I took a break from Song of Fire and Ice with a lighthearted children’s book by Salman Rushdie:
Haroun and the Sea of Stories. Many may recall Rushdie as the writer with a price on his head for The Satanic Verses. Here the subject matter is a bit less heavy.
Haroun reminded me of a cross between Life of Pi and something by Roald Dhal (such as James and the Giant Peach, or Willy Wonka). In a carefree, youthful style, we meet Haroun, the son of a storyteller (The Shah of Blah) who loses the ability to tell stories. Haroun must recover his father’s gift. Throughout, there is an abundance of clever puns and witty situations.
The format is reminiscent of The Wizard of Oz – where we are introduced to some problems in the real world, then whisked away to a fantasy land where the magical representations of these problems battle it out.
Instead of a lion, scarecrow and tin man, we meet Butt the Hoopoe, Iff the Water Genie, floating gardeners and plentimaw fishes from the land of Gup. There’s even a guy named I.M.D Walrus, leader of the Eggheads (the infidel pays homage to Beatles!).
At the center of Haroun, however, is a remarkable exploration of stories. What is their source? Why are stories important? There is a global appeal for tales such as these, even ones cloaked in child-like wonder. Fun read – thanks Sis.