Rambling about books

Book review: Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights, by Salman Rushdie

In the near future, after a storm strikes New York City, the strangenesses begin. A down-to-earth gardener finds that his feet no longer touch the ground. A graphic novelist awakens in his bedroom to a mysterious entity that resembles his own sub-Stan Lee creation. Abandoned at the mayor’s office, a baby identifies corruption with her mere presence, marking the guilty with blemishes and boils. A seductive gold digger is soon tapped to combat forces beyond imagining.

Unbeknownst to them, they are all descended from the whimsical, capricious, wanton creatures known as the jinn. Centuries ago, Dunia, a princess of the jinn, fell in love with a mortal man of reason. Together they produced an astonishing number of children, unaware of their fantastical powers, who spread across generations in the human world.

Once the line between worlds is breached on a grand scale, Dunia’s children and others will play a role in an epic war between light and dark spanning a thousand and one nights – or two years, eight months, and twenty-eight nights. It is a time of enormous upheaval, in which beliefs are challenged, words act like poison, silence is a disease, and a noise may contain a hidden curse. Goodreads.

Book cover from Goodreads

Everything is relative, one man’s absolute belief is another man’s fairy tale.

Honestly, a book by Salman Rushdie would not be a book I would choose on any given day; not for religious reasons being that publication of The Satanic Verses causes controversies and whatnot, but simply because that I am sure, without a reason for doubt, that I would never understand it, it seems that the stories would be too complex for my delicate brain.

That was until I saw this book in the bookstore, I love the striking light blue and the interesting title. To my untrained brain, I thought this was another interpretation of a 1001 nights story, so I thought this might be an interesting start into the works of Salman Rushdie. Apparently, although this was not strictly an interpretation of 1001 nights story, it somehow revolves around the world of Jinni and Jinnia.

I think this is a story of many things, at first I thought this was going to be a story poking questions on the endless fight between reasons and faith. And this is where things got a bit tricky for me, whilst I’m not necessarily a religious person, I also don’t entirely rebuke the existence of God or of a higher being, and I really am not looking to be reading a book where it argues about reason or faith, which trumps the other. Thankfully the story progresses into a more interesting layer. It still talks about religion, but it’s interesting because it is very relevance to today’s situation, and what’s eerie is Ghazali’s thoughts on fear directs people towards God, and look around, mate. Look. Around. The world is in shambles because people hides behind religion and fear, fear of God’s wrath.

The story is amazing, because this is about faith, reason, God, religion, fear, power, and love. It’s also amazing because it is very relevance, it will ignite fear in abled mind to think for yourself that if we are not careful, our world will succumb to the destruction that are caused by Zumurrudh and his cronies. It’s easier for the chaos that ensued in the book because we all know we have a group of Jinni to blame, but what of our world? For all I know, our destructions are the fruits of our own mistakes.

I don’t know what to make of the characters. Whilst the story was very interesting and it stays for a long time with me (at least until I read another book afterwards), the characters were alright. Not one character mesmerise me in anyway. Not one character lingers with me, not Dunia (although she was quite impressive), not Mr Geronimo (especially not him), not even Zumurrudh and his cronies. I did found myself hating on Ghazali throughout the book; there was something about how dismissive his character was that disturb me, it reminded me about the so-called religious fella back home who preach about God’s wrath. In a way, Ghazali as a character is the most believable to me, for there are many Ghazali’s out there, and for fear of backlash and going into politics, I am going to refrain myself from naming them.

Despite the struggle in understanding and grasping the story in the beginning of the book, I find myself quite enjoying how the story progresses and most definitely the main theme and the discussion that follows, so it’s definitely a yes from me.

Title: Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights

Author: Salman Rushdie

Genre: Contemporary, Fantasy, Fiction, Literary fiction, Magical realism


Goodreads link

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