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The Ground Beneath Her Feet by Salman Rushdie (1999)

$5.99

Hardcover with DJ in Very Good (VG) condition. Pages clean and straight. 

If rock ’n’ roll is America’s gift to the whole world, then The Ground Beneath Her Feet is Salman Rushdie’s gift to America in return: a great contemporary love story and a dazzling, dancing vision of the modern era, which pulsates with a half century of music. His first novel to be set largely in the United States, it’s a celebration of Americana, a brilliant examination of what the World means to America, and what America means to the world.

At the beginning, Vina Apsara, a famous and much-loved singer, is caught up in a devastating earthquake and never seen again by human eyes. This is her story, and that of Ormus Cama, the lover who finds, loses, seeks and again finds her, over and over, throughout his own extraordinary life in music: the story of a love that extends across their entire lives, and even beyond death.

Their epic romance stretches from the cosmopolitan Bombay of the 1950s, through the vibrant London scene of the ’6Os, to the last quarter-century — intense, frenzied, crucial — of New York life. It is narrated by Ormus’s childhood friend and Vina’s sometime lover, her “back-door man”, the photographer Rai, whose astonishing voice, filled with stories, images, myths, anger, wisdom, humour and love, is perhaps the book’s true hero. Telling the story of Ormus and Vina, he finds that he is also revealing his own truths: his human failings, his immortal longings. He is a man caught up in the loves and quarrels of the age’s goddesses and gods but dares to have ambitions of his own ... and lives to tell the tale.

Around these three, the uncertain world itself is beginning to tremble and break. Cracks and tears have begun to appear in the fabric of the real. There are glimpses of abysses below the surfaces of things. In the words of one of Ormus Cama’s songs: It shouldn’t be this Way.

The Ground Beneath Her Feet is Salman Rushdie’s most gripping novel and his boldest imaginative act, a re-imagining of our shaken, mutating times, an account of the intimate, flawed encounter between the East and the West, a stunning “re-make” of the myth of Orpheus, a novel of high (and low) comedy, high (and low) passions, high (and low) culture. It is a classic tale of love, death and rock ’n’ roll.