The Ground Beneath Her Feet
by Salman Rushdie
I think I was at university the first time I started reading this. I stopped around 100 pages in, overwhelmed by the relentless references to mythology (Greek, Roman, Norse and Indian), religions, history and language. I think I needed to spend another 15 (plus) years absorbing information about all those things to not only appreciate but truly enjoy this novel. And this time I loved it.
This is an epic tale, centred on a love triangle but encompassing so much more of life and the world than that suggests. The “her” of the title is Vina Apsara, half-American, half-Indian, raised in poverty, handed off from relative to relative until she lands on the doorstep of the Merchant family in Mumbai.
The grand love of her life is their near neighbour Ormus Cama, youngest son of a rich Parsi family. His twin brother was stillborn but Ormus dreams of him, swears that his dead brother feeds him the music and lyrics that he writes.