Home entertainment

BOOK REVIEW: Two Years, Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights

A breathtaking work of fantasy filled with stories within stories.

Sometimes a book appears in your life and begs you to read it; Salman Rushdie’s new novel is one such book. In part it’s a modern retelling of Scheherazade’s 1001 nights, filled with stories within stories and told with Rushdie’s characteristic glee and sharp intelligence. It is also part warning to curb our capitalistic, fundamentalist ways. As the story begins, the passages to Fairyland have opened and Dunia, the female jinni who fell in love with the mortal philosopher Ibn Rushd 800 years ago, has returned to mother her descendants. All hell has broken loose on earth as it experiences the War of the Worlds.

Creatures of flame and smoke descend and delight in creating magic, people begin to levitate and humans without earlobes start to shoot lightning out of their fingertips. Men long dead become ‘talkative dust’ and resurrect old ideological feuds.

All the while a gardener becomes the conduit between both worlds and finds himself both General and lover of Dunia. This book is a breathtaking work of fantasy and storytelling and a brilliant meditation on desperate times.

Random House, $37.

Get The Australian Woman’s Weekly NZ home delivered!  

Subscribe and save up to 38% on a magazine subscription.

Related stories