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Luka and the Fire of Life: A Novel by Salman…
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Luka and the Fire of Life: A Novel (edition 2010)

by Salman Rushdie

Series: Haroun (2)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6072116,073 (3.68)34
Member:CGlanovsky
Title:Luka and the Fire of Life: A Novel
Authors:Salman Rushdie
Info:Random House (2010), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 240 pages
Collections:Read & Owned, MH Recs, Your library (inactive)
Rating:***
Tags:India, Anglophone, Germanic Language, Asia, Fantasy, Children's Lit., 21st Century

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Luka and the Fire of Life by Salman Rushdie

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  1. 40
    Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie (weeksj10)
  2. 21
    Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (weeksj10)
    weeksj10: Rushdie's books focused around the Khalifa family are like a modern day Alice in Wonderland with a spicy bight from its Indian setting. The wordplay, characters, and plot all mirror those of Alice and like Carroll's book Rushdie's can and will be enjoyed by magic lovers of all ages.… (more)
  3. 00
    The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster (wandering_star)
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» See also 34 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
Haroun and the Sea of Stories was my very first Rushdie book, and I have come to fall in love with his work. Haroun is very different from his other novels though, and Luka continues in the same vein as Haroun. I think nobody expected Luka to be as great as Haroun, so the end result is a very entertaining wordplay-filled book for children. What I liked most about the novel is all the mythological gods that Rushdie managed to cram in, it's great when the world is reminded of old stories. That being said, I much much more strongly recommend Haroun and the Sea of Stories. ( )
  fitakyre | Mar 13, 2014 |
Not as good as 'Haroun and the Sea of Stories' but still a wonderful book! The video game theme all throughout is delightful! ( )
  briealeida | Feb 6, 2014 |
Nov 22, 2010 I saw Salman Rushdie read Luka and the Fire of Life at the 92 Street Y. The reading told me that Luka's story is told in the smart and funny way Haroun's was told. Perhaps, again, a bit too wordy at times, and perhaps a bit too smart at times, but certainly a good, thought-provoking yet smart and fun read. The interview was hilarious. Rushdie commented on the video-game nature of the parallel magical world. He said he got dangerously good at Super Mario back in the day and rescued the princess in the end, even. He joked that he should certainly add that in his CV, between the Booker Prize and having won a fatwa for his head. He also joked about a certain best-selling author; apparently he imagines her to be swimming in a large pool of money a la Uncle Scrooge. At the signing, I asked him which of his books are his favorites. He told me, "You know, probably these two." I was getting my copy of Haroun and the Sea of Stories signed.

Nov 28, 2011 Well, it's been a year and I finally read Luka. As expected from the reading a year ago, the book is too wordy and too smart at times, perhaps even more than Haroun (though not as bad as The Enchantress of Florence.) However, the parallel world is exquisite. The side characters are hilarious and interesting. The storyline is classic, as it is meant to be, where Rushdie employs all the conventions of storytelling expertly. There are times where the plot is a bit crazy, but Rushdie is too smart to let the reader down. It is interesting that in the book the two brothers lead a relatively happy life with their father and mother, whereas in real life Rushdie has been married four times and the sons are from different mothers (with a greater age difference.) He had mentioned that he wrote the book partly because he was nervous about being a father at such an old age and knowing that he may very well die in his son's early life. It is particularly interesting how Rushdie deals with this issue in the book from the point of view of Luka. It is also interesting that in Haroun, the mother is completely absent whereas in Luka, she is present and essential throughout the book. All in all, Luke and the Fire of Life was a fun read and a good story. ( )
  bluepigeon | Dec 15, 2013 |
The follow-up to Haroun and the Sea of Stories, written for Rushdie’s own younger son, requires Rashid Khalifa’s younger son to undertake his own quest into the Magic World for the Fire of Life, which is all that will save Rashid’s life. Great adventure ensues.
  EverettWiggins | Apr 9, 2013 |
Salman Rushdie has a reputation for prose that tends to be dense to the point of un-readability. I believe this view has developed solely from The Satanic Verses, which is, admittedly, a difficult read. But lately, Rushdie has published a number of books that are not only eminently readable, but interesting and thoroughly entertaining. His 2010 novel, Luka and the Fire of Life proves this point.

Luka’s father, Rashid, has an unparalleled talent for telling stories. He has created whole worlds full of interesting characters, places, and ideas, which become real for Luca, when he actually travels to “The World of Magic.” One day, Rashid falls into a deep sleep, which puzzles the doctors. Luka, concerned for his father, takes an errant step, and slips into the world his father created. The wraith, Nobodaddy, slowly absorbs Rashid’s life forces, and, should he absorb all of them, he will die. Luka decides if his father dies, his stories, and the world he created, will die with him. The young boy embarks on a classic hero’s journey to steal the fire of life, restore his father to health, and save the World of Magic.

Rushdie has bathed this novel in the art of storytelling. In fact, the entire story is about stories and the lessons they teach us. Luka also fits nicely into Joseph Campbell’s keys to his theory of myth. Luka reluctantly answers the call to adventure, he has helpers and supernatural assistance, he must cross the threshold of The River of Time, he must complete the last leg of his journey alone, and he returns to his home. But will he make it in time to save his father?

Another interesting and fun aspect of this work includes the numerous embedded cultural references that seem way out of time and place in the World of Magic. For example, while looking at “The River of Time,” Luka sees,

“Running along the bank was a white rabbit wearing a waistcoat and looking worriedly at a clock. Appearing and disappearing at various points on both banks was a dark blue British police telephone booth, out of which a perplexed-looking man holding a screw driver would periodically emerge. A group of dwarf bandits could be seen disappearing into a hole in the sky. ‘Time travelers,’ said, Nobodaddy in a voice of gentle disgust. ‘They’re everywhere these days’” (60-61). Alice in Wonderland, Doctor Who, and Monty Python all in one breath. This story can be shared by the whole family.

In fact, this novel is about storytelling, and the importance of myth and imagination. Rushdie does it with style, grace, and a prose so spectacular, he never ceases to amaze me. I have read eight of his eleven novels, and I have the other three which I am eagerly waiting to devour. If you have never read Rushdie, Luka and the Fire of Life is a grand place to start. 5 stars.

--Jim, 1/5/13 ( )
  rmckeown | Jan 27, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
To save the day, Luka must enter the World of Magic and bring back the Fire of Life. But, Rushdie seems to be wondering, how caught up can a kid get in Promethean questing when his sense of adventure is increasingly guided by virtual derring-do?
 

» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Salman Rushdieprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bauer, AnnaCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cunningham, CarolineDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Proksa, RobertIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Puttapipat, NirootCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schiff, RobbinCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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There was once, in the city of Kahani, in the land of Alilfbay, a boy named Luka who had two pets, a bear named Dog and a dog named Bear, which meant that whenever he called out, "Dog!" the bear waddled up amiably on his hind legs, and when he shouted, "Bear!" the dog bounded toward him, wagging his tail.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679463364, Hardcover)

Salman Rushdie on Luka and the Fire of Life

There’s a line in Paul Simon’s song St. Judy’s Comet, a sort of lullaby, about his reason for writing it. "If I can’t sing my boy to sleep," he sings, "it makes your famous daddy look so dumb." More than twenty years ago, when my older son Zafar said to me that I should write a book he could read, I thought about that line. Haroun and the Sea of Stories, written in 1989-90, a dark time for me, was the result. I tried to fill it with light and even to give it a happy ending. Happy endings were things I had become very interested in at the time.

When my younger son Milan read Haroun he immediately began to insist that he, too, merited a book. Luka and the Fire of Life is born of that insistence. It is not exactly a sequel to the earlier book, but it is a companion. The same family is at the heart of both books, and in both books a son must rescue a father. Beyond those similarities, however, the two books inhabit very different imaginative milieux.

Haroun and the Sea of Stories was born at a time of crisis in its author’s life and the fictional Haroun’s quest to rescue his father’s lost storytelling skills in a world in which stories themselves are being poisoned was a fable that responded to that crisis.

Luka and the Fire of Life is a response to a different, but equally great, danger: that an older father may not live to see his son grow up. In the earlier book, it was storytelling that was being threatened; in the new one, it is the storyteller who is at risk. Once again, the book grows out of the reality of my own life, and my relationship with a very particular child. Luka is my son Milan’s middle name, just as Haroun is Zafar’s.

As well as the central theme of life and death, Luka explores in, I hope, suitably fabulous and antic fashion, things I have thought about all my life: the relationships between the world of imagination and the "real" world, between authoritarianism and liberty, between what is true and what is phony, and between ourselves and the gods that we create. Younger readers do not need to dwell on these matters. Older readers may, however, find them satisfying.

It has been my aim, in Luka as in Haroun, to write a story that demolishes the boundary between "adult" and "children’s" literature. One way I have thought about Luka and Haroun is that each of them is a message in a bottle. A child may read these books and, I hope, derive from them the pleasures and satisfactions that children seek from books. The same child may read them again when he or she is grown, and see a different book, with adult satisfactions instead of (or as well as) the earlier ones.

I don’t want to end without thanking the boys for whom these books were written and who helped me in their creation with a number of invaluable editorial suggestions. Luka and the Fire of Life has been the most enjoyable writing experience I’ve had since I wrote Haroun and the Sea of Stories. I hope it may prove as enjoyable to read as it was to write.

(Photo © Alberto Conti)

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:39:35 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Young Luka travels to the Magic World to steal the Fire of Life needed to bring his storytelling father out of a deep trance.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

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