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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
3,246601,707 (4.03)194
Title:Haroun and the sea of stories
Authors:Salman Rushdie
Info:New York : Granta Books in association with Viking, 1990.
Collections:Your library

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

Recently added byclockworktomato, Bookish59, bloewen36, EggButties, private library, pepperedmoth, SamLau, grundlecat
Legacy LibrariesGraham Greene
  1. 61
    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. 20
    The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster (calmclam)
  3. 21
    The Neverending Story by Michael Ende (thiagop)
    thiagop: Both books talk about literature in a fantastic way.
  4. 10
    Ella Minnow Pea 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.
  5. 22
    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.

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» See also 194 mentions

English (58)  French (1)  All languages (59)
Showing 1-5 of 58 (next | show all)
Great introduction to Rushdie's work. Great story. ( )
  NatalieSW | Jan 1, 2015 |
On the continuum between Phantom Tollbooth and the Fairyland series. Naturally, loved it. ( )
  beckydj | Feb 26, 2014 |
A quick read. The fantastic storyline kept me engaged although some might find it a bit too fanciful. ( )
  dmangst | Jan 26, 2014 |
This was strange and fun, maybe a little too silly for me. I thought it was going to be a bunch of short stories linked together like Arabian Nights but it's actually just a single novel. The length was perfect. I think it ti would have been any longer it would have gotten boring.

As usual Rushdie fills the story with colorful characters and just lets his imagination run wild. This seems like it would make a beautiful graphic novel. ( )
1 vote ragwaine | Dec 29, 2013 |
Haroun and the Sea of Stories is certainly a children's book, make no mistake about it. And the storyline is accordingly rather simple, though the storytelling is rather good. As for a genre, Rushdie does a very good job of following the conventions of fairy tales and folk tales, repeating many odd and funny sayings or expressions, interesting and funny names for things and people (you'll find a Hindustani glossary at the back that will explain where some names come from), and characters distinct with singular odd features or talents.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the story is the "adult elements" that are not necessarily children's stuff (perhaps going back to the original folk tales where nothing is as sugar-coated or watered-down as today's lame versions.) Mother runs off with someone else, politicians deceive people and make them unhappy, Haroun's father, like today's pop-stars, gets recruited to sway the vote of the masses, weird religious sect worships weird statue and performs bloody rituals sewing mouths shut, etc. All of these daily adult stuff is well-woven into the fantastical. The fantastical is nothing shocking or even novel, but perhaps stories and fairy tales are always made up of old ones retold and reshaped, or so we find out in Haroun and the Sea of Stories.

Later addition: Rushdie explained that when he went to the south of India, he had a chance to hear one of the most famous storytellers. Apparently, the tradition of oral storytelling is very strong in the south, even though the south has a very high literacy rate. And these storytellers, like the one he saw, perform for hours, starting many stories in stories, singing, dancing, etc. And since they hold thousands of people captivated by their stories for many hours and due to their immense popularity, they are often recruited by political parties to tip over the balance (apparently, the two main parties have about 50-50 votes in the region, so a small sway goes a long way.)
Rushdie also commented on why he explained the foreign words he used in Haroun but did not explain the ones in Luka and the Fire of Life, his latest children's novel, written for his younger son. He said that in the second book, the names do not really add to the story, though it is true that you may enjoy it more if you do know what the words mean. In Haroun, the names of things are an active part of the story; they help move the story forward (he spoke very much like a creative writing teacher about all this, a lot of writing theory...) ( )
  bluepigeon | Dec 15, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 58 (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
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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:46:48 -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)

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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