Books: Ganja Growing in the Tin

Salman Rushdie reimagines Orpheus as a modern rock star, and almost brings it off

It must have seemed like a good idea at the onset: Why not retell the mythic story of Orpheus and Eurydice, this time casting the principals as international pop/rock stars? Ergo Salman Rushdie's sixth novel, The Ground Beneath Her Feet (Henry Holt; 575 pages; $27.50), which recounts the fabulous lives and careers of the singer-composer Ormus Cama and his beloved co-vocalist Vina Apsara, as remembered by their mutual friend, the news photographer Umeed ("Rai") Merchant. His opening sentence foretells Vina's death--she was swallowed up by an earthquake in Mexico in 1989--and Rai presents himself as a narrator with a mission: "I...

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