Salman Rushdie, The Ground Beneath Her Feet (1999)

[This month’s blog is courtesy of Howard Becke, a long-standing and hugely well-informed Litpop regular]
If this was a record review then I feel safe in saying that this book would be in the “Prog Rock” section. It is large and long, and would be a triple album with full gate-fold sleeves. Regular time changes, sudden lurches in unexpected directions, a tendency towards time slippage and Sci-Fi and passages that are best described as meandering all prove this point. Based on the Orpheus/Eurydice myth it is a re-imagining of the Birth and development of Rock-and-Roll but re-homed to India. Subtle changes to the facts surrounding the major players and historical events fail to cover up the gaping hole that is left without slavery and the birth of the Blues that underpins the real version. This seems to be unimportant to Rushdie who shoehorns in as many references to his source material as possible. An in-depth exploration of mass celebrity that crosses continents and in fact Death. Much of it is based on an amalgam of Presley/Lennon. We all enjoyed the book although we felt it was in need of significant editing. However as we all were pleased by different sections we realised how difficult this would be. Rushdie is keen to show off his intellect and learning at all opportunities. The reader is elated then deflated depending on how many of the references to music/religion/the myth/culture and probably food you pick up. This does become tiresome. Not a man to be cornered in the kitchen at a party. The body guards must have received counselling.  All members of the group felt encouraged to read more by the Author although nobody said when they were going to start.
Did I mention the album art would be by Roger Dean?
Howard Becke

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