Salman Rushdie’s Fury Audiobook: Metafiction by the Master
“Fury” is one Salman Rushdie audiobook that no one seems to know. It received mixed reviews, but I think it’s a great book (with a great performance!). It’s got Salman’s trademark word density and broad cast of colorful characters who are only tangentially relevant to the main story.
And, it is unique. I don’t use that word lightly.
In some ways, “Fury” by Salman Rushdie is unlike any other book I’ve listened to.
“Fury” by Salman Rushdie Audiobook Review
Most people say that “Fury” is not Salman Rushdie’s best work. They make reasonable points. Popular criticism seems to be that Rushdie’s characters are all over the place. Fair play. I can see why people would say that. Fortunately for Salman Rushdie, he doesn’t care about what critics think:
When Foreigners Write America
It’s interesting when an author from a foreign country decides s/he wants to write about America. I live abroad and I think there’s an assumption amongst native English speakers that we’re going to understand each other.
But actually our shared language can be deceiving.
For example, I’ve heard it said (more than once or twice) that British folks tend to be culturally closer to Japanese than Americans, and I think it’s true in a lot of cases. When it comes to the English speaking world, Americans are closer to Australians and South Africans, although they probably have a lot more in common with each other.
Anyway, the point is that it’s actually braver than you’d think to write a story whose core narrative is American culture.
Neil Gaiman (British) did an amazing job with American Gods.
The American Gods audiobook reminded me of the things that make America America at its most tacky and charming. You know, the things one takes for granted about his or her own culture.
Unfortunately, the American Gods audiobook sometimes went overboard with the American pop references, like a dessert with too many toppings.
It was an amazing book, by the way, and I’m going to write a review of it at some point.
Similarly, Salman Rushdie did his homework. I’m a New Yorker and he seems to understand enough of the city to put me there without having to suspend my disbelief too much. I mean the “submarine Jew” bit was laying it on a little thick, for example, but it was so funny I didn’t really mind.
And there’s one more thing that helps Salman Rushdie’s “Fury” whenever you start to notice it’s been written by a foreigner: the protagonist is a foreigner.
And that’s honestly a fair excuse.
Why Salman Rushdie’s”Fury” is Unique
The second point I want to make is about how Rushdie used symbolism in a totally new way I’ve never seen before. Of course, he’s a masterful writer who knows how to use symbols in a way that catches you off guard and gives you those “aha” moments that send shivers up your spine. Those are great moments. But in “Fury,” Salman Rushdie takes it to another level.
What’s really cool about “Fury”was that the main character is a writer who finally writes a story, and that little story-within-a-story is honestly cooler than all the rest of the book (which is totally the point, by the way — the protagonist is an author who has lost his mojo, but when fiction finally starts pouring out of him again, it’s like a downpour in a desert).
But the best part about it? In this story-within-a-story, which protagonist Malik Solanka writes, you have symbols that represent his own life.
Metafiction by the Master
I think this is neat because it’s like a unique twist on postmodernist metafiction — you know, that whole breaking down the fourth wall kind of writing, which can be tacky if not handled right. It’s a box in a box in a box – the professor’s story is inside of Professor Solanca himself, who is in Salman Rushdie.
I think we all know that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, that fictional writer Malik Solanka is a stand-in for Salman himself. To me, it seems like a case of writing about writer’s block to get through writer’s block, if you see what I mean.
And when we look straight down at them while these 3 objects are aligned they align real good.
My two other favorite examples of metafiction are Spider Man: No Way Home (2022) and Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series. (link goes to my rich backlog of Dark Tower articles)
Salman Rushdie’s “Fury” Narration Review
Salman Rushdie’s “Fury” is read by the author himself. It’s a good choice considering the content. It could be that he’s the only one in the world who can read his writing (which is dense af) without even a stutter or a slowdown or a lapse.
Honestly, though, he read it too fast for me. Rushdie goes from thought to complicated thought so quickly that if I lose my concentration for even a minute, I have to hit the 30 second rewind button.
Which gets tedious fast.
All that is to say, if you have a short attention span, or if you like to listen to audiobooks while multitasking, then the “Fury” audiobook is not for you.
Is the “Fury” audiobook by Salman Rushdie Worth my 1 Credit?
There’s some valid criticism about Fury, but it has some overlooked good points. The reviews on Audible and Amazon are overwhelmingly positive. However, it can be a little dense.
At the end of the day, I think that if you are this kind of person, then you’ll enjoy “Fury.”
- Like a postmodern style of writing
- Might be a writer or be really into authorship
- Have no trouble concentrating
- Don’t multitask during audiobooks, or are way better at it than the average person
- Are okay with slow parts or “waiting for the crazy scene”
- Appreciate character studies and, sortoflike, observational fiction