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Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight…
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Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights

by Salman Rushdie

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5814617,011 (3.51)47
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Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
Mhm. Rushdie has written three books that I like very much, and some I can't get warm with. This is one of the latter group. Too abstract for me (late in the book, the jinn are even called abstractions), I couldn't get interested in most characters.
The plot reminded me of DC Comics' 1990s crossover event "Bloodlines" (Rushie himself uses a lot of explicit comic book associations in this book, so this idea may be forgiven), which I didn't care for: Gruesome aliens attacking Earth on a grand scale, with new superheroes born through alien meddling. Plucky individuals and secret plans that I couldn't follow. ( )
  HerrRau | Jun 4, 2017 |
A pretty bizarre book. Impossible for the mere mortal to imagine the imagination of this author. A terrifying struggle of good and evil involving mythology, the upper world, fairys, graphic monsters. It's a roiling pot but as one would expect some significant truisms and philosophical ideas beautfiully put and pondered. Recommended by one of my literary of all friends. I could listen but may not have continued to read this.... ( )
  splinfo | May 18, 2017 |
The usual Rushdie territory mixing fantasy, magic and myth with political and religious commentary. It's kind of fun but does feel a bit Rushdie by numbers overall. ( )
  AlisonSakai | Feb 11, 2017 |
Not Salman Rushdie’s best effort. There was the usual mix of jinns, philosophers, religious figures, legends, characters of multiple backgrounds, God(s), fate, and storytelling a la "1001 Nights," but it felt like a mailed-in effort, because none of the normal characters around which all this imaginative machinery was deployed was him-or-herself particularly imaginative or even sympathetic. In addition, all too often it seemed Rushdie was winking at me from the page, so pleased with the joke he had just told, he wanted to make sure the reader didn’t miss his cleverness. In a word, it was a bit precious, without the intimacy of prior efforts.

Ostensibly, this is a retelling from the future of a war between powerful jinns taking place more or less in the present time. (The text is littered with references to terrible modern day events, from school shootings to Donald Trump.) Because the membrane between the other world of the jinns and the human world has weakened, the jinns conduct their war in the human world. The war begins with “strangenesses” in which the laws of physics of our world give way; for example, many characters no longer are fully subject to gravity and begin to float like balloons while others are crushed under a supergravity. The strangenesses give way to outright warfare.

The outcome of the war is never in doubt because of the structure of the novel, which is a little bit like a holy book recording the long ago clashes that made the present of the narrator more wonderful than the current world. In that future world, resort to God and religion has been rejected, but with its eradication has come the loss of dreams at night. While at certain points Rushdie manages to cleverly portray real life events of our own world as themselves “strangenesses,” where facts and science give way to opinion, lust, and the irrational, in my view, the novel never really achieved a coherent story or convinced me to care much about the human characters or various jinns.
( )
  Bostonseanachie | Dec 14, 2016 |
This book is magical in more ways than one, at times reminiscent of Saramago's modern parables or Bulgakov's the Master and Margarita, and very different to any of Rushdie's earlier novels. Having read it in an intense two days, it is probably too soon for me to assess it objectively.

At face value it is not the kind of story I would normally read - an apocalyptic fantasy in which the human world becomes a battlefield for competing jinns. The main reason it works (or at least held my attention) is that Rushdie can master so many literary forms. Humour and playfulness are never far from the surface, and there is much about the history of myths and legends and what they have in common, not to mention a sprinkling of philosophy.

There is also a huge range of allusions both ancient and modern, and many barbed comments about real world issues. The title itself is an allusion to the Thousand and One Nights, and also the length of the "Strangenesses" i.e. the period during which the jinns can cross from their fairyland (Peristan) to the human world. The two sides in the war can be read simply as good and evil, but in Rushdie's world it is the rational female atheists who triumph over the belligerent males and their controlling gods [this is not a spoiler - it is clear from early in the book that the whole thing is told from the perspective of a deep future 1000 years after the main events].

Rushdie clearly relished placing his supernatural beings in a modern context - particularly when describing the jaded seen-it-all-before reactions of New Yorkers to the sudden emergence of miracles and other inexplicable phenomena in their midst, which become comic set pieces.

The book is largely about the power of stories and language, and how myths, legends, ideas and religions adapt to suit human needs, but Rushdie is too much of a romantic not to make his optimistic vision for the future of humanity central. ( )
  bodachliath | Nov 15, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
What's frustrating is to see glimpses of Rushdie's very real talent. Lines stand out, a wife who "slipped out of history" when her husband abandoned her, "he took it with him when he left," an "old town of salmon minarets and enigmatic walls," a "heart filled with something that might have been happiness, but poured out of his eyes as grief." But this is his second extremely bad book in a row — consult Zoë Heller's incineration of his memoir "Joseph Anton," for further detail — and it's beginning to seem as if that talent may be in permanent arrest.
added by ozzer | editChicago Tribune, Charles Finch (Sep 2, 2015)
 
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Epigraph
El sueno de la razon produce monstruos. The sleep of reason brings forth monsters. (Los Caprichos no. 43, by Francisco de Goya; the full caption in the Prado etching reads: "Fantasy abandoned by reason produces impossible monsters: united with her, she is the mother of the arts and the origin of their marvels.")
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Very little is known, though much has been written, about the true nature of the jinn, the creatures made of smokeless fire.
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Book description
From one of the greatest writers of our time: the most spellbinding, entertaining, wildly imaginative novel of his great career, which blends history and myth with tremendous philosophical depth. A masterful, mesmerizing modern tale about worlds dangerously colliding, the monsters that are unleashed when reason recedes, and a beautiful testament to the power of love and humanity in chaotic times.

Inspired by 2,000 years of storytelling yet rooted in the concerns of our present moment, this is a spectacular achievement--enchanting, both very funny and terrifying. It is narrated by our descendants 1000 years hence, looking back on "The War of the Worlds" that began with "the time of the strangenesses": a simple gardener begins to levitate; a baby is born with the unnerving ability to detect corruption in people; the ghosts of two long-dead philosophers begin arguing once more; and storms pummel New York so hard that a crack appears in the universe, letting in the destructive djinns of myth (as well as some graphic superheroes). Nothing less than the survival of our world is at stake. Only one, a djinn princess who centuries before had learned to love humankind, resolves to help us: in the face of dynastic intrigue, she raises an army composed of her semi-magical great-great--etc.--grandchildren--a motley crew of endearing characters who come together to save the world in a battle waged for 1,001 nights--or, to be precise, two years, eight months and twenty-eight nights.
Haiku summary
Dschinn kämpft gegen Dschinn
Chaos in unserer Welt
so wurde erzählt
(hatorikibble)

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