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May 24, 1999 - Image 10

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1999-05-24

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10- The Michigan Daily - Monday,;May 24,1999

Continued from Page 8
for both HBO and for off-Broadway
productions. "Hearts" starts on June
4th, and continues through June 6th.
University alum and Nobel prize
winning writer Arthur Miller
("Death of a Salesman," "The
Crucible") will be in Ann Arbor on
June 4th as part of the festivities,
presenting the first ever Arthur

Miller Award.
The Arthur Miller Award will be
given for dramatic writing, and the
recipient will be announced at the
On June 18-20, the musical
"Summer of '42" will be performed.
"Summer of '42" is directed by
Brent Wagner, and the music lyrics
were written by David Kirshenbaum.
The. new musical is based on the
Herman Raucher's classic hit film

"Summer of '42."
The Festival of New Works is a
wonderful environment for individu-
als who 'love new and interesting
approaches to artistic expression.
For those of who thrive on never
before seen theater, as well as the
opportunity to interact with great
writers, Gaglian says the Festival of
New Works "is what is happening
right now and the cutting edge on
how to deal with screenplays."

UR 0
as s 2.

The Ground Beneath
Her Feet
Salman Rushdie
Henry Holt and Company
"The Ground Beneath Her Feet," by
Salman Rushdie, opens abruptly with
a vicious, bloody dream of human sac-
rifice, in which men "resembling the
actor Christopher Plummer" torture
and prepare to kill Vina Apsara, the
emotionally tortured main character of
the novel.
Rushdie pulls in the reader with
death and ruin, but gives the black
theme a somehow light-hearted twist
with the reference to popular culture.
He uses this technique throughout the
book in an attempt to transform and
heighten the importance of the culture,
but instead, he only succeeds in mini-
mizing the significance of the story
itself in the lives of its characters.
"The Ground Beneath I-Ier Feet" is
the life story ofApsara, an internation-
ally known rock 'n' roll star with a
voice that the world has never before
heard. The story is told from the point
of view of the photographer Rai, who
was raised as Apsara's younger brother
and lived his life with unrequited love
for her. Rai details Apsara's rise from
an abusive rural American childhood,
to a wealthy life as a teenager in India,
to her rise as a singing sensation and
her love for Ormus Cama, Rai's bitter
Rushdie's characterization is
intriguing, especially the complexities
of Apsara and the whims of her life.
He creates a deep, thorough picture of
Apsara's tortured soul. Though seem-
ingly nothing is left to the imagination,
she still succeeds in surprising the
reader with constantly conflicting (yet
somehow justifiable and appropriate)
Rai is also an appealing character,
and it's easy to sympathize with him
and his affection for Apsara. The bio-
graphical nature of Rushdie's epic puts
Rai's actions in historical perspective
and keeps him from appearing as an
overly emotional artist who is simply
obsessed with the singer.
These powerful characters, howev-
er, aren't utilized to their full potential
in Rushdie's work. Although he elicits
strong emotions and puts them in an
appropriate context, the plot boils
down to a simple love story. Any com-
plexities simply appear as pop refer-

ences and are quickly disregarded, and
reappearing themes tend to be simply
fluff - the theme song of Cama's tor-
mented world view, "It Shouldr*
Have To Be This Way," loses its mean-
ing when sung as a rock 'n' roll
Carrying the culture references
throughout all aspects of the novel,
Rushdie tends to occasionally insert a
song lyric or rock 'n' roll superstar ref-
erence in his writing. This action also
tends to minimize the power of his
writing and lends a goofball quality
the dramatic work. With a less intens'e'
writer, this knowledge of culture
would be an advantage, but after
Rushdie has drawn in the reader, such
references seem out-of-place and
throw the reader back out of the
novel's world.
"The Ground Beneath Her Feet"
will appeal to fans of Rushdie's previ-
ous writing, who appreciate the
author's offbeat views and sense of
humor. Even in small sections, its po
culture references and views create
dazzling picture. But as a whole, the
immense work is an overload of
images, without enough concrete
action to support them.
-Jessica Eaton




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