The Ground Beneath Her Feet, Paperback
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


Vina Apsara, a famous and much-loved singer, is caught up in a devastating earthquake and never seen again.

This is her story, and that of Ormus Cama, the lover who finds, loses, seeks and again finds her, over and over, throughout his own extraordinary life in music.

Set in the inspiring, vain, fabulous world of rock'n'roll, this is the story of a love that stretches across continents, across Vina and Ormus's whole lives, and even beyond death.




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The book begins with the disappearance/death (during an earthquake) of Vina Apsara, rock goddess and the love of two mens lives; Ormus Cama, fellow rock star and Umeed "Rai" Merchant, photographer and narrator, both of whom she has know the majority of her life. Rai traces the history of Ormus, Vina, their band VTO and his own life from the 1950's to the 90's, through the changing face of Rock, via Bombay, London and the USA, to Vina's end in Mexico and beyond, in a universe that has twisted away from our reality and is suffering the consequences. There are many subtle and (mostly) not so subtle differences (Lou Reed is a woman, the assassination attempt on the life of JFK in 1963 was unsuccessful, VTO is the biggest band in the world...) between this world and our own but there also many (again, not so subtle) covert parallels.The story is described as a retelling of the Orpheus/Eurydice myth and certainly the theme keeps reappearing, as do many other links between myth, religion and reality, at heart, however, it's the classic love triangle with a twist or two, set in the world of Rock.First of all, I want to state for the record that I very much enjoyed it. However, despite this and being completely absorbed every time I picked it up, I did find myself constantly being distracted by other books. What I'm saying, I think, is that it wasn't a truly gripping book in the usual sense. This wasn't completely because the book starts with the end - there are enough twists and turns throughout that you know the end at the beginning is not the whole story (if you follow my tongue twister!). The photographic imagery at various moments is incredibly vivid (there are one or two scenes I can picture now), and the many minor characters, and their stories, wonderful, but at times the plot becomes a little ponderous. The structure jarred me a little too - 5/6 of the book leading back up to the earthquake and then what felt (to me anyway) like a sudden change of direction and, in some ways, pace, for the final 1/6. I also struggled a little with just why these two men (and indeed the whole world) would fall in love with such an irritating character as Vina (oooh I hate it when people end every sentence with a question? Even when it's not obviously a question? You know what I mean?!) - and, indeed, the fact that every single character seems to be incredibly self-absorbed (not just those who are famous - seriously, I'm really struggling to think of a character with more than a couple of lines who isn't). But these were really quite minor annoyances in the general scheme of things and I really am glad that I read this.