Haroun and the Sea of Stories is a rich, magical story dense with word-play and allusion and writerly jokes. The plot is a fairy-tale quest with recognisably Indian in-jokes (the road signs!) language use (the rhyming!) and setting:
The Khalifas lived in the downstairs part of a small concrete house with pink walls, lime-green windows and blue-painted balconies…nothing like the skyscrapers where the super-rich folk lived; then again it was nothing like the dwellings of the poor, either. The poor lived in tumbledown shacks made of old cardboard boxes and plastic sheeting, and these shacks were glued together by despair.
Haroun’s father is a great storyteller, known as the Shah of Blah. But when Haroun’s mother leaves home, the Shah loses his gift of the gab, Haroun must voyage into a magical world to find the mythical Ocean of Stories, save it from being poisoned and restore his father’s talents.
[The Ocean of the Streams of Stories is a medieval Sanskrit text, btw, read about it here]
The story is told with typical Rushdie exuberance and the imagery is so gorgeous I can’t believe no one’s done an illustrated version.
A fabulous text for a junior school/middle-grade class or for a fantasy-loving 8-12 year old, particularly fun when read aloud.