Author-Salman Rushdie/Fiction Fantasy
[★-lost me ★★-average ★★★-worth a read ★★★★-excellent ★★★★★-amazing]
Since I have a thing for hardcovers, this book’s aesthetics attracted me. Not like I don’t read paperbacks, but hardcovers kind of make me feel rich and sophisticated. A picture of a huge cloud with lightning charging out of it on a lone yellow man standing silhouetted against a grey background. Enough to attract anyone. It took me a lot of courage to pick up a Salman Rushdie, after Midnight’s Children threatened to burst my head. To read a Salman Rushdie book, you need to keep two things handy; a dictionary and a sound mind to comprehend what’s going on in the story. An author once told me that to read his novels, the trick is to skip the parts you don’t understand, and then come back to them after reading the next few pages.
Two Years Eight Months and Twenty Eight Nights is a reference to Scheherezade’s 1001 (do the math) nights of storytelling to blood thirsty King Shahryar in Arabian Nights. It is set in New York and many have called it a ‘love story to New York’, though I feel this grown up fairy-tale is actually a love story to the utopic vision of the world Rushdie wishes to create. It features ‘jinn’, who are supernatural beings made up of smokeless fire. It speaks of a love story between a jinnia(female jinn), who is actually Lightning Princess, or Aasman Peri, or Skyfairy, the Princess of Peristan, or Fairyland, and disgraced Arab Spanish philosopher, the translator of Aristotle, Ibn Rushd, known as Averroes, who doesn’t know the girl in his house is a jinnia. The Princess is in love with the earth and its people, in love with Ibn Rushd, though he abandons her when he is un-disgraced and given back his former status. She names herself Dunia, and her descendants as Duniazát, who, generations later, join forces against the dark jinn who threaten to overpower the earth. Rushdie has sourced the concept of jinns from Islamic and Arab history, Hindu mythology, Greek and Roman mythology and has also added some of his own ideas. The stories are told against disaster, and are interlinked with each other. The scary thing is that they stay connected to real life: A great storm with rushing waters and darkened lights-Hurricane Sandy? ‘…a baby-faced tyrant […] ordered all his subjects to have a same ridiculous haircut as himself’-are you all thinking what I’m thinking? Through TYEMATEN, Rushdie shows that good must always triumph over evil, and that we all possess strengths unknown to us, it takes a little tapping to open them up. He has also cleverly incorporated the themes of gender equality, unity, and has striven to fight against the system of division according to race, place, tongue and custom. Salman Rushdie has paid a tribute to Ibn Rushd, in honour of whom Rushdie’s father changed the family name. If you can handle Salman Rushdie, please go ahead and read this, it will be worth a read.