This book is called, ‘HAROUN AND THE SEA OF STORIES’, written by Salman Rushdie. It is about a little boy and his father. They are called Rashid (the father) and Haroun (the son). Rashid is a great storyteller. Haroun’s mother, Soraya, runs away with their unimaginative neighbour, Mr. Sengupta. Haroun and Rashid are very dejected. Meanwhile, Rashid’s creativity and story writing ability vanishes when Haroun asks a question that Mr. Sengupta used to ask Soraya, “What’s the point of stories that aren’t even true?”. After his mum left, he starts to believe in the dangerous question too. However, Haroun immediately regrets this when he sees how it affects his father and tries to restore his father’s creativity. That night, Haroun hears a sound in his bathroom and ventures off to the Land of Gup (gossip) assisted by a water genie named Iff and a mechanical bird named Butt. He goes there in search of The Leader, The Walrus, because he has been told by Iff that The Walrus may be able to help restore his father’s loss of imagination. Apart from the lack of confidence his family is showing in him, Rashid feels cut off from his supply of Story Water as the evil Khattam-shud (the end of a book in Hindi) who ruled over the Land Of Chup (silence in Hindi) had been polluting it. In his desire to rule the world, Khattam-shud had polluted the Sea of Stories as he himself had no imagination and couldn’t control it. Haroun, Iff and Butt figure out that Khattam-shud’s shadow is plotting how to destroy the Sea of Stories once and for all. They learn that Khattam-shud can be killed by melting his shadow. So Haroun and his friends fly over to his land and use light to melt his shadow and destroy him. They all rejoice in the Land Of Chup and all is well. Haroun and Rashid are then granted a wish and they wish their city is happy again. It is happy indeed, when they return, as Soraya is back home again. More importantly, Rashid restores his creativity.
What I like about this book:
- A story is like a movie in a reader’s mind. This story was so gripping that I couldn’t stop reading it. I devoured the book and took it to the kitchen, and to other places in the house until such time that I finished the book. I hope you will feel the same when and if you read this amazing book.
- Salman Rushdie uses puns in this book. Each character’s name may seem like a normal name to readers who don’t know the Hindustani language but when actually learnt, it opens up another door in their brains as to what he meant and why. For example, Khattam-shud means ‘The End’ when we read books written in English. Once, you know this, you can relate to the connection between Khattam-shud and the land of Chup (silence)
- The Walrus or The Leader of the Eggheads, brings references to 2 things. One, is the highly popular book, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. If comparing The Walrus and The Blue Caterpillar, what is the difference other than in their species? They are both leaders and somebody that the land looks up to for help. And two, there is a song by the Beatles (a very good and popular band) called, ‘I Am The Walrus’ in their Magical Mystery Tour album.
- At the time when Salman Rushdie wrote this book, he was in hiding from a death threat. He had been a target after an incident and this book is all about having the right to talk freely and this message develops in the Land of Gup. Salman Rushdie feels that he has the right to produce whatever thoughts he believes in and is confident about. This is the beauty of free speech. However, there is a time when free speech can get harmful and the beauty of silence shines through. Free speech may hurt other people very deeply. Although, Silence has its own beauty, Salman Rushdie encourages free speech over silence for creativity to prevail.
- I think even though the story finishes, I want to add a little bit of an epilogue to it. Just five lines maybe. Here goes:
Haroun walked down in his new clothes and hugged his father and mother.
“Thank you for my great presents.”
As he opened the purple wrapped present with silver ribbon on it, it burst open itself and Iff the water genie popped out and said, “Happy Birthday my friend Haroun. Have you seen Butt anywhere? We need to be on our way!”
Haroun knew exactly what this meant: another adventure.
‘But, but, but..,’ ends Butt without moving its beak. ‘A story never ends!’
I WOULD RATE THIS BOOK 10 OUT OF 10!
FIND OUT WHAT I MEAN BY READING HAROUN AND THE SEA OF STORIES!
You can buy it HERE on Amazon for $10.43!
You can buy it HERE on Guardian Bookshop for £22.00!