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Editorial Reviews. lesforgesdessalles.info Review. Fury is a gloss on fin-de-siècle angst from the master of the quintuple entendre. Salman Rushdie hauls his hero, Malik . Abstract. Salman Rushdie's postmodern characters in Fury are in the grips of “ furies”. The unknown anger that wells up within ruins them. twenty -first century at the height of its fury salman rushdie pdf - s3azonaws salman rushdie pdf ebook at our online library. get fury salman rushdie pdf file for .
The story you finished was perhaps never the one you began. Eventually he did begin a court action, against which she brilliantly and determinedly offered a stupendous, almost mystical inaction. Professor Solanka, who loathed Margaret Thatcher, guiltily conceded the partial truth of what felt like an accusation. As is another woman, with whom he will fall in love and be drawn toward a different fury, whose roots lie on the far side of the world. After a while she gave up persecuting him and he slept soundly.
In pages of energetic, sometimes frenetic and breathtaking prose, Rushdie explores these and other questions as he tells us the story of Malik Solanka, an ex-professor turned television scriptwriter who has somewhere along the line turned into a very angry man.
He was never a particularly even-tempered fellow--one of his friends reminds him that he once threw someone out of his house for misquoting Philip Larkin--but now his constant, gnawing, soul-sapping fury has driven him to the point where he fears he will become violent.
When we first meet Solanka, he has already fled from his family in England to America, fearing for their safety if he stays. America, however, does not prove much of a solution, as he is constantly provoked by the loudness, by American mannerisms, by American culture. Watching TV news coverage of the Elian Gonzalez story is enough to make the red ball of anger in him rise again, as does the American "cultural hypersensitivity, this almost pathological fear of giving offense," as does the cultural inauthenticity of a pseudo-Viennese Kaffeehaus where the counter staff doesn't even recognize the word "Linzertorte.
The verbal fun and the acuity of Rushdie's vision of America is dead-on in so many places, and you will find yourself laughing and nodding in recognition as he describes people having loud cell phone discussions about very personal topics in public places, for example, and his riffs on everything from literary academic stars to advertising culture. The doll he created, Little Brain, is also terrific, at least in her original incarnation: Solanka's idea was that she should be sassy time-traveler who would interview the great thinkers of the past.
You got to love a woman who gives Galileo flak. Although there are many reasons to read and love this book, this novel is not quite a first-tier Rushdie. It is surprisingly plot-heavy for such a short book, and some of its sub-plots are a bit hackneyed.
Murders of the rich and beautiful, TWO cases of incest, a third-world coup by a megalomaniac leader--while Rushdie gets some good material out of these plot threads, these stories don't have the energy that usually permeates every nook and cranny of a Rushdie novel.
I also have some reservations about the conclusion. What exactly has Solanka learned over the course of his adventures, and how is this embodied in his final actions?
This ending is far more equivocal and, I think, despairing than those of many of Rushdie's fictions. While this is not the best novel Rushdie has ever written, it is nonetheless decidedly worth reading.
Read it for its as always interesting protagonist and its raw, witty insights into life in contemporary America. Like a Doll Scorned". I can't help thinking that reading FURY at this time led me to a different perspective from those reading it upon its publication in I found it to be intelligent and moving, if at times unnecessarily difficult. This group of Rushdie's characters seems completely modern yet with a timeless feel.
Rushdie's plot once again revolves around alter-realities; sometimes cultural, but mostly psychological, and I found the doll trope particularly attractive. Something made Salman Rushdie, an author of prodigious talents, have to write this book, but you don't have to read it. Rushdie's "Midnight's Children" and "The Satanic Verses" soar with their larger than life characters, rich depictions of the Indian subcontinent, lyrical prose, and magic realism, and they tell fine stories.
There is narrative heat here but precious little light. Rushdie's characters fail to engage. His issues fail to resolve.
A tragedy worthy of the Greek Furies, who horribly punish unavenged crimes, utterly fails to develop. Unless you happen to be writing your dissertation on Rushdie, you can safely pass on "Fury. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. In brief this book is beautifully written. Just read almost any passage aloud to hear what I mean. Moreover the subject of unconscious fury and how it can affect the conscious life is truly terrifying.
However it all kind of gets away from Rushdie in the last quarter. While the climax and resolution works metaphorically it does not work realistically. You will see what Rushdie means but it comes off like the climax of a bad sitcom. It is too bad. I really wanted to see how a modern man can overcome his inner Furies. Rushdies answer will not satisfy. Still is not the question more important.
If you think it is you could do much worse than this book by a modern master. I hated this book. Reading it made me want to walk off of a bridge.
Not criticizing Rushdie, not at all. I simply didnt like this book. This book should be savored, not for its plot, but for the narrator's delicious critique of all that is foolish. The aging melancholy, dyspeptic professor is both immersed in New York and alienated from it as he analyzes all that is around him during the summer of when among other things there is national hysteria over the Elian Gonzalez case.
For me the treat of this novel is not the story line but Rushdie's diatribes against human idiocy. For example he succinctly derides the sentimental brutishness of the Elian worshippers in a way that made me laugh and say to myself, "Why didn't I write that? This book is a profoundly beautiful satire where Rushdie combines the topical with the mythical and makes it look easy.
I've tried to read three Rushdie books before and couldn't finish them. This book is an exception. See all 70 reviews. Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway. This item: Set up a giveaway. Customers who viewed this item also viewed.
Midnight's Children. What functions do they serve within their respective contexts? There are many different subplots running through the novel. How do they relate to one another? How do they relate to Malik? How do love and romance function in the novel? Malik encounters several women throughout the course of the book; what are their similarities?
Fury Spanish. Fury by Salman Rushdie Brazil. Was she actually in danger? Alternatively, as open-minded thinkers, should we not allow the possibility, at least theoretically, of a genuine double miracle having occurred? In which case, what kind of Christmas present would Jesus ask Santa for? And, okay, so the Son of God was in charge of the tuna, but would there be enough meatloaf to go around?
To all of this Mariel Hemingway would pay careful but vapid attention; then, equally swiftly, it would be forgotten forever. In a Woody Allen movie the scene would have been shot in black-and-white, that most unreal of processes, which had come to stand for realism, integrity, and art.
But the world is in color and is less well scripted than the movies. Malik Solanka turned around sharply, opened his mouth to remonstrate, and found himself looking at Mila and her quarterback centurion of a boyfriend. By thinking of her he had conjured them up. And behind them stood—leaned, hunched, squatted, posed—the rest of the indolent stoop troop.
There was a commercial playing in the multiplexes in which a group of fashionable vampires—thanks to Buffy on TV, vampires were hot—sat on a dune in their RayBans and waited for the dawn. Except, of course, that that would mean he was a vampire, too, a refugee from death, able to defy the laws of time…. Mila removed her sunglasses and looked him provocatively in the eye, and at once he remembered who it was that she resembled. But the young woman called off her attack dog. Malik Solanka rushed forward into the auditorium and sat down at some distance from the vampire group.
As the lights went down he saw those piercing green eyes looking intently at him across the art-house crowd. There was no dead of night. He could not remember his exact route, had the impression of having gone across town and back on or around Broadway, but he could remember the sheer volume of the white and colored noise. He could remember the noise dancing in abstract shapes before his red-rimmed eyes. The coat of his linen suit weighed heavily, damply, on his shoulders, yet in the name of rectitude, of how things should be done, he kept it on; also his straw Panama hat.
The noise of the city increased almost daily, or perhaps it was his sensitivity to that noise which was being turned up to the screaming point. Garbage trucks like giant cockroaches moved through the city, roaring. The hours went by. What were the roots of our actions?
Two brothers, estranged from each other and from their dead father, were almost deranged by the power of his priceless stamp collection. A man was told he was impotent and found he could not bear the idea of his loving wife having a sexual future without him.
Mysteries drive us all. We only glimpse their veiled faces, but their power pushes us onward, toward darkness. Or into the light. As he turned into his street, even the buildings began to speak to him in the sonorous manner of the supremely confident, of the rulers of the world.
The School of the Blessed Sacrament did its proselytizing in Latin carved in stone. The sentiment struck ET no responsive chord in Solanka. Next door, a more fortune-cookie-ish sentiment inscribed in gilded letters rang out from a mighty DeMille-Assyrian entrance. Pytho was the ancient name of Delphi, home of the Python, who wrestled Apollo; and, more famously, of the Delphic Oracle, the Pythia being the prophesying priestess there, a creature of frenzies and ecstasies. Nor could so epic a house be intended for the humble—the grandly, mightily humble—practice of poetry.
Pythian verse is poetry written in the dactylic hexameter. Some general Apollonian reference was probably intended, Apollo in both his musical and athletic incarnations. From the sixth century Before the Common Era, the Pythian games, one of the great quartet of Panhellenic festivals, had been held in the third year of the Olympic cycle.
There were musical contests as well as sporting ones, and the great battle of the god and the snake was also re-created. Maybe some scrap of this would have been known to those who had built this shrine to half-knowledge, this temple dedicated to the belief that ignorance, if backed up by sufficient dollars, became wisdom. The temple of Boobus Apollo. To the devil with this classical mishmash, Professor Solanka silently exclaimed. For a greater deity was all around him: America, in the highest hour of its hybrid, omnivorous power.
America, to which he had come to erase himself. To be free of attachment and so also of anger, fear, and pain. Eat me, Professor Solanka silently prayed. Eat me, America, and give me peace. Here the Times and Herald Tribune could be found inserted into wooden rails. The unstarched collar of the sweat-stained white shirt from Banana Republic, the dusty brown sandals, the straggly badgerish beard neither carefully clipped nor delicately pomaded struck no false notes here.
What a place, he thought. A city of half-truths and echoes that somehow dominates the earth. And its eyes, emerald green, staring into your heart. Then finally he was able to sip and read. The morning papers were full of the publication of the report on the human genome. Dit dit dit dah dah dah dit dit dit. Or, in Iglatinpay, elp-hay.
Everyone was speculating about the miracles that would follow the genome triumph, for example the extra limbs we could decide to grow for ourselves to solve the problem of how at a buffet dinner to hold a plate and a wineglass and eat at the same time; but to Malik the only two certainties were, first, that whatever discoveries were made would come too late to be of any use to him and, second, that this book—which changed everything, which transformed the philosophical nature of our being, which contained a quantitative change in our self-knowledge so immense as to be a qualititative change as well—was one he would never be able to read.
While human beings had been excluded from this degree of understanding, they could console themselves that they were all in the same bog of ignorance together. Now that Solanka knew that someone somewhere knew what he would never know, and was additionally quite aware that what was known was vitally important to know, he felt the dull irritation, the slow anger, of the fool. He felt like a drone, or a worker ant. The new age had new emperors and he would be their slave.
Her fair hair was pulled back severely. Professor Solanka was truly perplexed: Speaking the unspeakable, I should say. You have been shouting it out. And now amazingly you ask what is the trouble. Sir, you are the trouble. You will go now, please. One Austrian is here, at least. He rose, pulled his lumpy coat around him, and left, tipping his hat, though not her. When he was still sleeping with Eleanor, she would accuse him of snoring.
He would be halfway between wakefulness and sleep and she would push at him and say, Turn on your side. But he was conscious, he wanted to say, he could hear her speak, and therefore, had he been making any sort of noise himself, he would have heard that, too. After a while she gave up persecuting him and he slept soundly. No, not that again, not right now. Right now when, once again, he was conscious, and all manner of noise was in his ears.
As he approached his apartment he saw a workman hanging in a cradle outside his window, doing repairs to the exterior of the building and, in loud, rolling Punjabi, shouting instructions and dirty jokes to his partner smoking a beedi on the sidewalk below.
Malik Solanka at once telephoned his landlords the Jays, wealthy organic farmers who spent summers upstate with their fruits and vegetables, and made emphatic complaints.
This brutish din was intolerable. The lease stated clearly that the work would be not only external but quiet. In the mood he was in, this caused him a degree of distress disproportionate to the problem, and he spoke vehemently of his feelings to Mr. Simon Jay, the gentle, bemused owner of the apartment, who had lived there happily for thirty years with his wife, Ada, had raised his children in these rooms, toilet-trained them on these very water closets, and had found every day of his occupancy a simple and unqualified delight.
A second flushing invariably dealt with the trouble, he conceded, but that was not acceptable. A plumber must come, and soon. But the plumber, like the Punjabi construction workers, was a talker, an octogenarian named Joseph Schlink. Erect, wiry, with Albert Einstein white hair and Bugs Bunny front teeth, Joseph came through the door impelled by a form of defensive pridefulness to get his retaliation in first.
So laugh. The chentleman, Mr. Simon, calls me Kitchen Schlink, to his Mrs. In Latin, humor is a dampness from the eye. No damp eyes on me, eh? Chust I like to do the vork prompt, receive payment also prompt, you follow me here.
Like the shvartzer says in the movie, show me the money. The city was teaching him a lesson. There was to be no escape from intrusion, from noise. He had crossed the ocean to separate his life from life. He had come in search of silence and found a loudness greater than the one he left behind.
The noise was inside him now. He was afraid to go into the room where the dolls were. Maybe they would begin to speak to him, too. Maybe they would come to life and chatter and gossip and twitter until he had to shut them up once and for all, until he was obliged by the everywhereness of life, by its bloody-minded refusal to back off, by the sheer goddamn unbearable head-bursting volume of the third millennium, to rip off their fucking heads.
He did a slow circular breathing exercise. Very well. Dealing with it would be an exercise in humility and self-control. This was a Jewish plumber who had escaped the death camps by going underwater. His skills as a plumber meant the crew had protected him, they hung on to him until the day of their surrender, when he walked free and came to America, leaving behind, or, to put it another way, bringing along his ghosts.
Schlink had told the story a thousand times before, a thousand thousand. Out it came in its set phrases and cadences. A plumber in a submarine is already a little comic, but on top of that you haff the irony, the psychologische complexity. But I stand before you. I haff liffed my life. I haff kept, eh? Filmic, too. A life that could be a successful midbudget feature film. Dustin Hoffman maybe as the plumber, and as the U-boat captain, who?
Klaus Maria Brandauer, Rutger Hauer. Even this was fading with the years, the movie knowledge in which he had always taken such pride.
Call it Jewboat. I am sorry to say that you are a disrespectful man. She came with the sublet, refused to do the ironing, left cobwebs untouched in corners, and after she left you could make a line in the dust on the mantelpiece.
On the plus side she had a pleasant temperament and a big, gummy smile. The dangerous, unsuppressable power of the tale. Wislawa, a devout Catholic, had had her faith profoundly shaken by an ostensibly true story told by her husband who got it from his uncle who got it from a trusted friend who knew the person concerned, a certain Ryszard, who was for many years the personal driver of the pope, this of course before he was elected to the Holy See.
When it was time for that election, Ryszard the chauffeur drove the future pope all the way across Europe, a Europe standing on the very hinge of history, on the cusp of great changes. Ah, the comradeship of the two men, the simple human pleasures and annoyances of such a long journey!
And then they arrived in the Holy City, the man of the cloth was walled up with his peers and the driver waited. At last the white smoke was seen, the cry of habemus papam was raised, and then there was a cardinal all in red, descending an enormous, wide flight of yellow stone steps slowly, and crabwise, like a character in a Fellini movie, and right at the bottom of the steps waited the smoky little car and its excited driver. And so the cardinal was able to deliver the personal message of the new, the Polish pope: But in spite of the expenditure of over eight thousand dollars a month on the sublet, cleaner included, fate had dealt him a pretty much unplayable hand.
And if not the Holy Father, then how his priests, and if not the priests, then how confession and absolution, and here are opening below my feets the iron gates of Hell. Paradise, he considered telling Wislawa, was a place to which only the coolest and highest in New York possessed the secret number. As a gesture to the democratic spirit a few ordinary mortals were allowed in, too; they would arrive wearing properly reverential expressions, the expressions of those who know that they have truly, just this once, lucked out.
The wide-eyed thrilledness of this bridge-and-tunnel mob would add to the jaded satisfaction of the in-crowd, and of course of the Proprietor himself. It was extremely improbable, however, the laws of supply and demand being what they were, that Wislawa would turn out to be one of the fortunate few in the public seats, the sun-kissed bleachers of eternity.
This and much else Solanka restrained himself from saying. Jay long time. After the second week Solanka gave up asking, wiped down the mantels himself, got rid of the cobwebs, and took his shirts to the good Chinese laundry just around the corner on Columbus. But her soul, her nonexistent soul, continued intermittently to insist on his pastoral, his uncaring care. Sleepdeprived, wild of thought, he headed for his bedroom.
The imaginary tale, which he, Solanka, had made up for each of them. If a doll had no back-story, its market value was low. And as with dolls so with human beings. This was what we brought with us on our journey across oceans, beyond frontiers, through life: We were our stories, and when we died, if we were very lucky, our immortality would be in another such tale.
This was the great truth against which Malik Solanka had set his face. It was precisely his backstory that he wanted to destroy. Never mind where he came from or who, when little Malik could barely walk, had deserted his mother and so given him permission, years later, to do the same. He had come to America as so many before him to receive the benison of being Ellis Islanded, of starting over.
Give me a name, America, make of me a Buzz or Chip or Spike. Bathe me in amnesia and clothe me in your powerful unknowing. Enlist me in your J. Crew and hand me my mouse ears! No longer a historian but a man without histories let me be. Scan me, digitize me, beam me up.
If the past is the sick old Earth, then, America, be my flying saucer. Fly me to the rim of space. But still through the ill-fitting bedroom window the stories came pouring in. And Meg and Dennis, just moved to Splitsville, are squabbling over who gets not just the CD collection but the guru….
Only in America, kids, only in America!
With his hands over his ears, and still wearing his ruined linen suit, Professor Solanka slept. Malik accepted, surprising them both. Even in these days of his retreat, he still had such needs.
A holy man up a Himalaya could do without soccer on TV. Solanka was not so pure of heart. He shed the slept-in suit, showered, dressed quickly, and rode downtown. In the elevator he identified her: There goes the neighborhood, right? They had been a beautiful, perfectly contrasted ebony-and-ivory couple, she long, languid, pale, he equally long, but a pitch-black African-American, and a hyperactive one at that, a hunter, fisherman, weekend driver of very fast cars, marathon runner, gym rat, tennis player, and, lately, thanks to the rise of Tiger Woods, an obsessive golfer too.
From the earliest days of their marriage Solanka had wondered how a man with so much energy would handle a woman with so little.
Like most of their circle, however, he had underestimated Bronislawa Rhinehart in one essential respect: He thought of Asmaan on the telephone. Rhinehart had done her wrong, no denying that. His response to marriage had been to begin an affair, and his response to the difficulty of maintaining a clandestine relationship had been to initiate another one, and when both his mistresses insisted that he regularize his life, when they both insisted on occupying pole position on the grid of his personal auto rally, he at once managed to find room for yet another woman in his noisy, overcrowded bed.
Minnie Mouth was perhaps not such an inappropriate local icon. After a few years of this, and a move from Holland Park to the West Village, Bronislawa—what was it with all these Poles who kept cropping up in various positions? Instead of divorcing him, she told him sweetly, she intended to make the rest of his life a misery, and bleed him slowly dry. Rhinehart these days was a turbocharged gastronome, his freezer full of the carcasses of dead birds awaiting their reduction—their elevation!
In his refrigerator the delicacies of the earth jostled for space: This Jack? Americans were always labeling things with the America logo: Also, of course, and more prosaically, capitalist.
He gave up visiting war zones and began to write, instead, lucrative profiles of the superpowerful, super-famous, and super-rich for their weekly and monthly magazines of choice: Then he gave up writing poetry and turned his hand, instead, to novels set in the same world, the unreal world that ruled the real one.
He often compared his subject to that of the Roman Suetonius. But guess what? Jack had gone to war—as a noted young radical journalist of color with a distinguished record of investigating American racism and a consequent string of powerful enemies—nursing many of the same fears expressed a generation earlier by the young Cassius Clay: The exterminations in Timor, the communal massacres in Meerut and Assam, the endless color-blind cataclysm of the earth.
Somewhere in those years he became capable of close friendships with his white colleagues from the U. His label changed. He stopped hyphenating himself and became, simply, an American. These days Jack was more or less the only black man Jack knew, and Solanka was probably the only brown one. Rhinehart had crossed a line.
And now, perhaps, was crossing another one. He wrote about this gilded milieu with waspish venom, he tore it apart for its crassness, its blindness, its mindlessness, its depthless surfaceness, but the invitations from the Warren Redstones and Ross Buffetts, from the Schuylers and Muybridges and Van Burens and Kleins, from Ivana Opalberg-Speedvogel and Marlalee Booken Candell, just kept on coming, because the guy was hooked and they knew it.
He was their house nigger and it suited them to keep him around, as, Solanka suspected, a sort of pet. In the Palaces, people were not named in this way. Yes, women, of course. And these are the secrets from which the anger comes. In this dark bed the seeds of fury grow. Bronislawa had exhausted three judges and four lawyers, discovering on her journey a Jarndycelike gift—even, Solanka thought, an Indian genius— for legal obstruction and delay. Of this she had become perhaps literally insanely proud.
She had learned how to twist and thicken the plot. The devil, she explained to her attorneys, was short, white, wore a green frock coat, a pigtail, and high-heeled slippers, and strongly resembled the philosopher Immanuel Kant. But he was capable of taking any form, a column of smoke, a reflection in a mirror, or a long, black, frenziedly energetic husband.
He tried persuasion, bribery, threats. She stood firm and brought no suit. Eventually he did begin a court action, against which she brilliantly and determinedly offered a stupendous, almost mystical inaction.
The ferocity of her passive resistance would have impressed, probably, Gandhi. So in his middle forties he was still paying for the sins of his middle thirties. Meanwhile he continued to be promiscuous, and to praise the city for its bounty. And in eleven years he could surely have, for example, moved across the state border to Connecticut, where no-fault divorce did exist, or found the six or so weeks required to establish legal residence in Nevada and cut this Gordian knot.
This he had not done. Women would try him out, for he was beautiful and charming, and, until they got sick of the endlessness of it, would wait. There was also, however, another possible reading of the situation. Up where Rhinehart now mostly lived, on the Big Rock Candy Mountain, the Diamond as Big as the Ritz, he was literally outclassed and, the moment he fell into the trap of wanting what was on offer up there on Olympus, also out of his depth.
So maybe being halfmarried, stuck in this endlessly divorcing condition, was also a way for Rhinehart to kid himself. Single, and aging—he had turned forty now— he was almost out of time. Almost—the killer word for any ambitious ladykiller—ineligible. The combat zones, the women, the dangerous sports, the life of a man of deeds. Even the now-abandoned poetry had been of the virile Ted Hughes school. Often Solanka had felt that in spite of his seniority in years, it was Rhinehart who was the master and he the student.
A mere maker of dolls must bow his head before a wind surfer, a sky diver, a bungee jumper, a rock climber, a man whose idea of fun it was to go to Hunter College twice a week and run up and down forty flights of stairs. Being a boy—but this was getting too close to his forbidden, obliterated back-story—was a skill Malik Solanka had not been allowed to acquire in full.
Patrick Kluivert scored for the Dutch, and both Solanka and Rhinehart jumped to their feet, waving bottles of Mexican beer and shouting. I invited her to join us. Traditionally it signaled the arrival of what Rhinehart would very privately call the new waitress. What followed, however, was new. One hundred years of servitude. Now they run the sugarcane production and the economy would fall apart without them, but you know how it is wherever Indians go.
Dey works too hard and dey keeps to deyself and dey acts so dang uppity. Ask anyone. Ask Idi Amin. Compared to the intoxicating effect of her presence, the bottle of Dos Equis in his left hand was wholly alcohol free.
Other women in the world were just under six feet tall, with waist-length black hair, he supposed; and no doubt such smoky eyes were also to be found elsewhere, as also other lips as richly cushioned, other necks as slender, other legs as interminably long. On other women, too, there might be breasts like these.
So what? Just exactly so. When she saw him looking at it, she at once crossed her arms and put her left hand over the injury, not understanding that it made her more beautiful, that it perfected her beauty by adding an essential imperfection.
By showing that she could be injured, that such astonishing loveliness could be broken in an instant, the cicatrice only emphasized what was there, and made one cherish it—my goodness, Solanka thought, what a word to use about a stranger!
Extreme physical beauty draws all available light toward itself, becomes a shining beacon in an otherwise darkened world. Why would one peer into the encircling gloom when one could look at this kindly flame? Why talk, eat, sleep, work when such effulgence was on display? Lumen de lumine. And, at the same time, while he was mentally congratulating Rhinehart for breaking away at last from the many daughters of Paleface, he was also imagining himself with this dark Venus, he was allowing his own, closed heart to open, and so remembering once again what he spent much of his life trying to forget: Ancient, secret pain welled up in him, pleading to be healed.
Neela, meet my celibate pal Malik. He forced himself back into the real world. Neela, Mila.
Desire is coming after me, and giving me warnings in rhyme. She worked as a producer with one of the better independents, and specialized in documentary programming for television. Right now she was planning a project that would take her back to her roots. Things back home in Lilliput-Blefuscu were not good, Neela explained. People in the West thought of it as a South Sea paradise, a place for honeymoons and other trysts, but there was trouble brewing.
To highlight the issues, New York representatives of the opposing factions had both arranged to hold parades on the same upcoming Sunday. These manifestations would be small but fervent. The two march routes were to be widely separated, but it was still a good bet that there would be some angry clashes.
Neela herself was determined to march. As she talked about the worsening political turbulence in her tiny patch of the antipodes, Professor Solanka saw the hot blood rising in her. This conflict was not a small matter for beautiful Neela.
She was still connected to her origins, and Solanka almost envied her for it. Sure we will! Solanka saw Neela stiffen and frown. More goals came: Neela, too, was glad the Dutch had done well. She saw their black players, uncompetitively but also without false modesty, as her near equals in gorgeousness. Look at them. Edgar Davids, Kluivert, Rijkaard in the dugout, and, in the good old days, Ruud. The great Gullit. Stir all the races together and you get the most beautiful people in the world.
And below, in smaller type: Who Was the Man in the Panama Hat? Everything changed at once; darkness rushed in through the open window, blinding him. His little rush of excitement, good humor, and lust drained away. He felt himself trembling, and rose quickly to his feet. Here we go again. Majnu meant beloved. This particular Beloved looked twenty-five or less, a nice handsome boy, tall and skinny, with a sexy John Travolta quiff, and here he was living in New York, with a steady job; what had so comprehensively gotten his goat?
Solanka silently answered his own question. In this case, as the Middle East peace process staggered onward and the outgoing American president, hungry for a breakthrough to buff up his tarnished legacy, was urging Barak and Arafat to a Camp David summit conference, Tenth Avenue was perhaps being blamed for the continued sufferings of Palestine.
Beloved Ali was Indian or Pakistani, but, no doubt out of some misguided collectivist spirit of paranoiac pan-Islamic solidarity, he blamed all New York road users for the tribulations of the Muslim world. Yes, carefully, of course, Uncle.
Yes, the car costs money. No, Uncle. Yes, courteously, always, Uncle, trust me. Yes, best policy. Tone it down. Some customers might be offended.
Swearing, sir? Motherfucker, Jew, the usual repertoire. But, sir, you see, I am not aware. You were carried away. God bless America, okay? Though words can become deeds. If said in the right place and at the right time, they can move mountains and change the world.
Could that be so? Obviously, no. No, it simply could not. Shockingly, Solanka recognized himself in foolish young Ali Majnu: He did not, however, excuse himself.
Jack, absorbed in the soccer game, nodded absently. The Collected Apologies of Malik Solanka. I always thought that would make a fine book. Repetitive, maybe, but with rich comic delights. The cottage was small and it was necessary to spend as much time as possible away from it. One night after a protracted, men-only drinking session at an East Hampton watering hole, Solanka had insisted on driving back during a heavy downpour. A period of dumbstruck terror ensued. And the anger events are on a completely different scale.
Actually, the U. Bright red, then purple, then almost black. A heart attack waiting to happen.
You know what we call it when it happens? Getting Solankered. So he and Beloved Ali were really the same after all, Solanka humbly thought. Just a few slight surface differences of vocabulary and education. The bitter irony was that his old habits of combativeness, this evidently comic intemperateness of his, would blind even his friends to the great change in kind, the hideous deterioration, that was now taking place.
This time there really was a wolf coming and nobody, not even Jack, was listening to his cries. Hold the front page. How could he say, I am a knife in the dark; I endanger those I love? Even his skin was betraying him. He, whose baby-bottom skin had always caused women to marvel and to tease him for having led a life of cosseted ease, had begun to suffer from uncomfortable raw eruptions along his hairline and, most awkwardly of all, on both hands.
The skin reddened, puckered, and broke. So far he had not visited a dermatologist. Before walking out on Eleanor, a lifetime eczema sufferer, he had raided her medicine box and brought away two thick tubes of hydrocortisone ointment. At the local Duane Reade he bought a jumbo-sized bottle of industrial-strength moisturizer and resigned himself to using it several times a day.
Professor Solanka did not have a high opinion of doctors. Accordingly, he self-medicated, and itched. It was the age of science, but medical science was still in the hands of primitives and oafs. The main thing you learned from doctors was how little they knew. This was the sort of thing doctors did: Doctors did wrong.
It was just barely news. The news: