A mixture of science fiction and folktale, past and future, primitive and present- day Thunderous and touching.” –Financial Times. When Flapping Eagle, the immortal hero of this fantasy, tires of existence, he travels to Calf Island, home of Grimus, the man who granted him eternal life, and . Grimus: A Novel (Modern Library Paperbacks) [Salman Rushdie] on Amazon. com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. “A mixture of science fiction and folktale.
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Grimus tells the story of Flapping Eagle, a Native American outcast who becomes immortal after drinking some magical liquor. This world is inhabited by other potion-drinking immortals, and is presided over by the strange and powerful Grimus — a doppelganger of Flapping Eagle.
The book draws heavily on mythological and religious sources, especially Sufi mysticism and mythology, salamn it is essentially a SF story of other selves in other dimensions, albeit a more literary story than that genre tends to go for.
The tone of Grimus can be uneven, and appears to suffer a little from a lack of authorial direction. As with other genre types, trends in SF come and go but the underlying themes remain the same. Possibly the strongest theme in SF literature and film is conformity — specifically, the need to escape a society where conformity is a measure of acceptance and even utopia. From the celled, monastic individuals of E. So when Flapping Eagle shows no such inclination to escape conformity he is much more inclined to embrace it where-ever he can find salmann the ground beneath the reader begins to shake.
It is arguably this underlying instability that has resulted in calls of genre confusion within Grimus.
ealman Support for this confusion can be seen in the secondary theme of the book: While this is a typical theme in SF literature humanity travelling to rushsie suns, and making their home on other planetsit is also a major theme in Salman Rushdie literature. Rushdie has a strong predilection for non-conformity: Passivity to received dogma is not seen as a desirable or responsible intellectual characteristic.
So the fact that Rushdie could be writing an autobiography in metaphor is no indication that he actually did.
Grimus Reader’s Guide
However, the theme of migration between Islam and the East to the politically and religiously open West is so strong in the rest of his works that it is tempting — and even reasonable — to apply that intention in retrospect when reading Grimus. Do you deny that by taking your sister from the Axona I forced your expulsion? Do you deny that allowing you to wander the world for centuries instead of bringing you here I rushdje you the man that you are, chameleon, adaptable, confused?
Do you deny that by choosing a man similar in appearance to myself I estimated exactly the effect of such a man on Virgil and gri,us the town K?
Do you deny that I lured you here with ryshdie Spectre of Bird-Dog?
Grimus – Wikipedia
Do you deny that I have steered a course between the infinite potential presents and futures in order to make this meeting possible? And then, dropping his voice: This is a major inversion of the usual SF treatment of this theme — a twist that might not be so unsettling in a non-SF genre.
It seems to me to be plausible that Rushdie, the non-conformist, has unsuccessfully tried to produce his own antithesis in Flapping Eagle, and fails for want of empathy.
Flapping Eagle, it must be admitted, is a curiously flat character dumped into a community of the fascinatingly warped and grotesque. The fat, pedantic, and stubbornly reclusive Virgil is an infinitely more attractive and seductive character. That the guide so outshines the guided is an odd narrative choice, but is it deliberate?
Is this why Grimus seems so muddled at times?
Left to shift for himself, he tends to wallow and drift and take the path of least resistance until forced to do otherwise. In conformity-themed SF, this is where the protagonist normally starts his journey before he or she learns how to escape the stifling nature of their community-based conformity.
In essence, this type of SF novel shows the journey of a person learning the value of non-conformity. But Flapping Eagle never achieves the growth suggested by his quest or its underlying theme.
Towards the end of Grimuswhen he confronts his doppelganger at Grimushome, he appears to show a smidgeon of initiative. When, only one page from the end of the novel, Flapping Eagle finally does something Grimus does not want, it is almost too unexpected to the reader as well.
It is unexpected because the change is too sudden for the character. There has been little gradual awakening to his own deliberate intellectual and moral non-conformity; it simply comes regardless. Flapping Eagle spends most of his time wishing unashamedly for conformity, and I end up wanting him to go away as much as any of the communities that exclude him. However, as a SF lead his level of conformity, and his too-quick solution of it, makes him a failure — and the success of Grimus hangs on the journey of Flapping Eagle.
That journey has all the hallmarks and obstacles of the SF journey towards non-conformity. Yet in its solution to the problem of conformity, and in its protagonist, Grimus does not conform to the expectations of readers well-versed in SF perceptions. That is what makes the novel so muddled within genre, and is arguably the root cause of its critical failure.
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