About the Author:
Sir Salman Rushdie has won numerous awards for his writing including the Aristeion Prize for Literature and had one of his books named the best novel to win the Booker Prize in its first 25 years. He received a knighthood in June 2007.
AVERAGE REVIEW SCORE:
3 out of 5
Two Years Eight Months And Twenty-Eight Nights
Inspired by Eastern mythology, the titular timeframe is 1001 Nights, this book tells of how a jinn (fairy) princess falls in love with Twelfth Century philosopher Ibn Rushd and bears him numerous children. Centuries later an unprecedented storm reopens the pathways between Earth and Fairyland, simultaneously awakening the magical heritage of Rushd's descendants and allowing dark and vengeful jinn to attack humanity.
Rushdie tells the tale in retrospect, looking back on the magical events of the present day from a time a thousand years hence. This serves two purposes, the first of which is to give the story a mythic quality wherein the historical facts are loose and up for debate. The second purpose is that it allows Rushdie to satirically look back on our own time with the confused bafflement of someone from a distant time.
I tried reading reviews of this book before reading the book itself in an attempt to understand what sort of book it was I was considering reading, but no one seemed to be able to pin down what it is. The book is, variously, a satire of our modern world, a scathing critique of religion, an exploration of philosophy and theology, an homage to Eastern mythology and a modern day fairytale.
Unfortunately, like that last sentence, the book has a tendency to ramble, drifting from one tangential subject to another in the middle of the narrative. This meant that, for me at least, the book wasn't an easy and flowing reading experience. I definitely would not describe it as a riveting page-turner.
That's not to say that I didn't think it was worth reading, of course; it was a fascinating exploration of all those things mentioned above. For me, however, the narrative of the magical jinn returning to Earth after centuries was what drew me in in the first place and it wasn't delivered with quite the finesse that I'd hoped for (look to Neil Gaiman for that, I suppose).
3 out of 5