Salman Rushdie: Haroun and the Sea of Stories

(c) 1990; New York: Viking and Granta; ISBN: 0670838047

This is Rushdie’s gentlest book, a fairy-story that continues the tradition of Orwell’s “Animal Farm”. The book is about the land where stories are made, Rashid who is “the Shah of Blah, with oceans of notions and the Gift of the Gab” and his son Haroun. When Rashid loses his gift, his son embarks on an quest to recover it. Interspersed in this delightful tale are some poignant moments dealing with freedom of speech and expression.

The book can be read as a commentary on “The thousand and one Arabian nights”, placing it as a triumph of the imagination over draconian authority, and the appeal of the tale to even the meanest among us. Yet, it is also a sobering story, the imagination does run out in the face of unrelenting pressure from the unimaginative despot.

From the back cover of the penguin edition of Haroun and the Sea of Stories:
Haroun and the Sea of Stories is an adventure novel, the story of a father and son, of Rashid and Haroun, and of Haroun’s determination to rescue his father and return to him his special gift. It has a mad bus driver named Butt and a water genie named Iff. It has a floating gardener and a pair of fishes with mouths all over their bodies. It has the wonderful city of Gup (where it is always light) and the terrible land of Chup (where it is always dark).
And, perhaps most important, it has P2C2E.
Processes Too Complicated To Explain.

Salman Rushdie was awarded a Writer’s Guild award for Haroun and the Sea of Stories.