The Ground Beneath Her Feet

The Ground Beneath Her Feet

infobox Book |
name = The Ground Beneath Her Feet
title_orig =
translator =

author = Salman Rushdie
cover_artist =
country = United States
language = English
series =
genre = Novel
publisher = Henry Holt & Company
release_date = 1999
media_type = Print (Hardback & Paperback)
pages = 592 pp
isbn = ISBN 0805053085
preceded_by =
followed_by =

"The Ground Beneath Her Feet" is a novel written by Salman Rushdie. Published in 2000, it is a variation on the Orpheus/Eurydice myth with rock music replacing Orpheus' lyre. The myth works as a red thread from which the author sometimes strays, but to which he attaches an endless series of references. The novel has also been turned into a major new performance work combining music and film that will premiere at the inaugural Manchester International Festival in England on 29 June 2007. Composed by Victoria Borisova-Ollas and featuring a new film directed by Mike Figgis (Leaving Las Vegas, Internal Affairs), the tale of two star-crossed lovers will be performed by the Hallé orchestra, conducted by its music director Mark Elder.

Plot introduction

The book, while at its core detailing the love of two men, Ormus Cama and Umeed "Rai" Merchant (the narrator of the story), for the same woman, Vina Apsara, provides a background and alternate history to the entire 1950s-1990s period of the growth of rock music. The minor characters of the story are particularly interesting, as they provide the most vivid portraits of the cultures and backgrounds that come into play in the story. Defined by Toni Morrison as "a global novel", the book sets itself in the wide frame of Western and post-colonial culture, through the multilingualism of its characters, the mixture of East and West and the great number of references that span from Greek mythology, European philosophy and contemporaries such as Milan Kundera and the stars of rock'n roll.


* A large road near Apollo Bundar (where the Camas lived) is named "Madam Cama Road".
* The name of the photographic agency which Umeed is invited to join, the "Nebuchadnezzar" company, is inspired by the Magnum Photos agency. The inside joke is that both names are terms used for champagne bottle sizes, the magnum being 1.5 litres, while the nebuchadnezzar is 15 litres.
* The character of Ormus Cama seems to be heavily inspired by John Lennon and Elvis Presley. While Lennon appears in the book as a separate character, several of Ormus' traits (especially his love of making bread at home) seems to be inspired from him. Ormus' death - immediately outside his apartment building, shot at close range with a small pistol - is also very similar to Lennon's. Also, Lennon's last words are said to be "yes", when a police officer asked him if he knew who he was on the way to the hospital. Ormus' last words were "Yes. Yes, mother, I know", when asked the same question. As a kind of bookend, Ormus has a similar birth to that of Elvis, who had a twin brother born dead. Rushdie also describes Ormus in physical terms that could describe Elvis, particularly the erotic power of his pelvic gyrations. Rushdie also stated that Ormus Cama was loosely based on Freddie Mercury, who was also a famous Parsi rock star.
* Vina Apsara dies, in the first chapter of the book, on the same day that the "fatwa" against Rushdie was issued - February 14, 1989.
* Rushdie re-introduces characters from his novel, "Midnight's Children", including Homi Catrack, William Methwold, and settings like Warden Road.

ee also

*Indian English literature
*Postcolonial literature

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