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Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman…

Haroun and the Sea of Stories (original 1990; edition 1990)

by Salman Rushdie

Series: Haroun (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,877681,961 (4.02)235
Title:Haroun and the Sea of Stories
Authors:Salman Rushdie
Info:Penguin Books / Granta (1990), Hardcover, 224 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie (1990)

  1. 91
    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 bite 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)
  2. 40
    The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster (calmclam)
  3. 31
    The Neverending Story by Michael Ende (thiagop)
    thiagop: Both books talk about literature in a fantastic way.
  4. 20
    The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (amanda4242)
  5. 43
    The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente (lorax)
    lorax: Both are beautifully written fairy tales about young people traveling to another world, readable by kids but with much for adults to enjoy.
  6. 10
    Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters by Mark Dunn (bookwoman247)
    bookwoman247: Word play and language are an intregal part of both books. Ella Minnow Pea is a bit more sophisticated, but for adults or teens who enjoyed Haroun and the Sea of Stories, I think they will also find Ella Minnow Pea very enjoyable.
  7. 00
    Abarat by Clive Barker (aethercowboy)

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» See also 235 mentions

English (65)  French (1)  Spanish (1)  German (1)  All languages (68)
Showing 1-5 of 65 (next | show all)
There's a lot to enjoy here (for a short book) but in the end I can't say I loved it. I liked it; it was diverting; I'd recommend it happily to others.

This has a bit of wish-dream or deus ex machina on steroids feel to it: no problem lasts very long, because a solution magically arises, more often tha not sooner rather than later -- it's as if the author's impressive inventive capacities went into overdrive and rushed to invent a fix to everything that arose whether 'dramatic necessity' asked for that kind of alacrity or not.

The result is a story without real tension. The reader never doubts that everything is going to be okay.

There also isn't a lot in the way of characterization, but now I feel like I am whining -- what was I expecting, William Styron (I don't honestly know if that's the best name to invoke)? It's a whimsical fantasy tale, for goodness' sake.

Enjoy it. ( )
  tungsten_peerts | Jan 28, 2019 |
Once again, Rushdie reminds me why I love this writer so much. This is a story about storytelling and it is simply beautiful. The main character, Haroun, is the son of a well-known storytelling, Rashid, otherwise known as the Shah of Blah (love it!). When Haroun's mother runs away with another man, Rashid's gift of the gab simply deserts him. To save his faterh, Haroun must travel to a mystical land (on the Earth's second, hidden moon, no less) to recover Rashid's talent. It reminded me of "Alice in Wonderland" and "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz." Geared towards anyone who appreciates a good story with a dash of socio-political commentary thrown in. ( )
  gossamerchild88 | Mar 30, 2018 |
Suppose you are an internationally acclaimed novelist who has written a book that some people view as blasphemous to a revered figure in a major world religion. A leading cleric of the faith tries to silence your voice by issuing a fatwa calling for your immediate assassination. Such is the severity of this decree that your government puts you in protective custody, which effectively makes you a prisoner in your own land with a life sentence to serve. How do you respond to the devastation and turmoil that this oppressive order has caused?

If you are Salman Rushdie, you let your prose do the talking, with Haroun and the Sea of Stories being the result. This absolutely charming book is presented as a fable in which Haroun, a young man from a city so sad it has forgotten its name, embarks on a journey to help his father Rashid recover his gift for story-telling. In the process, both father and son become involved in fantastical endeavor to help the Land of Gup—a country which is the source of creativity in the world and is perpetually bathed in sunlight—defeat the evil lord from Chup, a dark and silent nation that sets out to destroy the Stream of Stories forever.

Although framed as a children’s (or, perhaps, young adult) tale, this book is very much in the tradition of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland or Through the Looking Glass in that it can also be enjoyed by adults on a completely different level. It is commendable that the author responded to the personal upheaval the fatwa caused with such an upbeat affirmation of the power of imagination and free speech to affect lives for the better. The word play in the novel is also quite wonderful, with many of the character and place names being puns or double entendres in the Hindi language. This was a satisfying reading experience in so many ways, not the least of which was its ability to push the limits of what great fiction can be. ( )
  browner56 | Oct 4, 2017 |
This book is written by Salman Rushdie. What I like about this book:
- A story is like a movie in a reader’s mind. I devoured the book and took it to the kitchen, and to other places in the house until such time that I finished the book.
- Salman Rushdie uses puns effectively in this book. Each character’s name may seem like a normal name to readers who don’t know the Hindustani language but when actually learnt, it opens up another door in their brains as to what he meant and why. For example, Khattam-shud means ‘The End’ when we read books written in English. Once, you know this, you can relate to the connection between Khattam-shud and the land of Chup (silence)
- At the time when Salman Rushdie wrote this book, he was in confinement to protect him. He had been a target after an incident and this book is all about having the right to talk freely and this message develops in the Land of Gup. There is the beauty in free speech no doubt. However, there is a time when free speech can get harmful and the beauty of silence shines through. Although, Silence has its own beauty, Salman Rushdie encourages free speech over silence for creativity to prevail. I couldn't agree more. ( )
  Adya | May 28, 2017 |
After several false starts on Satanic Verses I wasn't anticipating enjoying this (though I had read some Rushdie short stories once that I enjoyed). This was a light, sometimes humorous, sometimes tedious story of Haroun the son of a storyteller who loses his ability to spin tales when his wife (Haroun's mother) leaves. Because of mythical elements and wordplay, the tone is light and fun, though difficult to follow. Was a great way to burn a couple of hours. ( )
  Jamichuk | May 22, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 65 (next | show all)
". . . [a] remarkable new children's book . . . [T]he experiences that lie behind 'Haroun and the Sea of Stories' are nearly as fantastic as anything in the tale. . . . full of comic energy and lively verbal invention."

» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Rushdie, Salmanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Birkbeck, PaulIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Emeis, MarijkeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marsh, JamesCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Saaltink, StephanCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stege, GiselaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Zembla, Zenda, Xanadu:
A ll our dream-worlds may come true.
F airy lands are fearsome too.
A s I wander far from view
R ead, and bring me home to you.
First words
There was once, in the country of Alifbay, a sad city, the saddest of cities, a city so ruinously sad that it had forgotten its name.
Still Haroun wanted to know why his parents hadn't had more children, but the only answer he ever got from Rashid was no answer at all:

'There's more to you, young Haroun Khalifa, than meets the blinking eye.'

Well, what was THAT supposed to mean? 'We used up our full quota of child-stuff just in making you,' Rashid explained. 'It's all packed in there, enough for maybe four-five kiddies. Yes, sir, more to you than the blinking eye can see.'

Straight answers were beyond the powers of Rashid Khalifa, who would never take a short cut if there was a longer, twistier road available.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0140157379, Paperback)

Immediately forget any preconceptions you may have about Salman Rushdie and the controversy that has swirled around his million-dollar head. You should instead know that he is one of the best contemporary writers of fables and parables, from any culture. Haroun and the Sea of Stories is a delightful tale about a storyteller who loses his skill and a struggle against mysterious forces attempting to block the seas of inspiration from which all stories are derived. Here's a representative passage about the sources and power of inspiration:
So Iff the water genie told Haroun about the Ocean of the Stream of Stories, and even though he was full of a sense of hopelessness and failure the magic of the Ocean began to have an effect on Haroun. He looked into the water and saw that it was made up of a thousand thousand thousand and one different currents, each one a different colour, weaving in and out of one another like a liquid tapestry of breathtaking complexity; and Iff explained that these were the Streams of Story, that each coloured strand represented and contained a single tale. Different parts of the Ocean contained different sorts of stories, and as all the stories that had ever been told and many that were still in the process of being invented could be found here, the Ocean of the Streams of Story was in fact the biggest library in the universe. And because the stories were held here in fluid form, they retained the ability to change, to become new versions of themselves, to join up with other stories and so become yet other stories; so that unlike a library of books, the Ocean of the Streams of Story was much more than a storeroom of yarns. It was not dead, but alive.

"And if you are very, very careful, or very, very highly skilled, you can dip a cup into the Ocean," Iff told Haroun, "like so," and here he produced a little golden cup from another of his waistcoat pockets, "and you can fill it with water from a single, pure Stream of Story, like so," as he did precisely that.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:52 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

The author of The Satanic Verses returns with his most humorous and accessible novel yet. This is the story of Haroun, a 12-year-old boy whose father Rashid is the greatest storyteller in a city so sad that it has forgotten its name. When the gift of gab suddenly deserts Rashid, Haroun sets out on an adventure to rescue his print.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

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