on the Orpheus/Eurydice myth with rock music replacing Orpheus' lyre. The myth works as a red thread from which the author sometimes strays, but to which he attaches an endless series of references. I feel like I maybe got half the references. Thanks to my recent read of The Sandman series I was pretty familiar with the Orpheus/Eurydice myth.I especially liked the way he used music and mashed up songs. This was my second novel by this author and I'm planning on my third next month. I hope at some point to reread this one because I think there is still lots left to explore.

  • Chris
    2019-04-28 08:36

    Knew it was my favorite book ever as soon as I read it. Read all the others I'd said that about again just to be sure. It was. Rushdie's polyglot wordplay and his gift for pun (Why is it that multi-lingual writers like Rushdie and Nabokov are the most exceptional punsters?) are irrepressible. It's a transcontinental, slightly-fantastical elseworld story in which making music seems the most important thing a person can do. Add to it all the burbling, effusive joy with which Rushdie handles language, and this book is pretty well hand-tailored for me. It's also the only place you'll ever find a shout out for the great poet John Shade.

  • Luís C.
    2019-05-04 02:53

    A strange and abounding novel, which plunges us into the destiny of an imaginary rock band, whose two leaders, united and torn by a love story, gradually change the face of the world.The story is mainly due to the fantastic pinch which the author has sprinkled, the group's inspirer being in contact with a mysterious parallel dimension that gradually invades the narrative.In the end, a book that is worth the detour, especially for what you learn about India, but not always easy, especially in the last hundred pages that drag on.

  • Sarah Anne
    2019-05-04 08:51

    Having only read Midnight's Children by this author before, I was actually a tiny bit terrified of trying this one, especially on audio. It wasn't nearly as hard to follow so the audio ended up being an excellent option.The story is told by a man named Rai and covers the time from his first sight of Vina until after her death. It tells the story of two lovers, Vina and Ormus, whose music is so compelling that it changes the world. Throughout the story we also know that Rai is in love with Vina and has been from when he first laid eyes on her. We get his personal view of these famous lovers and their triumphs and tragedies. It starts with Rai at the age of 13 and tells the stories of the families as well. We get to know them as teens and we learn their life story from well before their musical talents were known.The story is supposed to be a retelling of the myth of Orpheus, and after a review of Wikipedia, I can see where those elements come in. Rushdie turns it into a very compelling story of love and loss, and a world that got broken along the way.

  • Petra X
    2019-04-30 02:40

    I either love or hate Salman Rushdie. This book comes into the second category. I'll never finish this book nor Haroun and the Sea of Stories, nor the Satanic Verses. Life is too short to plough through more than the first 50 pages if you haven't got into it by that stage. On the other hand though, I will probably reread Shame and Midnight's Children once in a while, I loved those books.

  • Lucrezia
    2019-05-06 07:39

    Tutti abbiamo qualcosa che ci sostiene a questo mondo, ma se quel qualcosa viene meno allora che si fa? Saremo gli Ormus Cama della situazione o i Rai?Si può vivere attaccati ad un ricordo e inseguendolo? O si deve andare avanti?Cosa succede quando la terra sotto i tuoi piedi inghiotte quello che hai di più caro?Hai perso solo quello o anche te stesso?E quel qualcosa è mai stato veramente tuo?Fin dove può arrivare un amicizia? Rushdie cerca di rispondere a tutto questo e a molto più... Ecco perché questo libro contiene tutto... E molto di più...

  • Kirstie
    2019-05-12 04:50

    I think Rushdie can be a bit daunting sometimes because he's really an intellectual through and through. He fills his writing with countless references to mythology and history in a way that I find rewarding but some may find difficult. Rushdie creates the story of a band and music that grows to epic proportions. We follow the story of Rai, a photographer who falls precariously in love with Vina in India while still very much a boy. He basically devotes his whole life to Vina and the language is so strong that by the end, you forget that these characters really are fictional and didn't exist. Ormus, who Vina is also in love with, immediately recalls Freddie Mercury of the band Queen, who has many similarities. The other really engaging thing about this novel is following the characters, especially Rai from India to England to America. The only weakness is how it ends but I can forgive Rushdie this error as the rest of the writing in the novel is incredibly strong. This was the second time I read this one.

  • Neda
    2019-05-01 08:44

    i will confess that i started "satanic verses" ... key word, started. i read the first 10-15 pages, and realized that i had NO idea what i was reading. so i turned to a nifty cliff note thing on line and realized that what i had read and re-read four times was the protagonists falling through the air after their airplane kabooms ... surprising to me. and thats when i did not read anymore (maybe some other day).i picked this one up hesitantly. i wanted to read something by rushdie, and a good friend of mine highly recommended this. let's just say, he has yet to fail me :)this is a brilliantly written story. it's a soap opera ... a tale of lovers' woe ... there is not much surprise or originality in the love story ... in fact i didnt care about any of the characters much ... our diva is a selfish bi-atch who does not deserve the love she gets ... her beau is an idiotic hopeless romantic ... and then there is the other hopeless romantic, who pines for a woman and takes what he can get -- pathetic. there was not one character i liked.but it is how the story is told that is fantastic. it is the language of the story, rusdie is a magician with words. sometimes i would read the same sentence half a dozen times ... no word was misplaced or misused ... it was perfect. i guess there is something to be said about writing un-likable characters, but still being so brilliant that your readers cannot help but to keep reading.that said, i did not like the ending of the book ... the resolution, how each character's life is resolved. there is some mysticism in this as well, which i still do not know how i feel about. nonetheless, it is an amazingly written novel. a gem ... a beautiful and poetic novel.

  • Tami Lynn Andrew
    2019-05-11 05:48

    I really wanted to read this book, and though I haven't read much else by him, I really like Salman Rushdie.. But I just couldn't get into this. Every time I picked it up I couldn't get through more than 20 pages without putting it down and finding myself with no incentive to pick it back up again. From October 2007 until about a month ago I hadn't even gotten through half the book.Suffice it to say I was not impressed. I felt like it was just this long-winded story of nothing. There was so much irrelevant back story and unnecessary characters. The story itself could have been told in 150 pages and half of the characters could [AND SHOULD] have been completely eliminated.As if that wasn't enough, I actually DISLIKED Vina Apsara. Here's this 600 page story about TWO men and an entire world that are madly in love with this famous, sexy, self-proclaiming free spirit and are completely destroyed due to her demise (this you learn on page 1 but it takes 500 pages to loop back around to) and I found her to be arrogant, pompous and extremely slutty.Why would you even agree to marry someone (especially someone who is madly in love with you and practices complete celibacy for over ten years) if you just want to sleep with other men?!I don't believe "true love" is giving your body to other people.Maybe that's just me..But it made it extremely difficult for me to gain anything out of this novel when it's supposed to be the story of ultimate love and I rolled my eyes and found myself screaming at the male characters "She's a bitch, why do you even care about [email protected]!"

  • Lavinia
    2019-05-10 07:51

    oops! i did it again. i started it for the third time. and i'm determined to finish and like it [i intend the same thing with ulysses and foucault's pendulum - i'll see about the rest]. if only i could get over the first 100 pages. wish me luck. i can't believe i paid 43.8 RON in 2005 to get this book. well, this might be just another reason for reading it ;)U2 feat. rushdie wrote a beautiful song based on the book***24.10.2008"The only people who see the whole picture are the ones who step out of the frame." *i'm sort of happy i didn't read the book earlier, i just discovered some cinematographic referrals to fellini, bergman and godard i would have certainly skipped back then.*i still fail to picture rushdie's art deco (?!) bombay. i can't separate india from malaria, cholera or typhoid.*rai reminds me of nick carraway narrating gatsby's love story.26.10.200870's Bombay through a photographer's lenses:"There was too much money, too much poverty, too much nakedness, too much disguise, too much anger, too much vermilion, too much purple. There were too many dashed hopes and narrowed minds. There was far, far too much light."and a beautiful tribute toJames Joyce ( Ulysses)"The hanged man and I were alone for a long time. His feet swung not far from my revolted nose and yes I wondered about the heels of his boots yes when I got the ropes off I made myself approach him yes in spite of his pong like the end of the world and the biting insects yes and the rawness of my throat and my eyes sore from bulging as I puked I took hold of his heels one after other yes I twisted the left heel it came up empty but the right heel did the right thing the film just plopped down in my hand yes and I put an unused film in its place from my own boot yes and I could feel his body all perfume and my heart was going like mad and I made my escape with Piloo's fate and my own golden future in my hand yes and to hell with everything I said yes because it might just as well be me as another so yes I will yes I did yes."27.10.2008i have the feeling that if i update my reading status more often, i'll finish the book sooner. i already imagine myself reading something light, kinsella or smth similar ;pso far, i don't like vina's character. dunno why.30.10.2008"After a tense initial period during which they sometimes see each other in the evenings, with painfully awkward results, they agree to meet only to rehearse with the other band members, to discuss their finances and to perform. They are never alone together any more, they never eat a meal or take in a movie in each other's company, never phone each other, never go dancing, never feed animals in the zoo, never touch. Like divorced couples, they avoid each other's gaze. Yet, mysteriously they continue to say they are both deeply, irreversibly, forever-and-a-day in love.What can this mean?It means they are with each other constantly even while they are apart."***No dear, it means that they're both stupid. Stupid oath. Stupid Ormus for accepting Vina's eccentricities and caprices.31.10.2008some final notes:rushdie is indeed a skillful writer, and his use of language is absolutely beautiful. i liked the many references he made to literature, cinema and mythology, though at some point i was fed up with remarks about orpheus and eurydice.speaking of the two mythological characters and the multiple connections between them and the larger-than-life characters of ormus and vina, i prefer mortals like rai.i really don't get why rai and ormus would both worship the ground beneath vina's feet.i'll reward myself with a whole box of chocolate for finishing this :doh, and one final thing: it was the last place where i thought i'd read about ceausescu and targu secuiesc [misspelled târgul-sačuesc] :)

  • Rebecca
    2019-04-28 02:26

    Orpheus and Eurydice as rock stars. Epic tale of music 'n' love.And the deification of genius. Also, highlights celebrity's recent secularisation. How today's stars function for community instead of idolatry. "the point is always reached after which the gods no longer share their lives with mortal men and women, they die or wither away or retire... Now that they've gone, the high drama's over. What remains is ordinary human life."

  • Madhurabharatula Pranav Rohit Kasinath
    2019-05-18 02:35

    I walked away from this book with many feelings, but, principal among them was boredom. I have seen a lot of people labelling Tolkein's work as self indulgent. Tolkein, my friends, was lyrical. His book had heart, soul. His characters were weighed down by destiny and the strength of their choices. Rushdie, in the other hand, is self indulgent.I have read The Moor's Last Sigh, Shalimar the Clown, The Enchantress of Florence, The Satanic Verses and The Ground Beneath her Feet by Rushdie and this was the book that let me down. It had nothing of the erudite restraint of the Moor's Last Sigh, the magical realism and haunting mysticism of Shalimar the Clown, the quirky historical mystery of The Enchantress of Florence, or the delicious ambiguity of The Satanic Verses. The Ground Beneath her Feet is a rant, Rushdie's attempt at retelling a great love story. It has its moments, but, overall - it falls hard and fails to land on its feet.The story revolves around the tumultous relationship between Ormus Cama and Vina Apsara, two musical prodigies whose lives are intertwined irreversibly. Shadowing them, sometimes friend and oftentimes jealous voyeur is Umeed Rai Merchant, photographer and a man hopelessly in love with Vina himself. He narrates the story and is Rushdie's manic voice transmitted onto the page.The story is an attempt at reworking the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice in a more contemporary setting, Vina is damaged goods and Ormus is unloved by his parents and brought up in an India in the throes of post colonial reinvention. The first half of the book is the best and most moving part of this journey. Set entirely in a Bombay filled with Englishmen, Colonial sympathisers and anglicized Parsi Patriarchs Rushdie's magic is truly apparent as I was unable to stop reading the book for the first 300 odd pages. Rushdie seems comfortable writing about his country of birth and of the city he favours most - Bombay. The heartache seems to resonate from the pages as a vindication of the agony of his forced exile. This part also deals with a lot of amazing characters who you learn to love. And then - (if I may use the name of one of the chapters in the book) comes 'The Whole Catastrophe'This book is too myriad and jumbled to give you a proper summary of the plot. Characters step in and out and there are the standard ridiculous coincidences and the heavy foreshadowing that Rushdie is famous for. However, as soon as the action steps over to England and America, he loses the reader. Perhaps he is not as comfortable writing about these places, perhaps he just doesn't have the knack of making these foregn climes as attractive as the coast of Maharashtra - for whatever the reason, once the action shifts, the book nosedives and never completely recovers.And there was the science fiction. Rushdie seems to have added some of his musings from his most hallucinogen induced dreams. Sure, the entire subplot of the time-space continuum is a metaphor for the unstable times we live in where contradictions supplant our daily fare. Sure, Rushdie has a long history of superpower imbued and troubled heroes. Sure, it is even a little diverting, interesting to see how all this pans out. And then, in the end - Nothing. No cataclysm, no catastrophe, no proper tying up of the threads of that particular subplot. Just a wispy wraith on a chair giving an astral message and the plot is erased.This book is unstable, forgetting important characters for a long period of time, giving space to characters who are moping and self indulgent (read Vina and Ormus). The lead pair was a tad annoying, and , considering they take up most of the space of the book, I was extremely ticked off for the major part.And there is the question of love. Rushdie impresses upon the reader the importance of the 'Love' that Vina and Ormus shared. Call me old fashioned but there is no love without fidelity and Vina dabbles in infidelity so rampant it makes Madonna look like a nun. This entire concept of love being more than shared bodies might appeal to some but not to me. Love is fidelity. Period. Ormus Cama embodies this much more than Vina Apsara ever does in this book, all Vina seems to love is herself.The ending is too contrived, and too forced to make an impression. It brought to mind the amazing ending scene in the World According to Garp by John Irving with none of the emotional whallop that moment packed. By the time you reach the last few 100 pages, the amazing and very real world of Post Colonial Bombay in the beginning of the book seems like a wonderful dream and the crazy pop culture inspired name dropping rant in the final pages, which seems to go nowhere, is just tedium.Nuff said I suppose - Mr. Rushdie, if you want to impress us, it takes a lot more than just clever wordplay.

  • André Benjamim
    2019-05-06 02:49

    Enquanto olho para o meu exemplar de O Chão que Ela Pisa, de Salman Rushdie, tento lembrar-me da história de Vina Apsara e Ormus Cama, narrada pelo fotógrafo Rai. Mas já não me recordo. Claro que se começasse a (re)ler, depressa se acenderia na minha memória, como num enorme salão em que as luzes se vão ligando aos poucos, até se encontrar totalmente iluminado. Foi um livro que li demoradamente. Uma ou duas semanas, porque há momentos da nossa vida enquanto leitores, em que nos bastam algumas páginas por noite, antes de adormecer, para dormirmos satisfeitos.Comprei o Chão que Ela Pisa numa tarde em que andava pelas livrarias à procura de Os Versículos Satânicos. Não os tendo encontrado, decidi que ao menos teria que comprar um livro do mesmo autor. Ainda foi num tempo em que as editoras não tinham sites na internet, e a própria internet era um bem escasso, muitas vezes pago a peso de ouro, em meias-horas num qualquer cyber-sítio. O Chão que Ela Pisa podia muito bem ser uma história de um amor impossível - não recordo a história, nem quero lembrar-me dela agora, talvez até seja a história de um amor impossível. Certo é que foi por esse motivo que me decidi por este título. Podia ser a história de um Cavaleiro Andante que segue as pisadas da sua Amada sem que alguma vez a consiga alcançar. Sempre gostei de histórias de amores impossíveis. O pior que um autor me pode fazer é atirar-me com um «e viveram felizes para sempre» à cara. Levo-lhe a mal, e recuso-me a ler-lhe mais uma página que seja. Não gosto que me mintam, e gosto ainda menos que me digam a verdade, que eu não gosto de ser evangelizado. Quero lá saber se casaram, se tiveram filhos, se se amaram mesmo ou se apenas perseguiram uma miragem... O que importa são os caminhos percorridos, aquilo que investiram e aquilo de que abdicaram, aquilo que mudaram em si, aquilo que temeram, o que sofreram, as emoções que sentiram, o que choraram: sim, os heróis também choram, só as pessoas normais não choram. E pessoas normais só existem nos manuais de estatística.Também tenho para ali, de Salman Rushdie, Os Filhos da Meia-Noite, mas já ganhou tantos prémios que me tirou toda a vontade que tinha de o ler. É que com tantos prémios a expectativa inflaciona tanto a qualidade do livro, que dificilmente a realidade chegará a metade. E além de mais, assim posso continuar a querer lê-lo, o que é sempre uma grande vantagem.

  • Ravi Gangwani
    2019-05-05 06:39

    Rushie sir, I love you so please don't mind me giving this book Three stars :)"Those who value stability, who fear transience, uncertainly, change, have erected a powerful system of stigmas and taboos against rootlessness, that disruptive, anti-social force, so that we mostly conform, we pretend to be motivated by loyalties and solidarities we do not really feel, we hide our secret identities beneath the false skins of those identities which bear the belongers’ seal of approval. But the truth leaks out in our dreams; alone in our beds (because we are all alone at night, even if we do not sleep by ourselves), we soar, we fly, we flee. And in the waking dreams our societies permit, in our myths, our arts, our songs, we celebrate the non-belongers, the different ones, the outlaws, the freaks.What we forbid ourselves we pay good money to watch, in a playhouse or a movie theater, or to read about between the secret covers of a book. Our libraries, our palaces of entertainment tell the truth. The tramp, the assassin, the rebel, the thief, the mutant, the outcast, the delinquent, the devil, the sinner, the traveler, the gangster, the runner, the mask: if we did not recognize in them our least-fulfilled needs, we would not invent them over and over again, in every place, in every language, in every time.” -The ground beneath her feet.This book is extraordinary till 70% of its length and at last it tumble down for its staleness ... Out of 576 page anyhow I managed to read 450 pages and it took me around 4 months reading last hundred pages... Giving up in a mid-way as it stopped making any sense onward. The same story, fro and to and to and fro and the pendulum unnecessarily swings so better to put full stop.

  • Lenore Beadsman64
    2019-05-06 06:46

    "Le uniche persone che vedono tutto il quadro sono quelle che escono dalla cornice"La terra sotto i suoi piedi è quello che manca a Vina in primo luogo, e poi a tutti i comprimari di questa ode appassionata all'immortalità dell'Amore con la A maiuscola...Vina scompare inghiottita dalla terra, ma non prima che Rai ce ne racconti ogni pensiero, gesto o segreto rimpianto, e certo non prima che il lettore abbia abbondantemente compreso che Salman Rushdie, mentre racconta di un amore per una dea, sta anche raccontando della sua passione per la sua terra, per una donna vacua e volubile, e per tutto quel che nella vita si è lasciato consiglio la lettura di questo romanzo dopo quella della biografia di Rushdie (Joseph Anton) dal momento che contestualizzandone il momento in cui è stato scritto è più facile comprendere il perchè di tanta foga amorosa per un mito e allo stesso tempo per una donna che in realtà non è che un archetipo...

  • Michael Finocchiaro
    2019-05-26 06:25

    I honestly was bored just a few pages into this one. I don't even remember finishing it. I think that as much as I loved The Satanic Verses, Midnight's Children, and The Moor's Last Sigh as well as Jaguar Nights, Imaginary Homelands, and Haroun and the Sea of Stories, his other fiction just has not had the power to pull me in as much into his universe. Apparently, I am not the only one on GR to have been underwhelmed by this one so it will sink low on my to-be-read-again-when-I-am-retired-and-read-everything-else-on-my-tbr list.

  • Anne-Marie
    2019-05-15 06:24

    Absolute favourite. The man weaves a tale like no other. <3

  • Jonathanstray Stray
    2019-05-21 04:48

    I’d never read Rushdie before. I can see why he has a Jihad against him — even in this book which only incidentally addresses religion, he is not shy about saying he sees no place for it. But that is beside the point. Rushdie is, truly, a brilliant writer.The story is something about two kids from India who grow up to form the biggest rock and roll band of all time in some sort of closely-allied alternate reality, outselling even the Beatles. The themes are much wider ranging. There is the love of music and art, the strange workings of culture and politics, the sense of belonging or being an outsider, and finally, in the end, a love triangle. Pretty standard literary stuff, I suppose, but there’s a lot in there. In some sense it’s all in there. He talks about everything. It’s breathtaking. And the language is lovely, poetry all the way through.There’s a sly humour through the whole thing as well, visible most clearly through the alternate reality he creates, where “Jesse Parker” wrote Heartbreak Hotel, Madonna is a music critic, and JFK survived the assassination attempt (there’s also a crazy novel called “Watergate” where Nixon is thrown out of office for bugging the democrats.) Actually, more precisely, the novel is set in two parallel universes, one of which is our own and gradually fades throughout the story to become just another possibility that didn’t happen.Otherwise, I really don’t know how to describe this book. It’s pretty damn amazing, one of the finest works I’ve ever read, both in terms of scope and execution. Rushdie is incredibly in touch with very many things, both academic (mythology, film theory) and popular (music, politics, Bombay street life) and as a result his novel is real and complete in a way I find deeply inspiring.I’m going to end by quoting a passage that I found particularly resonant, perhaps the only time I’ve ever seen a deep part of myself expressed well in words:For a long while I have believed … that in every generation there are a few souls, call them lucky or cursed, who are simply born not belonging, who come into the world semi-detached, if you like, without strong affiliation to family or location or nation or race; that there may even be millions, billions of such souls, as many non-belongers as belongers, perhaps; that, in sum, the phenomenon may be as “natural” a manifestation of human nature as its opposite, but one that been mostly frustrated, throughout human history, by lack of opportunity. And not only by that: for those who value stability, who fear transience, uncertainty, change, have erected a powerful system of stigmas and taboos against rootlessness, that disruptive, anti-social force, so that we mostly conform, we pretend to be motivated by loyalties and solidarities we do not really feel, we hide our secret identities beneath the false skins of those identities which bear the belongers seal of approval. But the truth leaks out in our dreams; alone in our beds (because we are all alone at night, even if we do not sleep by ourselves), we soar, we fly, we flee. And in the waking dreams our societies permit, in our myths, our arts, our songs, we celebrate the non-belongers, the different ones, the outlaws, the freaks. What we forbid ourselves we pay good money to watch, in a play-house or movie theatre, or to read about between the secret covers of a book. Our libraries, our places of entertainment tell the truth. The tramp, the assassin, the rebel, the thief, the mutant, the outcast, the delinquent, the devil, the sinner, the traveler, the gangster, the runner, the mask: if we did not recognize in them our least-fulfilled needs, we would not invent them over and over again, in every place, in every language, in every time.No sooner did we have ships than we rushed to sea, sailing across oceans in paper boats. No sooner did we have cars than we hit the road. No sooner did we have airplanes then we zoomed to the furthers corners of the globe. Now we year for the moon’s dark side, the rocky plains of Mars, the rings of Saturn, the interstellar deeps. We send mechanical photographers into orbit, or on one-way journeys to the stars, and we weep at the wonders they transmit; we are humbled by the mighty images of far-off galaxies standing like cloud pillars in the sky, and we give names to alien rocks, as if they were our pets. We hunger for warp space, for the outlying rim of time. And this is the species that kids itself it likes to stay at home, to bind itself with--what are they called again? ”ties"

  • Kate
    2019-05-12 03:36

    Ok, ok, I know Rushdie has an obvious gift for language, and almost no one can create a better pun, but this "retelling of the Orpheus myth via an alternate-reality alternative-history of rock n' roll" (whew) left me decidedly un-gripped. As other readers have discovered, almost all of the characters are unlikeable. Vina, the rock goddess who is supposedly adored by the world, is self-centered and execrable, her endlessly cuckolded husband/virtuoso guitarist Ormus Cama is a dope, and Rai the narrator is annoying in his inexplicable obsession with Vina. I actually wish I could've given the book 2 and a half stars. I really wanted to like this story, and at times I did. I enjoyed the way that Rushdie had "their" world and "ours" occasionally cross paths and dip into each other, and his various references to mythology and people in the music industry from the 60's to the 80's were fun to spot. However, when he tried to write about music itself, the business and stardom, I wasn't really convinced. Legs McNeil, he ain't.

  • BookNerdsBrainDump
    2019-05-15 01:47

    Short Take: A 600-page love song to the beauty of impermanence.If my usual choice of literature is candy, The Ground Beneath Her Feet is a 12-course meal, and I consumed it gluttonously, shamelessly, simultaneously wanting to rush to the next bite, and to savor the current taste. The interweavings of myth and music are magic, and every sentence is a poem.The Ground Beneath Her Feet is a disorienting mix of a huge conglomeration of stories, and a very small, personal memoir. Rai is a child in Bombay, when he meets Vina Apsara and immediately falls in love with her. Unfortunately, Ormus Cama also meets and falls in love with Vina at around the same time, and it’s Ormus that she chooses. Mostly.Ormus Cama, born with a dead twin, and later injured terribly in one eye, has glimpses of another world, where he hears the music that will eventually become hit records. And it’s then that we realize that this book doesn’t take place in our world, because the first singer to perform “Heartbreak Hotel” on Ormus’s radio is Jesse Aron Parker.From there, the story follows Vina and Ormus in their larger-than-life, obsessive, ultimately doomed love affair (which is so entangled with their rock stardom, that it’s impossible to tell where one ends and the other begins) and Rai as the man outside of the frame, who sees the entire picture. There’s so much story here, folks: a huge cast of characters, a narrative that travels from Bombay to London to Manhattan to Mexico, and an awe-inspiring mix of the myths that shape all of our lives and fantasies. Seriously, I could write a book about this book.Rushdie lingers with a loving touch on the temporary, from the city of Bombay under English rule, to that brief moment when Vina met Rai, before she fell for Ormus. Everything is temporary, everything goes away, except for Rai’s photographs, and the truths that they tell are usually the ones that nobody really wants to face.After Vina’s death, Ormus asks about the site of the earthquake, and Rai replies “It was a wreck, if that’s what you mean… as if you took a picture of beauty and then systematically broke everything in the picture.” Rai also says “Power, like love, most fully reveals its dimensions only when it is irrevocably lost.” And that, I think, is the heart of The Ground Beneath Her Feet. Loss of beauty, love, home, family, sight, freedom, even sanity, all of these things play a part. There’s a recurring theme of deliberate narrowness of vision: Vina only sees what she wants at any given moment, Ormus is obsessed with his visions of another world (ours), and Rai only sees Vina and his photos.But most of all, this is a story about stories. Rushdie references so many myths, some by name, others indirectly. Orpheus and Eurydice are the most obvious, but there was also Cassandra, and Tiresias the blind prophet, and Cain and Abel, and Odysseus, and so many others. Ground is not without its flaws. For one, although most of the prose is really gorgeous (I mean REALLY gorgeous), there can be too much of a good thing. Rushdie has a way with words, no question, but sometimes he seems to over-indulge in his own wit, and a clever play on words turns into a multi-page list of them. The song lyrics in the book mostly just seem silly. I think that fewer quoted lyrics might have made VTO’s (Ormus & Vina’s group) mega-stardom more understandable. For example “It's not supposed to be this way/but you're not here to put it right/And you're not here to hold me tight/It shouldn't be this way” to me sounds like something an unenthusiastic high schooler would write for a school assignment. Also, Ormus and Vina are not really fleshed out in any way, despite being two of the main characters. Vina’s only real human quirk is an annoying habit? Of talking with an uptick? Even when she’s trying to say something important? (See? Annoying.) But then I wonder: if the music of our world could cross the barrier to Ormus and Vina’s world, is it possible that the stories of their world crossed the barriers into ours? Is it possible that the reason these characters seem unreal is that they are not “real” people, but rather, the heroes and lovers that we now refer to as myths?If that’s the case - if they are not to be a retelling of Orpheus and Eurydice, but rather, the source of the story that’s been handed down for generations, then it makes perfect sense. Even their romance rings false in a number of ways for “real life” but makes perfect sense as a larger than life fiction.Perhaps I’m giving the author too much credit. Maybe it’s because there’s such a profound level of beauty and obvious skill that I’m willing to overlook and make wild excuses for the missing pieces. I can live with that.But it isn’t just me. U2 loved this one as well - seriously, look it up.The Nerd’s Rating: FIVE HAPPY NEURONS (and a sequined bustier. Appropriate for any occasion!)

  • Miriam
    2019-04-26 07:46

    Someone gave me this book as a college graduation gift. I never finished it back then, getting swamped with grad school work and pretty much giving up reading for pleasure for eight years. I always wanted to get back to it, but it somehow just sat on my shelf instead.So, the in wake of the election, when I couldn't seem to focus on any of the books sitting around and knowing what I needed was a deep, involved, long story to get lost in, I picked it up again.And, as is so often the case in my reading life, this was the book that came along at the right time.It was interesting to confront myself across that interval. When I started it back then, I had very few cultural and literary references. I probably missed many of the embedded lyrics, puns, and jokes about Hollywood, the music biz, and the world of literature. I didn't even really have that great of a grasp of history (sad, as a newbie history grad student). So this was not my book then. It is my book now. It's a middle-aged book in a beautiful, glorious, sad, complex, declining but hopeful way.Sometimes the doubling and twinning become overwhelming and overwrought. But then the technique sort of comes back around again in a perfect way (a circle!). Same with the allusions to Greek mythology and its previous uses by thinkers and writers and artists, and the overlaps of myth in general. I'm not sure what it all means to have so many layers layered on. Enrichment? The reminder that certain stories have power and exist in many forms because the details they convey and the messages they offer are somehow universal? Evidence of his extensive knowledge and research? The twins/doubles/allusions punctuate the story. And the otherworld figures who sound real but aren't--it's all very surreal. Elvis Aaron Presley=Jesse Aaron Parker. For the first two thirds of the story, I thought he was just being clever and alternative. But how could the same laws (the same Greek history especially, but also the laws of music, war, fame, and celebrity) apply in an alternative world? But when he finally clarifies this (another part of the doubling), it actually IS clever and alternative and disorienting and original. An allusion that becomes original. Genius.In my head, Ormus is the Brazilian rocker Caetano Veloso. Flamboyant and experimental, ageing into a deep, poetic middle-age. And they're both skinny and got skinnier.This year of 2016 has seen so many high-profile deaths--David Bowie, Prince, CASTRO. That's probably always the case: the celebrity deaths of any year reach a certain demographic deeply, while the rest of us go "Huh. Too bad." I think Rushdie captured the feeling of when it's your turn to mourn, to be affected by large-scale events over which you have little control. The election put us on a very dark timeline. His view of alternative worlds probably resonated with me more right now, feeling a very clear forking of the path of our future as a nation. I feel like Ormus, closing my eye to the reality in which I live, trying to see with the other eye a different place. In his music, HE understands the otherworld is "different," but his listeners and hangers-on hear only "better." So I guess there's that to wrestle with, too.The only solution is to put forth the effort to make thisworld good. To create, to communicate, to seek love. I think Ormus could get behind that.

  • Meredith
    2019-05-12 05:38

    This was my third foray into Salman Rushdie (the first two being "The Satanic Verses" and "The Enchantress of Florence"). What made this reading experience so pleasurable, beyond the exquisite and sometimes raw prose, was being familiar enough with Rushdie's work now to recognize a few universal themes. Perhaps most notable are the following three:1) Estrangement from India. India itself is alternately protagonist and antagonistic, sometimes driving away the main characters, but also sometimes reeling them back in. Wherever they flee, she is a reality they will never escape. In this novel, Rushdie examines in some depth the concept of detachment from the East (i.e., "disorientation"). 2) The "goddess vs. property" conceptualization of women (p. 486). In Rushdie's novels, particularly this one, women harness remarkable power. Reminiscent of Kawabata's "The House of Sleeping Beauties", the woman becomes "an empty receptacle, an arena of discourse, and we can invent her in our own image, as once we invented god" (p. 485). The male characters pour their entire selves into women like Vina or the Florentine enchantress, women whom they idolize. In this case, Vina becomes that "empty receptacle" for Ormus' and Rai's hopes, failures, desires, passions, expectations, shortcomings, disappointments, neuroses, etc., just as the sleeping beauties do for the old men in Kawabata's story. In fact, it is not just Ormus and Rai who use Vina this way--the entire world, captivated by her singing and atypical candor in the press, makes Vina its "empty receptacle". Even in death, she continues to function as the tabula rasa for various therapists, religious gurus, theorists, philosophers, and pundits--all of whom seek both to derive greater meaning and profit from her untimely death. 3) Doubles, twins, doppelgangers, and mirror images. The end chapters of this book are densely populated with Vina lookalikes and impostors. Ormus is haunted by his dead twin brother, Gayomart, who offers him visions of songs yet to be written and glimpses into alternate realities that torment him to no end, ultimately driving him mad. Mirror imagery throughout the story reinforces these dualistic themes. Ultimately, this is the story of a very flawed, human love, something the narrative tells us explicitly. Ormus and Vina hurt many people throughout the course of their stormy on-again-off-again courtship--perhaps themselves most of all. Rai is the only character who escapes the destructive triangle, emerging not only with life and limb, but with a tamer, more humane version of Vina (Mira Celano). He achieves happiness with Mira that he could not with Vina--while Vina shunned the notions of fidelity and marriage, Mira craves them. And, perhaps most importantly, he does not have to share her body and soul with Ormus Cama.

  • Debbie
    2019-04-30 05:39

    A reimagining of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth set in the modern world of rock & roll. There are many cultural references, but often twisted in interesting ways. Famous people appear, but in different roles than readers expect. I found this the most fun aspect of the book--wondering how many of the jokes I actually got.Ormus Cama is a brilliant musician born in Bombay, India. The love of his life is Vina Apsara, a half-Indian woman who moves to Bombay when she is a young adolescent. The two lovers share enormous musical talent and bizarre families. Their love affair is a strange one, as they spend most of their lives pining for each other and very little time actually together. The story is narrated by Rai, a childhood friend of Ormus and Vina (later Vina's secret lover). A challenging read due to the vast number of literary and cultural references/allusions, as well as Rushdie's extensive vocabulary. Profound insights about religion, life, and love make this one worth the effort.

  • Don
    2019-05-23 03:52

    I think this is my favorite Rushdie book yet. No less of a deep dive into Bombay, India, Europe, current political events, religion and history than the other books of his I've read, this one adds Rock and the modern world as a central theme, and the mythical-magical, so to speak analysis of power and alternate worlds teeming with real and unreal examples of iconic ways that the world just is.The Orpheus and Eurdike storyline this is woven around is brilliantly exhumed and turned into living rock, it's the most amazing story, the most beautiful language. I loved this book.

  • Ira
    2019-05-05 03:34

    Greek Odyssey and Rock 'n' Roll - awesome combination and not a real surprising one either. After all, the Greek Gods of the last several decades may be Rock stars. Rushdie blends the myth of Orpheus (an actual rock god) and the story of fictional musicians, that incorporates fictional Madonnas, Jim Morrisons, Hendrix's and others. Rushdie did his hmoework for The Boss is in there and even the Girevious Angel himself. The story takes place in Europe (U.K and India) and The States. This one as a music fan, was a true pleasure to read. Sort of like a Ulysses for pop culture nerds.

  • David
    2019-05-13 02:49

    There was some good stuff in this one, and it was interestingly different from the other Rushdie works I've read, but it was a bit too sprawling for me. Maybe I took too long to read it, far longer than I normally take to read a book, but it just seemed bigger than it needed to be. This time, I didn't have as much patience for that.

  • Princess78
    2019-05-20 03:32

    "Možda je naš svijet samo vizija u nekom drugom oštećenom oku.Postoji drugi svemir koji ne vidimo, a koji se oglašava. Kad izroni u našu stvarnost može nas oduvati, kao da nas nikad nije bilo".***"Mislim da smo svi dio neke veće rijeke i, bez obzira koliko je mutan ili zatrovan svaki pojedinačni dio, čovjek uvijek može da osjeti snagu glavnog toka - te moćne i nezamućene rijeke".

  • Luisa
    2019-05-03 03:31

    Reading 'The Ground Beneath her Feet' is yet another proof of Rushidie's literary genius. It is no wonder that he is one of the most prolific writers of our time. Magic is the word that sums up his literary universe.

  • Liza
    2019-05-25 01:34

    Yet another wonderful feast for thought from Salman Rushdie. "Ground beneath her feet" is a long and lingering trip through the lives of 3 people, through their respective journeys of self discovery and personal tragedy. To me, this book is more than just a love story, it is a thesis on how in modern day (largely) godless world, we take the cult celebrity figures and turn them into the pagan gods of old. Not the perfect beings far off in the sky, but the angry, nymphomaniac, jealous, obstinate gods of the Greek and Indian pantheons. They are gods, but also men and women, their divinity magnifying all that is human about them to gargantuan proportions. In this case, the object of celebration and obsession is Vina Aspara. A thoroughly vapid and selfish woman by all accounts, yet one that inspires such deep and unquestioning devotion that all that come across her wish for nothing more than to worship the ground beneath her feet. Greek mythology runs rampant throughout the book. Ormus is Jason, while Vina his Argo, sailing the stormy seas of rock and roll with "Cholchis Records", getting thoroughly fleeced in the process. Rai is the lowly Pan, an artist in his own way, but forever lost in Apollo's shadow. Ormus and Vina are dualities of Apollo/Orpheus and Persephone/Euridice. Except that Vina takes the Euridice myth and turns it upside down. Instead of being rescued from the underworld by her lover, she rescues him from life and takes him with her back to the underworld. The imagery of twins (Castor and Pollux, one human - other divine) make constant appearances. Ormus and Gayomart, Virus and Cyrus, Vina and Mira. Even the universe itself has a twin, the mysterious otherworld, mirroring the twin-set of realities that exist inside and outside the pages of the book. The biggest surprise is that love is presented as the mirror twin of death. Where neither one can be separated from the other. The storyline is a bit wavering, turning from the mundane to the fantastic at a drop of a hat. The plot line itself is almost non-existent, as the point of the book seems to be less about telling a coherent story, than about the authors endless monologues on the nature of anything from photography to architecture to love. Having said that, the writing itself is nothing short of superb. The characters are so intensely real, they practically leap out of the page. To sum up, this book is a sublime whirlwind, that tosses you from side to side, leaves you completely confused yet profoundly altered. It left me breathless.

  • Colleen
    2019-05-16 04:32

    The ending made me cry, so I almost bumped my rating up to three stars, but "it was ok" is right for me on this one. I probably would have rated it higher if I hadn't already read and loved some of Rushdie's other stuff (Midnight's Children, Satanic Verses) and if Ground Beneath Her Feet didn't fail in ways so similar to how those books soar."Self-indulgent" is not a criticism that often pops into my reading head. I mean, ultimately, you could say any writing is self-indulgent. "Here are some thoughts I had, some words I put in order, and you should put them into your brain" - right? But I don't find most writing self-indulgent. I found Ground Beneath Her Feet self-indulgent because I know that with some editing this could have been a much better book. Rushdie makes the reader sit through his well-worn screeds about religion and sacred cows and blah blah blah more than once, and in other places it seems like he's writing just for the sake of hearing his own - admittedly pretty - literary voice. Which all contrasts unfavorably with both the simplicity of the underlying myth of this story, and how well this verbose style works so in his other, better books.I almost gave up on this one, and I guess I'm glad I didn't, but I'd place this pretty low on any list of suggested Salman Rushdie reads.