Review Blog

Mar 22 2011

Luka and the Fire of Life by Salman Rushdie

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Jonathan Cape, 2010. ISBN 9780224090216.
(For ages 11+ years) This is a classic quest story that takes up the adventures of Luka whose older brother is the hero in Haroun and the Sea of Stories, an earlier novel of Rushdie's. Luka's story is magic; this is evident from the first lines, as Rushdie envelops us in the smell and feel of other lands. This is a story that reveals much about the power of story and how our own stories are to be treasured as we pass them onto others.
Luka witnesses a circus coming to his town; one where the animals are obviously abused. He curses the circus owner and in an act of revenge a great sleep befalls Luka's beloved father, the great storyteller Rashid Khalifa. Luka discovers that the only way to revive his father is to travel to the World of Magic and steal the Fire of Life. As with any quest adventure, the hero's companions are indispensible and very interesting! Luka's imaginings and his father's stories merge and make the journey all the more exciting. It is wonderful to read this book for its story and descriptive language. Rushdie is a master of creating both. Undoubtedly, everyone enjoys a good quest and this is no exception. The complexity and detail, however, will mean that Luka and the Fire of Life will appeal to the more sophisticated reader.
Julie Wells

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