Price: 221 INR
Luka and the Fire of Life, a novel by Salman Rushdie, is a sequel to his 1990 novel Haroun and the Sea of Stories (it is a phantasmagorical story that begins in a city so old and ruinous that it has forgotten its name). Rushdie stated that he wrote the book for his 13-year-old son and took inspiration from the world of video games.
The book opens in a fictional city called Kahani in a land called Alifbay, where Luka is walking back home from school with his father, Rashid Khalifa. As they walk, they cross a circus known as the Great Rings of Fire and Luka sees the pitiful state of the animals and pronounces a curse. Coincidently, the curse comes true and the animals’ revolt. Following which a dog known as Bear and a bear known as Dog arrive at Luka’s doorstep and they become his faithful pets. A month or so after the incident, Rashid Khalifa falls asleep and doesn’t wake up. Several days later, it is revealed through a letter – via vultures – that Aag cursed Rashid. Then, thinking that Rashid is awake, Luka rushes outside with Dog and Bear and enters the World of Magic. Here on begins Luka’s fantastical adventure.
Rushdie’s novel is a rather mixed bag – it has everything from the jesting adventures of an adolescent boy to references of Narnia and the Norse mythology amongst others. The adventure is enthralling and captivating and Rushdie is able to keep this up with his wonderful use of language which is quite engaging and imaginative. The language is ‘flavourful’ and quite simple. This makes it easy to read for all age groups and the book is quite enchanting.
The narrative of the novel embraces the worldview of a child quite effectively and is written in a ‘roller-coaster’ kind of style that glosses over everything so that the action is a nightmare of loose ends and improbabilities but for all that something sombre and splendid looks out from the fun and games.
The novel is able to grapple with the fast-paced action-packed adventures of Luka with comfortable ease, displaying yet again Rushdie’s magic with language. The quickness of the flow of events is a controlled one and does not hamper the upcoming events. In every way the novel is executed with an enormous and breathless charm.
In the end, Salman Rushdie has produced a novel which never loses its touch with the elements of the shaman and the charlatan in his own storyteller’s nature. It is a good and captivating novel which exposes you, as a reader, to another level of imagination – one that races your mind with active imagination of recreating the beautiful scenes in the novels, which I think not many would be able to do.
Overall Rating: 9/10
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The author’s website: Salman Rushdie
The author on Facebook: Salman Rushdie
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Pooja is an unusually quiet and quirky lady. She is gentle yet quick on her words. She loves her books and is a big fan of Harry Potter. Books are her besties and she loves them just as she loves her family and friends.