Sunday, December 27, 2009

Haroun Sequel in 2010

Speaking of books and pages, an inside reference comprehensible to those who have read Salman Rushdie’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories, I am thrilled to hear that there is going to be a sequel! I don’t care what a boatload of learned critics might say, I happen to think that Haroun is Sir S’s best book bar none. I also believe that’s because writing for young readers allows no room for self-indulgent cleverness. The story carries its own force and you have to attend to that force and give it its due. As Rushdie said in an interview with James Fenton back when Haroun came out, "If the engine of the book is that the world goes wrong when the mother leaves, the only happy ending that means anything at all is that the thing that was unmade is remade. The thing that was broken is mended. Healing—you know—healing is the only happy ending."

I was annoyed when Haroun was marketed in the US largely as an adult novel or at least not as one intended particularly for young readers. Rushdie made some snarky remarks about the children’s publishing industry in response, I wish I could remember where. The gripe had to do with categories and age groups in children's publishing, and sort of missed the point. In contrast, the present crossover designation of Luka and the Fire of Life sounds promising.

2 comments:

  1. Yes!! It's my favorite Rushdie book as well. I read it aloud to my middle school class (urban kids), and they were mesmerized. I'm so excited, too :) I read or heard in some interview that he wrote the book for his son, and his younger child wanted a book, too, hence the sequel. That could also be part of the heart of the book... his intended audience.

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  2. I wondered about that as well, Anindita, although sometimes that awareness of audience can kill a story. Not in this case.

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