Recommended reading from a master storyteller.
It might have been hard for many to predict that the author of dazzling novels like Midnight’s Children and The Satanic Verses would turn his hand to stories for children, but his marvelous Haroun and the Sea of Stories proved that Salman Rushdie’s talent for weaving ancient and modern narratives into new forms cast just as magical a spell on young readers. His new book, Luka and the Fire of Life, centers on Haroun’s younger brother Luka, who must travel through enchanted realms in a quest to save his father’s life. We asked the author to recommend three books he loves to read when he lays aside his storytelling labors.
By Gabriel García Márquez
“When William Kennedy reviewed this book for the New York Times Book Review he suggested that it was the first book since the Bible that should be required reading for the entire human race, and he was probably right—not because it’s a work of instruction but because it’s the most joyful reading experience there is. This is the novel that came to define ‘magical realism,’ and became so influential in Latin America that the Mexican novelist Carlos Fuentes joked that it was no longer possible to use the phrase ‘one hundred years’ without people thinking you were referring to García Márquez, and it might soon also become impossible to use the word ‘solitude.'”
By Günter Grass
“Little Oskar Matzerath of Danzig (now Gdansk), with a voice that can shatter glass, decides to stop growing on his third birthday, the very day that he is given a tin drum as a present, and as a result he remains child-sized. shrieking and drumming, throughout the horrors of Nazism. His story, Grass’s masterpiece, is simply the greatest account of the mid-twentieth-century German nightmare, its surreal black comedy perfectly suited to its material.”
By Mikhail Bulgakov
“The great Russian surrealist novel, fully the equal of the German and Latin American masterworks above. The Devil comes to Moscow and wreaks havoc, accompanied by his sidekicks, a sharpshooting cat with six guns and a thin fellow who can disappear by turning sideways. Among others, the Devil meets a writer known as the master and his lover, Margarita, who becomes a witch. The master has been writing a variant version of the life of Christ as seen from the point of view of Pontius Pilate. In a fit of despair he has burned the manuscript but the Devil, pointing out in a justly famous phrase that ‘manuscripts don’t burn’ (ideas can’t be destroyed), gives it back to him, intact. This novel, more than any other, was useful to me when I was planning The Satanic Verses.”