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Heroin's father is the greatest of all storytellers. His magical stories bring laughter to the sad city of Alifbay. But one day something goes wrong and his father runs out of stories to tell. Haroun is determined to return the storyteller's gift to his father. So he flies off on the back of the Hoopie bird to the Sea of Stories - and a fantastic adventure begins.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780140140354
ISBN-10: 0140140352
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 129mm x 14mm)
Pages: 224
Imprint: Penguin Books / Granta
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Publish Date: 29-Aug-1991
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


UK Kirkus Review » A professional storyteller, the Shah of Blah, loses his gift of the gab and his son sets out to restore it to him. This is a delightful fairy tale that both comments on the writer's extraordinary circumstances and provides a child's insight into the nature of art. (Kirkus UK)

US Kirkus Review » Memorable bedtime story targeted for an audience as large as a bull's-eye on the side of a barn. The book is catalogued for January but will be shipped to bookstores in early November for Thanksgiving sales. Few readers will not find some tie between this story of a silenced father-storyteller and Rushdie's death sentence from the Ayatollah Khomeini - but it's a tie not stressed by the author. Perhaps the brightest aspect of the book is its bubbling good humor and witty dialogue, and then its often superb writing: "There was once, in the country of Alifbay, a sad city, the saddest of cities, a city so ruinously sad that it had forgotten its name. It stood by a mournful sea full of glumfish, which were so miserable to eat that they made people belch with melancholy even though the skies were blue." (Alifbay, the glossary here tells us, comes from the Hindustani word for "alphabet.") The story: In the town of K, the Shah of Blah, Rashid Khalifa, a renowned storyteller and the father of Haroun, is deserted by his wife exactly at 11:00 a.m. and loses his power to tell stories. Haroun too loses the power to concentrate longer than 11 minutes. What's more, he insults his father's stories, calling them untrue, but then feels deep guilt for adding to his father's despair. In a P2C2E (a Process Too Complicated To Explain), it seems that most of Rashid's problems are part of the Great Story Sea becoming polluted and the Supplier of Story Water shutting down Rashid's supply. As a Water Genie explains to Haroun: "The gentleman no longer requires the service; has discontinued narrative activities, thrown in the towel, packed it in. He has cancelled his subscription: Hence my presence, for purposes of Disconnection." Which is the typical tumbling Rushdie jumpcat spoken by all and by Miss Blabbermouth, otherwise known as the Princess Batcheat Chattergy (batcheat= "baat-cheet" or chitchat), held prisoner in the Citadel of Chup, a castle built entirely of black ice. Parted from Rashid, Haroun on his own fights Khattum-Shud, who shuts down stories, and purifies the story waters in the Ocean of the Stream of Stories. A strong winner, though the storyline fades in and out of the prose - a fault that may pass unnoticed if the book's not read in one sitting. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Salman Rushdie

Sir Salman Rushdie is the author of many novels including Grimus, Midnight's Children, Shame, The Satanic Verses, The Moor's Last Sigh, The Ground Beneath Her Feet, Fury and Shalimar the Clown. He has also published works of non-fiction including The Jaguar Smile, Imaginary Homelands, The Wizard of Oz and, as co-editor, The Vintage Book of Short Stories.

Books By Author Salman Rushdie

Home by Salman Rushdie


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Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights

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DOS AAOS, Ocho Meses y Veintiocho Noches

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King of the World by Salman Rushdie

King of the World

Paperback, October 2015