Monday, September 7, 2015

Book Review | Two Years, Eight Months, and Twenty-Eight Nights by Salman Rushdie

   Two Years, Eight Months, and Twenty-Eight Nights by Salman Rushdie
September 8, 2015
Random House
From one of the greatest writers of our time: the most spellbinding, entertaining, wildly imaginative novel of his great career, which blends history and myth with tremendous philosophical depth. A masterful, mesmerizing modern tale about worlds dangerously colliding, the monsters that are unleashed when reason recedes, and a beautiful testament to the power of love and humanity in chaotic times. 

Inspired by 2,000 years of storytelling yet rooted in the concerns of our present moment, this is a spectacular achievement--enchanting, both very funny and terrifying. It is narrated by our descendants 1000 years hence, looking back on "The War of the Worlds" that began with "the time of the strangenesses": a simple gardener begins to levitate; a baby is born with the unnerving ability to detect corruption in people; the ghosts of two long-dead philosophers begin arguing once more; and storms pummel New York so hard that a crack appears in the universe, letting in the destructive djinns of myth (as well as some graphic superheroes). Nothing less than the survival of our world is at stake. Only one, a djinn princess who centuries before had learned to love humankind, resolves to help us: in the face of dynastic intrigue, she raises an army composed of her semi-magical great-great--etc.--grandchildren--a motley crew of endearing characters who come together to save the world in a battle waged for 1,001 nights--or, to be precise, two years, eight months and twenty-eight nights. ~ Goodreads

I told a friend that Rushdie is an acquired taste. Sometimes, acquiring that taste may take time. And yes, the key to reading Rushdie is taking your time. He allows his reader to sit and read all through his meanderings, his plots, and twists. Digestion of his work comes between those moments of impatience and deviations. So when asked if I was a fan, I answered that I can't say I am on the whole, but his satirical sense of humor is something worthy of praise and deep thought.

Salman Rushdie gives us a rundown of the book's content. A thousand years from the future, our narrator relays to the present reader of an event that will turn the whole world into chaos, as the magical world of the jinn leaks into ours through the cracks. And for 1,001 nights our world will host the war between the most powerful of the jinn in history.

Using two philosophical characters, Ibn Rushd and Al-Ghazali, Rushdie employed the core argument that only great fear will shift sinful men towards God.  Through Zamurrud Shah, a powerful jinni, Al-Ghazali was given a chance to prove this point by unleashing terror upon the mortals. The claim and weakness of this argument is the subject that will worm in detail throughout the story.

I recommend Rushdie’s creativity and wit. He is a man of allegory, and obscure ideas are mostly integrated into his stories. Various philosophical and theological disputations are woven through this whimsical story. Playfully, at most, questions of morality, frailty, and integrity are addressed and given a substantial amount to ponder. The use of distinct characters is very clever, their personality, point of view, and development gives great insight into human understanding.

What’s curious about this story is that the reader could only appreciate the philosophical and theological arguments if he absorbs the absurdity of the fantastical/whimsical side of the story.  Argue that point with me. Go, get a copy today!

Book details:
Author:  Salman Rushdie
Publication:  September 8, 2015; Random House
Genre: Fantasy, Magical Realism
Rating: ★★★★

*Thank you Random House for lending me a copy in exchange for this unbiased review.


  1. I recognize Rushdie's greatness but I'm still wincing from my first (and last) novel of his that I read. This one looks fun though.

  2. Rushdie is indeed an acquired taste. My one and only Rushdie read was so dense, I don't think I have fully recovered (or ever will) from it. But this one seems a little less taxing (sort of). :)

    1. Hi, Tin. This one isn't as thick as his previous books, but his love for digression still shows
      Now, I have two words to describe this book, fantastical and fanatical! :)