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This book is sort of the Arabian Nights + Princess Bride, with a little Alice in Wonderland thrown into the mix.  When Rashid, a storyteller known as the Shah of Blah, loses the ability to tell stories, his son Haroun sets out to find out what has happened.  With the help of Iff the Water Genie and a cast of colorful characters he finds out that forces of Darkness are polluting the Sea of Stories.

It's all a thinly veiled allegory for Islam trying to silence the author after his Satanic Verses was published, but it's deftly handled & often quite amusing.  Rushdie does an especially nice job with word plays & puns & the book requires rereading & reading aloud to catch them all, which makes it a perfect book for adults to read to older kids.


Grade: (B)


Salman Rushdie Links:

    -WIKIPEDIA: Salman Rushdie
    -INTERVIEW: Salman Rushdie on Defending Free Speech in the Face of Fanaticism: The attack on the celebrated author makes what he said in a 2005 interview ever more relevant (Shikha Dalmia, 8/27/22, UnPopulist)
    -PROFILE: Salman Rushdie Is Recovering, Reflecting, and Writing About the Attack on His Life (KARL VICK, APRIL 13, 2023, TIME)
-ESSAY: Salman Rushdie Is the Canary in a Free Speech Coal Mine: But the liberty at stake is moral and spiritual, not just intellectual. (MIKE COSPER, AUGUST 23, 2022, Christianity Today)
    -REVIEW ESSAY: Politics Sometimes Needs Great Literature to Save It from Itself: Salman Rushdie's Victory City, an allegory of our current struggle for liberalism, rises to the occasion (Peter Juul, 3/07/23, The UnPopulist)
    -ESSAY: Demonising Salman Rushdie: Following the author’s brutal stabbing it’s time to reclaim The Satanic Verses as a capacious work of art exploring faith and identity (Sameer Rahim, September 8, 2022, Prospect)
    -ESSAY: Rethinking Salman Rushdie: We can condemn Salman Rushdie’s attacker without celebrating Rushdie. (Michael Warren Davis, Aug 18, 2022, American Conservative)
    -ESSAY: Memory of Rushdie’s ‘Satanic Verses’ Grows Hazy: Few now recall that the book was published in Persian or that Arab and Muslim intellectuals defended the author from Khomeini’s fatwa (Khaled Diab, August 19, 2022, New Lines)
    -ESSAY: The Greatest Living American Writer on Salman Rushdie: ‘The attack on Rushdie is an attack on all writers, but even more so on me, because of my prominence’ (Neal Pollack, August 19, 2022, Spectator)
    -ESSAY: The Rushdie Controversy, for a New Generation: Fatwa, fear, and free speech—here’s what really matters in the Rushdie story. (MATT JOHNSON, AUGUST 26, 2022, The Bulwark)
    -ESSAY: Salman Rushdie: Did a ‘chance’ airport meeting lead to fatwa? (Chloe Hadjimatheou, 8/28/22, BBC News)
    -ESSAY: Rushdie Is India’s Forgotten Child of Midnight: Iran was not the first country to ban ‘The Satanic Verses’ (Pratik Kanjilal, 8/30/22, New/Lines)
    -ESSAY: Salman Rushdie and the Islamic Punishment for Blasphemy: For centuries, the orthodox Muslim view has been that those who insult Muhammad must be summarily killed. (Gordon Nickel, 2 Sep 2022, Quillette)
    -ESSAY: Salman Rushdie and the Neoliberal Culture Wars: Far from a metaphysical battle between fanaticism and tolerance, the Rushdie affair exemplifies the marketization of hurt sentiments. (Faisal Devji, 9/14/22, Boston Review)
-ESSAY: The End-Of-History Smart Set: From '60s radicals to pro-war liberals, the West's last literary clique now seems a relic of the 20th century. That isn't such a bad thing. (Matt Purple, 5/28/21, American Conservative)
    -ESSAY: The Emotional Liquor of Offence: Why would we blame writers for what they write instead of the readers who take offense at what they read? (Helen Dale, 8/26/22, Law & Liberty)
    -ESSAY: How the Salman Rushdie Fatwa Changed the World (Reuel Gerecht Wall Street Journal August 29, 2022)
    -REVIEW: of Victory City by Salman Rushdie (Judith Shulevitz, The Atlantic)
    -REVIEW: of Victory City (Hilary A White, Independent ie)
    -REVIEW: of Victory City (James Walton, The Spectator)

Book-related and General Links:
Salman Rushdie--The Salon Interview
    Salman Rushdie: An Overview

If you liked Haroun and the Sea of Stories, try:

Burton, Richard
    -Arabian Nights : The Marvels and Wonders of the Thousand and One Nights

Carroll, Lewis
    -Alice in Wonderland
    -Through the Looking Glass

Goldman, William
    -The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure