Salman Rushdie’s new book is a potent cocktail of myth, magic, and mystery. My favorite passage in it is Luka’s speech to the assembled figures of world mythologies. He reminds them that it is “only through Stories that you can get out into the Real World and have some power again. When your story is told well, people believe in you; not in the way they used to believe, not in a worshiping way, but in the way people believe in stories–happily, excitedly, wishing they wouldn’t end.”
On Monday evening, I will be discussing Luka and the Fire of Life with Rushdie at First Parish Church in Cambridge (corner of Church and Massachusetts Ave.) at 7pm. Tickets are $10. and on sale at the Harvard Book Store. Rushdie shows himself in this volume to be the powerful creator of a new syncretic mythology that offers an alternative to the clash of civilizations. We encounter the Shah of Blah, Ra the Supreme, Queen Soraya, a Flying Carpet, Hathor, Elephant Birds, the Chinese Wind Gods, Oonawieh Unggi, and many others in this fast-paced, inventive narrative about a boy searching for a way to prolong his father’s life.