Saturday, October 16, 2010

Luka and the Fire of Life

Luka and the Fire of Life, by Salman Rushdie

In the city of Kahani, in the land of Alifbay, lived the storyteller Rashid Khalifa, his wife, Soraya, and their two sons, Haroun and Luka.   One day, the great circus called the Great Rings of Fire came to town.  When the circus parade came by, and Luka saw the sad, mistreated animals, he cursed the Ringmaster, Captain Aag, and the animals stopped obeying and the fires burned the tents.  So into the life of Luka came the dog, Bear, and the bear, Dog, from the circus. 

Then into Luka's life came sadness, because Captain Aag took his revenge, and the storyteller, Rashid Khalifa fell ill and was like to die.  One early morning, Luka saw his father in the yard, but wait!  It was not his father, but his father's death, come to claim him.   But, as in all good fairy tales, Luka made a deal with death, also called Nobodaddy, and Luka, Nobodaddy, the dog called Bear and the bear called Dog go on a quest to steal the Fire of Life in the World of Magic.

You will find in the story of Luka's quest reminders of the thousand and one nights and of video games.  Rushdie has immense fun with puns and wordplay, and you will, too!  Here in this world we find the old gods, from Greece and Sumer and Egypt and all the world, flying carpets and Fire Bugs.  Nothing is what it seems, allegiances shift, and Luka and his companions must ever be on the alert, gathering and losing and regaining lives as they move on from level to level.  Luka's love for his father causes him to defy Time, to risk his own life, and to conquer his fears. 

If you haven't read Haroun and the Sea of Stories,  don't worry.  It's not necessary to have read that book to enjoy this one.  But those who have read and loved the story of Luka's older brother will surely not want to miss the saga of the younger sibling.

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