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April 26, 2010 | by  | in Books |
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Fury, by Salman Rushdie

When the author, Salman Rushdie, isn’t being slapped with death sentences by Iranian Ayatollahs or appearing in Bridget Jones’ Diary, he spends his free time writing wonderfully fantastical novels about Indian doll makers who try to lose themselves in American pop culture. In Fury, the doll maker in question is a Cambridge-educated scholar named Malik Solanka, who creates a kick-ass, time-travelling, urban-rock doll named Little Brain to host a philosophy-themed late night show on the BBC.

Still reading? Little Brain becomes a global hit, dwarfing Harry Potter, and making Solanka a bunch of dosh. He’s perfectly happy, until the night he wakes to find himself holding a knife over his sleeping wife and their young son. To save them from his inexplicable rage, Solanka flees to New York without a scrap of explanation, and this is where we find him and where the present story begins. Solanka falls in love, gets dragged into a civil war, and wakes up every so often without any idea of where he’s been, or why a serial killer matching his description is still at large.

Amazingly, that last bit isn’t even the main plot. For anyone who’s read Rushdie, the self references will be clear as glass, and for everyone that hasn’t: fear not. Fury is one gargantuan ballad about the year 2000 and the films, celebrities, phenoms, and politics that still plague us ten years on. Nostalgia will be shared by all. Rushdie’s New York is as rollicking as it’s ever been, and the fact that a plot this tangled and a character this eccentric are made believable by this city’s post-modern characterisation is pretty darn superb. But I’m not surprised. Rushdie is the master of fantasy-realism, and if you’re looking for some suave procrastination as you sit in the quad and smoke, let Fury be your wing man.

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