Sunday, November 27, 2005

Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie

A fable ("gup") par excellence!!

Salman Rushdie manages to create a magical world in Haroun and the Sea of stories, a world where stories originate from the ocean on the second, invisible moon called Kahani (~story), and are supplied to Rashid, the Shah of Blah by P2C2E (Process Too Complicated To Explain). When the Shah of Blah loses his prowess to tell stories, Haroun through interesting events lands up on Kahani moon, and takes part in a war between the land of Chup (~silence) and land of Gup (~gossip; conversation). The choice of characters is sublime mixture of creativity and ingenuity. The king of the land of Gup is Chatterjey (a Bengali surname) and their parliament is Chatterbox; the army is organized like library, and each unit like a kitab (~Book). It is also the story of love of Prince Bolo (~say something) and Princess Baatcheat (~conversation); the villainy of khatam-shud (~absolute silence), and is a mesmerizing drama that unfolds with absolutely hilarious sequences and some of the most engaging metaphors ever used by Rushdie.

I have loved Rushdie's other works as well, but this one is special as it captures the magical realism and creativity inherent in the ancient custom of story-telling. This story reminds me of my own childhood when the grandparents would conjure fables with genies and fairies and devils to hold us kids in raptures. The way Rushdie goes about describing the world of silence and the world of speech is enthralling, more so as he uses each character and each event in this fable to illustrate the different shades of each.

Everyone who ever loved any Rushdie book is bound to like this one. Read it for humor, read it for child in you. Highly recommended.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


land of Chup (~silence) and land of Gup (~gossip; conversation)Prince Bolo Princess Baatcheat villainy of khatam-shud... meri beti thodi badi hojaye to sunayegi.... :P

thanks for the review ...

sa ni da pa ma ga ri sa :P