Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Two Years Eight Months And Twenty-Eight Nights by Salman Rushdie

What if we have never understood the basic underpinnings of our world and what causes events to happen?  What if we're really descendents of the jinn, or as the Western world calls them, genies?  This is the premise of Two Years Eight Months And Twenty-Eight Nights by Salman Rushdie.

The title is not just a whim of the author.  It is the time it takes to reach a thousand and one nights, which is one of the most enduring legends of all time, how a woman outsmarted a cruel despot and saved herself by telling him stories for all those nights yet leaving him each night with a cliffhanger so that he always wanted to hear more.

Long ago, the jinn moved freely between Earth and their own land, having little interaction with humans and caring little for them. Occasionally one was entrapped and if rescued by a human, granted him wishes but overall there was separation between the two races.  Everything changed when Dunia, a female jinn and daughter of the mighty emperor, came to Earth and fell in love with a philosopher and married him.  Their descendants populated the world over the thousands of years after this event.  Dunia went back to the jinn land and the portal between the worlds closed.

Then the time of strangeness occurred.  The portal opened and the jinn were free to come to Earth.  Four jinn who hated the humans and were Dunia's enemies came through and in a war with her, created mayhem on the land.  They used humans to spread their hate and cruelty and from this terrorism was born.  Dunia's descendants fought against the evil jinn for dominance of the land.

Salman Rushdie is my favorite novelist and this novel did not disappoint.  It is a lyrical, bawdy, wide-ranging story that explores themes such as the endurance of love, the underpinnings of evil, the positive side of being different and the power of story and language.  It ranges across centuries and exposes readers to a new way of experiencing the world.  This book is recommended for readers of literary fiction.

No comments: