The 'Ground Beneath Her Feet' and 'Fury': The reinvention of location

Anshuman A. Mondal, Abdulrazak Gurnah (Editor)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

22 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Ground Beneath Her Feet (1999) and Fury, published two years later in 2001, warrant critical attention as a pair of texts not only because of their overt intertextual references, nor even because they are bound together by the density of their shared themes, concerns and attitudes, but also because they represent a profound ideological shift in Rushdie's writing. The shift began to emerge in his non-fiction from as early as 1992 but remained embryonic in his major fictional work until the publication of The Ground Beneath Her Feet. It is signalled most obtrusively there by the relocation of Rushdie's imaginative geography away from the Indian subcontinent. Fury consolidates this departure; whilst the earlier novel had embedded substantial portions of the narrative in Bombay, this latter work barely touches upon Indian space at all, except for a few oblique references to the childhood of its protagonist, Professor Malik Solanka. Although India figures in the narrative as the site of a repressed but nevertheless significant trauma, the putative centre of this novel, as in The Ground Beneath Her Feet, is the West and specifically the United States. In place of Bombay, which Rushdie had chronicled with almost Dickensian exhaustiveness, there is New York, 'the beating heart of the visible world'. The reasons for this shift, and its effects on Rushdie's fiction, will be the object of this essay.

Accompanying the geographical relocation are two other themes that bind The Ground Beneath Her Feet and Fury together: globalisation, driven by the irresistible energies of consumer capitalism, and a global media and telecommunications network with its attendant culture of celebrity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge Companion to Salman Rushdie
EditorsAbdulrazak Gurnah
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Chapter12
Pages169-184
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9781139001670
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2007

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