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Haroun and the Sea of Stories

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Overview

Set in an exotic Eastern landscape peopled by magicians and fantastic talking animals, Salman Rushdie's classic children's novel Haroun and the Sea of Stories inhabits the same imaginative space as Gulliver's Travels, Alice in Wonderland, and The Wizard of Oz. In this captivating adaptation for the stage, Haroun sets out on an adventure to restore the poisoned source of the sea of stories. On the way, he encounters many foes, all intent on draining the sea of all its ...
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Haroun and the Sea of Stories

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Overview

Set in an exotic Eastern landscape peopled by magicians and fantastic talking animals, Salman Rushdie's classic children's novel Haroun and the Sea of Stories inhabits the same imaginative space as Gulliver's Travels, Alice in Wonderland, and The Wizard of Oz. In this captivating adaptation for the stage, Haroun sets out on an adventure to restore the poisoned source of the sea of stories. On the way, he encounters many foes, all intent on draining the sea of all its storytelling powers.

The author of The Satanic Verses returns with his most humorous and accessible novel yet. This is the story of Haroun, a 12-year-old boy whose father Rashid is the greatest storyteller in a city so sad that it has forgotten its name. When the gift of gab suddenly deserts Rashid, Haroun sets out on an adventure to rescue his print.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Following the unprecedented controversy generated by The Satanic Verses , Rushdie offers as eloquent a defense of art as any Renaissance treatise. Supposedly begun as a bedtime story for Rushdie's son, Haroun concerns a supremely talented storyteller named Rashid whose wife is lured away by the same saturnine neighbor who poisons Rashid's son Haroun's thoughts. ``What's the use of stories that aren't even true?'' Haroun demands, parroting the neighbor and thus unintentionally paralyzing Rashid's imagination. The clocks freeze: time literally stops when the ability to narrate its passing is lost. Repentant, Haroun quests through a fantastic realm in order to restore his father's gift for storytelling. Saturated with the hyperreal color of such classic fantasies as the Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland , Rushdie's fabulous landscape operates by P2C2Es (Processes Too Complicated To Explain), features a court where all the attendant Pages are numbered, and unfurls a riotous display of verbal pranks (one defiant character chants ``You can chop suey, but / You can't chop me!''; elsewhere, from another character: `` `Gogogol,' he gurgled. `` `Kafkafka,' he coughed''). But although the pyrotechnics here are entertaining in and of themselves, the irresistible force of the novel rests in Rushdie's wholehearted embrace of the fable--its form as well as its significance. It's almost as if Rushdie has invented a new form, the meta-fable. Rather than retreating under the famous death threats, Rushdie reiterates the importance of literature, stressing not just the good of stories ``that aren't even true'' but persuading us that these stories convey the truth. As Haroun realizes, ``He knew what he knew: that the real world was full of magic, so magical worlds could easily be real.'' (Jan.)
Library Journal
Rashid Khalifa, a renowned storyteller, has lost his touch. Once an ``Ocean of Notions,'' he is now ``The Shah of Blahs.'' Haroun, Rashid's son, embarks on an epic quest to restore his father's creativity. One of the problems is environmental: the pollutants of modern civilization have clouded the once-clear streams of story. Another is conspiratorial: the Union of Tight Lips, minions of the evil Khattam-Shud, confound communication by switching on rows of ``darkbulbs.'' Rushdie's first book since the controversial Satanic Verses ( LJ 12/88) is more a postmodern fairy tale in the style of Angela Carter or John Barth than a traditional novel. The story is allegorical rather than realistic, the characters emblematic and two-dimensional. Poignant parallels between Rashid's predicament and Rushdie's own situation are what hold the reader's interest. An amusing but lightweight entertainment. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 9/15/90.-- Edward B. St. John, Loyola Law Sch . , Los Angeles
Alison Lurie
Though there is darkness and silence at the center of Chup, most of Haroun and the Sea of Stories is full of comic energy and lively verbal invention. . . .Though [the book] is sure to be enjoyed by children, it also contains amusements for adults. -- The New York Times
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140157376
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/28/1991
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 38,596
  • Age range: 15 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 940L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.23 (w) x 7.83 (h) x 0.61 (d)

Meet the Author

Salman Rushdie

Salman Rushdie is the author of eleven novels—Grimus, Midnight’s Children (for which he won the Booker Prize and the Best of the Booker), Shame, The Satanic Verses, Haroun and the Sea of Stories, The Moor’s Last Sigh, The Ground Beneath Her Feet, Fury, Shalimar the Clown, The Enchantress of Florence, and Luka and the Fire of Life—and one collection of short stories: East, West. He has also published three works of nonfiction: The Jaguar Smile, Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism 1981–1991, and Step Across This Line, coedited two anthologies, Mirrorwork and Best American Short Stories 2008, and published Joseph Anton: A Memoir. His numerous literary prizes include the Booker Prize for Midnight's Children and the Whitbread Prize for The Satanic Verses.

Jessica Hische is a letterer, illustrator, typographer, and web designer. She currently serves on the Type Directors Club board of directors, has been named a Forbes Magazine "30 under 30" in art and design as well as an ADC Young Gun and one of Print Magazine’s "New Visual Artists". She has designed for Wes Anderson, McSweeney's, Tiffany & Co, Penguin Books and many others. She resides primarily in San Francisco, occasionally in Brooklyn.

Biography

Born in Mumbai, India, and educated in the U.K., multi-award-winning novelist Salman Rushdie is considered one of the most important and influential writers of contemporary English-language fiction.

Rushdie freelanced for two London advertising firms before turning to a full-time writing career. He made his literary debut in 1975 with Grimus, a sci-fi fantasy that made a very small splash in publishing circles. However, he hit the jackpot with his second novel, Midnight's Children, an ambitious allegory that parallels the turbulent history of India before and after partition. Widely considered Rushdie's magnum opus, Midnight's Children was awarded the Booker Prize in 1981. (Twelve years later, a panel of judges named it the best overall novel to have won the Booker Prize since the award's inception in 1975; and in 2005, Time included it on a list of the 100 best English-language novels published since 1923.)

Undoubtedly, though, the book that put Rushdie squarely on the cultural radar screen was The Satanic Verses. Published in 1988 and partially inspired by the life of the prophet Muhammad, this erudite study of good and evil won the Whitbread Book Award, but achieved far more notoriety when Muslim fundamentalists condemned it for its blasphemous portrayal of Islam. The book was banned in many Muslim countries, a fatwa was issued by the Iranian Ayatollah, and a multimillion dollar bounty was placed on Rushdie's head. The novelist spent much of the 1990s in hiding, under the protection of the British government. (In 1998, Iran officially lifted the fatwa, but threats against Rushdie's life still reverberate throughout the Muslim world.)

Even without the controversy inspired by The Satanic Verses, Rushdie's literary fame would be assured. His novels comprise a unique body of work that draws from fantasy, mythology, religion, and magic realism, blending them all with staggering imagination and comic brilliance. He has created his own idiom, pushing the boundaries of language with dazzling wordplay and a widely admired "chutnification" of history. His books have won most major awards in Europe and the U.K. and have garnered praise from critics around the world. Britain's Financial Times called him "Our most exhilaratingly inventive prose stylist." Time magazine raved, "No novelist currently writing in English does so with more energy, intelligence and allusiveness than Rushdie." And the writer Christopher Hitchens lamented in the Progressive that were it not for the death threats against him, Rushdie would surely be a Nobel laureate by now.

In addition to his bestselling novels, Rushdie has also produced essays, criticism, and a book of children's fiction. In 2007, Rushdie was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. The citation reads: "Ahmed Salman Rushdie -- author, for services to literature."

Good To Know

Rushdie was short-listed for The Literary Review's Bad Sex Award in 1995 for The Moor's Last Sigh, which included such verses as "For ever they sweated pepper ‘n' spices sweat."

Rushdie participated in a two-day, U.S. State Department conference entitled "Why Do They Hate Us?" for 50 diplomats in the wake of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., on Sept. 11, 2001.

Rushdie's first novel was a literate sci-fi fantasy entitled Grimus. Although it made only a very small splash in publishing circles, the book was deemed outstanding enough to be selected by a panel of distinguished writers (including Brian Aldiss, Kingsley Amis, and Arthur C. Clarke) as the best science fiction novel of 1975. However, at the last minute, his publishers withdrew the book from consideration, fearing that, if he won, Rushdie would never be able to shake the label of "genre writer."

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    1. Also Known As:
      Ahmed Salman Rushdie
    2. Hometown:
      New York, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 19, 1947
    2. Place of Birth:
      Bombay, Maharashtra, India
    1. Education:
      M.A. in History, King's College, University of Cambridge

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 41 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(26)

4 Star

(10)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 42 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2006

    Bordem

    I hated this book. We had to read it for school and it was SO boring. All of the symbolism was extremely obvious. I would not reccomend this to anyone, who is looking for a quality read. Perhaps, children.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2013

    Amazing

    An amazing book!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2012

    A beautiful story filled with many undertones and play on words;

    A beautiful story filled with many undertones and play on words; it easily lends itself to whatever the reader's situation may be and can be pure entertainment or enlightenment.

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  • Posted December 17, 2009

    THE POSITIVE ROLE OF FICTION IN SOCIETY

    This is a story with a child as a central figure. It can be read as a children's story, but it is much more. I believe it is Salman Rushdie's defense of his earlier fiction, especially that condemned by Islamic fundamentalists. It does not say anything specific about any religion. Religions simply exist in the background, like the ground, people or ideas.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2007

    The Power of Stories!

    This story was full of figurative language and can take one beyond their own imagination! I definitely recommend this story to those who love fictional settings for their stories. Salman Rushdie does a fabulous job of incorporating his life in hiding (for speaking out against Islam), into Haroun's journey, and exemplifies the power of Freedom of Speech. There are many parallels of the real world in this incredible book. I loved it, except the ending was too short, otherwise superb.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2007

    Awesome book

    We read this book in my Literature of India and the Pacific class and I loved it! The fantasy aspects of the entire novel make it possible to be a children's book, but the underlying theme of censorship also makes it a novel for adults. An awesome book and I would recommend it to anyone! :)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2006

    awesome

    it was great...it was given to me by a friend and i thought it was great. salman rushdie writes really well.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2005

    fantabulous!

    My absolute favorite book so far is Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie. Haroun and the Sea of Stories may be characterized as a children¿s novel, but addresses struggles that readers of all ages can identify with. Rashid Khalifa, Haroun¿s father, is known throughout as a fabulous storyteller, but when his wife leaves Rashid and Haroun for a boring, predictable neighbor, Rashid loses his inspiration. Haroun embarks on a fantastic journey to clean up the polluted ¿streams of story.¿ Rushdie¿s verbiage is a bit confusing at first, but enhances the beauty of the story amazingly. I just can¿t say enough how great this book is. It¿s definitely a ¿five star¿ read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2005

    fantastic

    This book is a wonderful commentary on the role of art in our everyday lives and the importance of suspending our disbelief. Through the experiences of Haroun and his father Rashid we can catch a glimpse of what Rushdie himself experienced as a censored and hunted man after the publication of the Satanic verses. A great story for children, but like many other 'children's' novels, it is full of morals and implications that are important for adults as well. It reminds me somewhat of 'The Giver'--good to read as a child, but even better as an adult when one can understand the themes even more deeply.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2004

    A Great Tale...

    This is such a great book! At the being, it is a bit confusing and slightly frustrating, but as you move along, the P2C2E and everything else that the author's vast imagination created becomes beautiful. It is a sweet story, one that explores the depths of a human's perspective of thought, while being both humorous, and honest. It is a sweet story that you really should not miss out on!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2004

    Just great!

    Really fun with a modern moral. Great read for any and everyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2002

    Not a children's book!

    Although children would love it too. This book has many different levels an parallels to Rushdie's life, especially the censorship he experienced after publishing the "Satanic Verses." Very illuminating.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2002

    oh yeah

    good book. starts out confusing but gets better. Recommended indeed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2002

    Wonderful Read

    I read this book 7 + years ago as a high school Jr. and I still consider it one of my favorite books. Because this is a beautifull narrative of the challenges and achievements that life has to offer, I encourage any adult or child I encounter to read this story. You will remember this book and cherish the time you spent with these characters for years to come. Like all that have read this book, you will recommend.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2001

    The Fantastical World of Rushdie

    This was one of the most enthralling and inventive stories I have ever read. Rushdie sucks you into an enchanting world full of excitement. In many places it felt much like Roald Dahl met Dr. Seuss, creating a marvelous mix of morals and magic. I would recommend this book to anyone who can read, but especially as a book to be read aloud in a classroom. I loved this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2001

    One of the Best Childrens Stories!

    I am a future teacher and (hopeful) children's author. I recieved this book several years ago, and I read it regularly. It's imaginative and creative story plot carries the reader through a whole knew world. I recommend this book to any Harry Potter lover out there...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2000

    This is one of my most favorite books

    I don't know if I would classify this book as a children's book - I read it at the age of 27-28, and thoroughly enjoyed every word of it. This is one of the best books I have ever read. Highly recommend it for both children and their parents.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2000

    A timeless story for children young and old

    One of the greatest books of our time. Salman is a gifted weaver of the the English language, in a league with Mark Twain. Get this book(at a book store it may be tucked in the adult fiction section with Salman Rushdie's other titles), share it with your children, anyone's children or covet it for yourself. Salman Rushdie writes a modern day (in the spirit of Gulliver's Travels or Alice in Wonderland) satire of the current state of society. Written while in exile, with a price on his head, Salman Rushdie explains the world in a loving way to his children. Government, culture, good and evil are given a new twist that will leave you appreciatively smiling. This is a timeless story you will never tire of. The audio book version is read by the author himself and it is one of my favorite treasures.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2000

    An amazing book on tape for all ages to enjoy!

    This is simply one of the best books of our time. Salman is a gifted weaver of the the English language, in a league with Mark Twain. Get this book(at a book store it may be tucked in the adult fiction section with Salman Rushdie's other titles), share it with your children, anyone's children or covet it for yourself. Salman Rushdie writes a modern day (in the spirit of Gulliver's Travels or Alice in Wonderland) satire of the current state of society. Written while in exile, with a price on his head, Mr. Rushdie lovingly explains the world to his children. Government, religion, culture and evil are all given a new twist that will leave you with an appreciative smile. This is a timeless story with wonderful characters you will never tire of. Unforgettable!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 1999

    Haroun and the Sea of Stories

    This was the best book I've ever read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 42 Customer Reviews

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