Synopses & Reviews
The first novel by one of our greatest novelists, restored to print by the Modern Library
After drinking an elixir that bestows immortality upon him, a young Indian named Flapping Eagle spends the next seven hundred years sailing the seas with the blessing, and ultimately the burden, of living forever. Eventually, he grows weary of the sameness of life and journeys to the mountainous Calf Island to regain his mortality. There he meets other immortals obsessed with their own stasis, and he sets out to scale the island’s peak, from which the mysterious and corrosive Grimus Effect emits. Through a series of thrilling quests and encounters, Flapping Eagle comes face-to-face with the island’s creator and unwinds the mysteries of his own humanity.
About the Author
Salman Rushdie is the author of eight novels: Fury, The Ground Beneath Her Feet, The Moors Last Sigh, Midnights Children (for which he won the Booker Prize and the “Booker of Bookers”), Shame, The Satanic Verses, Grimus, and Haroun and the Sea of Stories, and one collection of short stories, East, West. He has also published a book of reportage, The Jaguar Smile, and an earlier collection of essays, Imaginary Homelands. He lives in New York and London.
Reading Group Guide
1. Why does Flapping Eagle drink the elixir that makes him immortal? What are the consequences of living forever?
2. How would you describe the world of Rushdies novel? What does it remind you of? What elements make it otherworldly?
3. In the epigraph Rushdie quotes T. S. Eliot: “Go, go, go, said the bird; human kind/Cannot bear very much reality.” What does this tell you about the novel and about Flapping Eagle?
4. Grimus has been described as a quest novel. What is Flapping Eagle seeking? Does he find it?
5. What are the roles of Virgil Jones and Dolores OToole? What kind of guides do they make?
6. As Flapping Eagle makes his way up the mountain of Calf Island, what does he learn about Grimus and the Grimus Effect? Who is Grimus?
7. At the novel's end, how would you describe Flapping Eagle's achievements?