Jill's take on Two Years, Eight Months and 28 Nights by Salman Rushdie
This was my first reading of a book by Salman Rushdie. I must admit that I have a bit of a stigma against him. I don’t really know why, either, except for this vague notion of his notoriety and popularity. But the subject of this book made me over look all that skepticism about the author himself.
There are many parts of the book that just feel like a retelling of stories of old. You know fairy tales and the like. But it’s not. Sure, the book uses characters we all know, the jinn, and puts them into somewhat familiar places. But the overall story of the book is not like any other jinn tale I have heard or read.
We all think of jinn or genies as being cooped up in little pots until rubbed three times upon which wishes must be granted. And sure, there is some of this, but it turns out that much of this story is based in (what I was told) Quranic lore. Our Saharan guide was so excited to see I was reading about the jinn that he spoke frequently of them on our trip and talked at length about the belief many muslims have in the jinn. It was an amazing little connection that I had not been aware of but made the reading of the book all the more special.
I really enjoyed the book overall. There were times where I found myself being surprised that Rushdie is so popular given the way a particular sentence or scene was written. These were in the times when the language seemed a little too easy or the scene not quite complete. But overall, I found that I was engrossed in the scenes and the characters. I could see the gardens that were created by Mr. Geronimo and feel the chaos that was created when the jinn arrive to our human world.
This is a fun romp in a fairy tale/fantastical environment, but also tells the tale of humanity and our fuck ups. Rushdie uses the fantastical as a light shed upon humans and our natures and shows where we have gone wrong and where we can do better.
I would definitely recommend this book along and was totally happy that I got over my prejudice against Rushdie. Does this mean I will read more of his work? Not sure, does he have others about the jinn?
Zac's take on Two Years, Eight Months and 28 Nights by Salman Rushdie
Otherwise known as 1,001 nights. It took me a few pages to get used to the longwinded and spiral shaped sentences that seem to stream so easily from Salman Rushdie. This was the first time I was able to complete a novel of his, and this has to do with several things. His long spiral shaped sentences make me dizzy and are complicated in an unnecessary way and a his love of very long character names. I know this sounds like a quibble, but it’s a trope I’m not too keen on, especially when the characters with really long names also have other names they go by and their friends also have this affliction foisted upon them merely for the amusement of the author. Those two things aside, I actually found Two Years Eight Months and Twenty Eight Nights to be entertaining and well written and with a plot that wasn’t too predictable and moved along nicely like a little stream passing by towns we think we know, but find that we don’t actually really know that well.
There are elements in this novel that are extremely current, and almost seem like a commentary on the foibles of modern life – of the fiction of our currency, our obsession with material goods and human shallowness in general, but Rushdie never quite goes there, and I wish he would.