Saturday, August 15, 2015

Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-eight Nights, by Salman Rushdie

Once again, I've left it too long between the reading of a book and the writing of my thoughts. Blame it on summer days, or 1,001 other reasons.

Rushdie's novel is set in a New York City of some time in the future. (How far in the future becomes rather uncertain, as at points in the novel, our time period is referred to as if we are ancestors, but the world seems relatively unchanged in the interim-- could be 200 years, could be next week.) Strange things are happening: a gardener finds his feet no longer touch the ground; an abandoned baby can identify the corrupt, which is problematic as she was left at the mayor's office and adopted by the mayor. A child falls on the railroad track and the rails melt like ice cream, so she is able to be rescued. An artist's work becomes real. There's a weird firestorm, and the world seems to be coming unhinged.

It all stems, according to Mr Rushdie, from the union centuries ago, of Dunia, a Jinn princess and a human. She slipped between the cracks of reality from her world to ours, fell in love, and produced scads of children with her mortal husband, the descendants of whom scattered around the world and are at the center of this firestorm battle of dark and light.

Though the book seems to be billed as magical realism, I think there's a heavy element of fantasy (after all, there are Jinn) and even urban fantasy (Jinn and their offspring living in NYC) as well. The story was periodically captivating, and alternatively less so, but ultimately worth the read for me. The backstory of the two lovers, and the world Rushdie created for the Jinn was fun. And I really liked the character of Mr Geronimo, the gardener. I also found new words to use for furious and frequent copulation (which apparently is a big part of Jinn existence), that maybe, some day, I can slip into a sentence. But it may be two years, eight months and twenty-eight nights (add it up, folks, and you'll find the link to Scheherazade and the story-telling in the book) to do so.

Many thanks to Library-Thing and the Publishers for sending this book my way.

Tags: advanced-reader-copyearly-review-librarythingan-author-i-readmade-me-look-something-upmagical-realismfantasyread-in-2015taught-me-somethingurban-fantasyvampires-ghosts-and-other-creatures 

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