Luka and the Fire of Life

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9780099421894: Luka and the Fire of Life

IMAGINE you are Luka, a twelve-year-old boy who has to save the life of the storyteller father you adore. IMAGINE you have two loyal companions by your side: a bear called Dog who can sing and a dog called Bear who can dance. IMAGINE you must now embark on a journey through the Magic World to steal the Fire of Life, a seemingly impossible and exceedingly dangerous task... With Haroun and the Sea of Stories Salman Rushdie proved that he is one of the best contemporary writers of fables, and it proved to be one of his most popular books with readers of all ages. While Haroun was written as a gift for his first son, Luka and the Fire of Life, the story of Haroun's younger brother, is a gift for his second son on his twelfth birthday. Lyrical, rich with word-play, and with the narrative tension of the classic quest stories, this is Salman Rushdie at his very best.

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Review:

Salman Rushdie on Luka and the Fire of Life

There’s a line in Paul Simon’s song St. Judy’s Comet, a sort of lullaby, about his reason for writing it. "If I can’t sing my boy to sleep," he sings, "it makes your famous daddy look so dumb." More than twenty years ago, when my older son Zafar said to me that I should write a book he could read, I thought about that line. Haroun and the Sea of Stories, written in 1989-90, a dark time for me, was the result. I tried to fill it with light and even to give it a happy ending. Happy endings were things I had become very interested in at the time.

When my younger son Milan read Haroun he immediately began to insist that he, too, merited a book. Luka and the Fire of Life is born of that insistence. It is not exactly a sequel to the earlier book, but it is a companion. The same family is at the heart of both books, and in both books a son must rescue a father. Beyond those similarities, however, the two books inhabit very different imaginative milieux.

Haroun and the Sea of Stories was born at a time of crisis in its author’s life and the fictional Haroun’s quest to rescue his father’s lost storytelling skills in a world in which stories themselves are being poisoned was a fable that responded to that crisis.

Luka and the Fire of Life is a response to a different, but equally great, danger: that an older father may not live to see his son grow up. In the earlier book, it was storytelling that was being threatened; in the new one, it is the storyteller who is at risk. Once again, the book grows out of the reality of my own life, and my relationship with a very particular child. Luka is my son Milan’s middle name, just as Haroun is Zafar’s.

As well as the central theme of life and death, Luka explores in, I hope, suitably fabulous and antic fashion, things I have thought about all my life: the relationships between the world of imagination and the "real" world, between authoritarianism and liberty, between what is true and what is phony, and between ourselves and the gods that we create. Younger readers do not need to dwell on these matters. Older readers may, however, find them satisfying.

It has been my aim, in Luka as in Haroun, to write a story that demolishes the boundary between "adult" and "children’s" literature. One way I have thought about Luka and Haroun is that each of them is a message in a bottle. A child may read these books and, I hope, derive from them the pleasures and satisfactions that children seek from books. The same child may read them again when he or she is grown, and see a different book, with adult satisfactions instead of (or as well as) the earlier ones.

I don’t want to end without thanking the boys for whom these books were written and who helped me in their creation with a number of invaluable editorial suggestions. Luka and the Fire of Life has been the most enjoyable writing experience I’ve had since I wrote Haroun and the Sea of Stories. I hope it may prove as enjoyable to read as it was to write.

(Photo © Alberto Conti)

About the Author:

Sir Salman Rushdie has received many awards for his writing, including the European Union's Aristeion Prize for Literature. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres. In 1993 Midnight's Children was judged to be the `Booker of Bookers', the best novel to have won the Booker Prize in its first 25 years. In June 2007 he received a knighthood in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

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Book Description Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom, 2011. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. IMAGINE you are Luka, a twelve-year-old boy who has to save the life of the storyteller father you adore. IMAGINE you have two loyal companions by your side: a bear called Dog who can sing and a dog called Bear who can dance. IMAGINE you must now embark on a journey through the Magic World to steal the Fire of Life, a seemingly impossible and exceedingly dangerous task. With Haroun and the Sea of Stories Salman Rushdie proved that he is one of the best contemporary writers of fables, and it proved to be one of his most popular books with readers of all ages. While Haroun was written as a gift for his first son, Luka and the Fire of Life, the story of Haroun s younger brother, is a gift for his second son on his twelfth birthday. Lyrical, rich with word-play, and with the narrative tension of the classic quest stories, this is Salman Rushdie at his very best. Bookseller Inventory # AB99780099421894

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Book Description Vintage, 2011. Book Condition: New. 2011. Paperback. On a beautiful starry night in the city of Kahani in the land of Alifbay a terrible thing happened: twelve-year-old Luka's storyteller father, Rashid, fell suddenly and inexplicably into a sleep so deep that nothing and no one could rouse him. To save him from slipping away entirely, Luka must embark on a journey through the Magic World. Num Pages: 224 pages. BIC Classification: FA. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 197 x 130 x 15. Weight in Grams: 168. . . . . . . Bookseller Inventory # V9780099421894

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Book Description Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom, 2011. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. IMAGINE you are Luka, a twelve-year-old boy who has to save the life of the storyteller father you adore. IMAGINE you have two loyal companions by your side: a bear called Dog who can sing and a dog called Bear who can dance. IMAGINE you must now embark on a journey through the Magic World to steal the Fire of Life, a seemingly impossible and exceedingly dangerous task. With Haroun and the Sea of Stories Salman Rushdie proved that he is one of the best contemporary writers of fables, and it proved to be one of his most popular books with readers of all ages. While Haroun was written as a gift for his first son, Luka and the Fire of Life, the story of Haroun s younger brother, is a gift for his second son on his twelfth birthday. Lyrical, rich with word-play, and with the narrative tension of the classic quest stories, this is Salman Rushdie at his very best. Bookseller Inventory # AB99780099421894

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Book Description Vintage. Book Condition: New. 2011. Paperback. On a beautiful starry night in the city of Kahani in the land of Alifbay a terrible thing happened: twelve-year-old Luka's storyteller father, Rashid, fell suddenly and inexplicably into a sleep so deep that nothing and no one could rouse him. To save him from slipping away entirely, Luka must embark on a journey through the Magic World. Num Pages: 224 pages. BIC Classification: FA. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 197 x 130 x 15. Weight in Grams: 168. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780099421894

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