Grimus by Salman Rushdie

Grimus salmn rushdie book cover
Grimus by Salman Rushdie

Grimus is a 1975 fantasy and science fiction novel by Salman Rushdie. It was his literary debut.

The story loosely follows Flapping Eagle, a young Indian who receives the gift of immortality after drinking a magic fluid. After drinking the fluid, Flapping Eagle wanders the earth for 777 years 7 months and 7 days, searching for his immortal sister and exploring identities before falling through a hole in the Mediterranean Sea. He arrives in a parallel dimension at the mystical Calf Island where those immortals who have tired of the world but are reluctant to give up their immortality exist in a static community under a subtle and sinister authority.

Published in 1975, Grimus was Salman Rushdie’s first published novel. To a large extent it has been disparaged by academic critics; though Peter Kemp’s comment is particularly vitriolic, it does give an idea of the novel’s initial reception:

“His first novel, Grimus (1975), a ramshackle surreal saga based on a 12th-century Sufi poem and copiously encrusted with mythic and literary allusion, nosedived into oblivion amid almost universal critical derision.”

Quotes from Grimus by Salman Rushdie

“Unfortunately life has a way of sidetracking one’s greatest ambitions. Painters, would-be artists, end up whitewashing walls. Sculptors are forced to design toilets. Writers become critics or publicists. Archaeologists, like myself, can become gravediggers.”
― Salman Rushdie, Grimus

“man is sane only to the extent that he subscribes to a previously-agreed construction of reality.”
― Salman Rushdie, Grimus

“A live dog is better than a dead lion, but death is preferable to poverty.”
― Salman Rushdie, Grimus

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