Title: Haroun and the Sea of Stories
Author: Salman Rushdie
Release Date: September 27, 1990
Genre: Literary Fiction, Fantasy
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5 out of 5
Rashid Khalifa is a famed storyteller, known for his ability to create magical stories. However, after his wife left him, he lost his touch and can no longer spin these wonderful tales. As he tells his son Haroun, the stream of stories that supplies his imagination has gone dry. Haroun, determined to find the stream of stories and restore it to his father, embarks on a fantastical quest to save Rashid’s storytelling abilities.
Haroun and the Sea of Stories is a wondrous fable that centers on the young boy, Haroun. Desperate to save his father’s livelihood, he embarks on his quest and finds himself whisked away to Kahani, where the ocean of stories actually exists. However, Haroun discovers that there are bigger problems than the cessation of his father’s subscription to the stream of stories. The ocean of stories has been polluted, and it’s up to Haroun to save it.
Through this small book, the reader gets a wonderful introduction to the magical realism that characterizes most of Salman Rushdie’s more complex novels. Because this is a simple fable, it’s a perfect way to become acquainted with Rushdie without becoming overwhelmed by his complicated and layered narratives. Haroun and the Sea of Stories is a simple, straightforward book, but is characteristic of Rushdie’s other works. If you’re looking to read Rushdie but don’t know where to start, this book is the perfect place to do so.
Rushdie creates a magical world for Haroun (and the reader) to get lost in. Through this world, though, he relates such important themes as the importance of fiction and the power it has over its readers, the conflict between democracy and authoritarianism, and how creativity and imagination cannot be stifled, no matter how hard people try to smother it. If you have room for the light and want to let it in, it will find a way to shine through, no matter how much others may try to block it. Rushdie cloaks these ideas in such a fantastical and enjoyable narrative that it’s pure joy to read between the lines to discover the messages he is trying to deliver.
I cannot covey how delightful of a read this little novel is. From beginning to end, it is a sweet and fun. Haroun is an appealing and bright main character who really captures the reader’s heart. Rushdie also plays with language in this book, showing how whimsical he can be. In fact, whimsical is the perfect word to describe this literary adventure. It’s such an adorable story, and what’s more, it can easily be read in one sitting. Readers will find themselves laughing out loud as they embark on the journey that is this book.
I can’t recommend Haroun and the Sea of Stories highly enough. I’m only sad it took me this long to read it. It’s such a unique, imaginative read and showcases the author’s talent in an easy-to-read book, which is very rare for Salman Rushdie. It’s also a book that can be read over and over again; though it is a simple book, there are many layers and themes, and there is much to discover within its pages. This is a wonderful little piece of literary fiction that I highly encourage people to pick up and read. Trust me, you won’t regret it!