Using a format that combines video game-like progress with mythology and pop-culture references, Rushdie weaves together a wonderfully rich and most enjoyable story about a young boy who goes on a quest to save his father. While the 12-year-old Luka encounters many obstacles as he struggles to complete the journey, he receives assistance from both the denizens of the magic world and his real-world companions, a bear named Dog and a dog named Bear. Narrator Lyndam Gregory, who previously read Rushdie's Midnight's Children for Recorded Books, brings an excellent storytelling voice to this audio that allows listeners to imagine that they, too, are hearing a favorite childhood adventure story. For juvenile and/or YA collections. [See Prepub Exploded, BookSmack! 5/6/10; the Vintage pb will publish in June 2011.—Ed.]—J. Sara Paulk, Wythe-Grayson Reg. Lib., Independence, VA
"Playful" could be Salman Rushdie's middle name, he's been called it so often. But in his second book for kids of all ages, he takes his fondness for play up a few levels with a quest fable that mimics a video game, complete with special effects. It's nonstop fun. It's about big things: love, imagination, death, life. And like many a video game, it's a tad frenetic.
The Washington Post
Rushdie has made some Super Mario-like tweaks to the magical realm he invented in Haroun…But while the setting feels like something out of Nintendo, the characters come either from Rushdie's lively interpretations of mythology or his jovial, limber imagination…his exuberant wordplay is evident on every page, and the book closes with an entertaining defense of storytelling, even in video game form. But as Luka's mother cautions, "in the real world there are no levels, only difficulties," and the book offers many reminders that those difficulties will be hard to shake, no matter how digitized our unmagical world becomes.
The New York Times
Rushdie unleashes his imagination on an alternate world informed by the surreal logic of video games, but the author's entertaining wordplay and lighter-than-air fantasies don't amount to more than a clever pastiche. A sequel of sorts to Haroun and the Sea of Stories, this outing finds Haroun's younger brother, Luka, on a mission to save his father, guided, ironically, by Nobodaddy, a holograph-like copy of his father intent on claiming the old man's life. Along the way, they're joined by a collection of creatures, including a dog named Bear, a bear named Dog, hybrid bird-elephant beasts, and a princess with a flying carpet. As with video games, Luka stores up extra lives, proceeds to the next level after beating big baddies, and uses his wits to overcome bottomless chasms and trash-dropping otters. Rushdie makes good use of Nobodaddy, and his world occasionally brims with allegory (the colony of rats called the "Respectorate of I" brings the Tea Party to mind), but this is essentially a fun tale for younger readers, not the novel Rushdie's adult fans have been waiting for. (Nov.)
“A magical fable . . . nonstop fun.”—The Washington Post
“A fantastic adventure tale.”—New York Post
“Riddles, puns and other wordplay enliven the writing. . . . The charm and cleverness of this buoyant fantasy will draw you into its Magical World.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Smart and entertaining . . . should please children and adults alike.”—The Miami Herald
“[Rushdie’s] exuberant wordplay is evident on every page.”—The New York Times Book Review
NAMED ONE OF THE 10 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE HUFFINGTON POST
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
Maggie Galehouse, NPR • The Kansas City Star
Rushdie's 11th novel is a sequel to his charming 1990 fableHaroun and the Sea of Stories, written—as was its predecessor—for one of its author's two sons.
Visions of Kipling and J.M. Barrie may swim through readers' heads as we meet 12-year-old Luka Khalifa, the child of his parents' middle age (andyounger sibling to the previously eponymous Haroun), and an eager listener to lavish tales of the Magical World dreamed into being by his father Rashid, a celebrated storyteller aka "the Shah of Blah." When Rashid falls into a mysterious prolonged sleep (and hence a silence that raises memories of Rushdie's own "silenced" life as a writer following thefatwaissued by Ayatollah Khomeini), everything Luka has ever learned tells him he must brave the dangers of the Magical World, steal the revivifying Fire of Life from the Mountain of Knowledge and restore his beloved dad to consciousness. Guarded by animal companions (Bear the Dog, and Dog the Bear) and bedeviled by a "phantom Rashid" (aka "Nobodaddy"), the young Prometheus undertakes his heroic deed. He wins a riddling contest against the cantankerous Old Man of the River, encounters vicious Border Rats and compassionate Otters and assorted celebrities (including Mark Twain's Connecticut Yankee and The Terminator), en route to confronting the petty, egomaniacal gods of antiquity. Adult readers will rightfully delight in Rushdie's brilliant wordplay throughout, but younger ones may yearn for less cleverness and more narrative. Fortunately, the story gathers whiz-bang velocity once Luka has heatedly persuaded the sulky gods and monsters that "it's only through Stories that you can get out into the Real World and have some sort of power again." Everything races briskly toward the satisfactory completion of Luka's quest, and a quite perfect final scene.
A celebration of storytelling, a possible prequel to the book Rushdie is said to be writing about his own enforced "slumber," and a colorful, kick-up-your-heels delight.