TWO YEARS EIGHT MONTHS AND TWENTY-EIGHT NIGHTS: A NOVEL by Salman Rushdie
This book is by the controversial author of The Satanic Verses, who became an international symbol of religious freedom and free speech after a fatwa was put on his life by radical Islamic authorities due of his depiction of the prophet Mohammed. This book is quite different; it is based on the imagery of 1,001 Nights. Rusdhie explores the interactions of the jinn, spirit beings from Arabic mythology and Islamic lore, with human beings from contemporary America. I find the book fascinating even though I am not far into it yet, because it comes from a committed atheist who nonetheless shows a longing for something supernatural, even if it is not God.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
From Salman Rushdie, one of the great writers of our time, comes a spellbinding work of fiction that blends history, mythology, and a timeless love story. A lush, richly layered novel in which our world has been plunged into an age of unreason, Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights is a breathtaking achievement and an enduring testament to the power of storytelling.
In the near future, after a storm strikes New York City, the strangenesses begin. A down-to-earth gardener finds that his feet no longer touch the ground. A graphic novelist awakens in his bedroom to a mysterious entity that resembles his own sub–Stan Lee creation. Abandoned at the mayor’s office, a baby identifies corruption with her mere presence, marking the guilty with blemishes and boils. A seductive gold digger is soon tapped to combat forces beyond imagining.
Unbeknownst to them, they are all descended from the whimsical, capricious, wanton creatures known as the jinn, who live in a world separated from ours by a veil. Centuries ago, Dunia, a princess of the jinn, fell in love with a mortal man of reason. Together they produced an astonishing number of children, unaware of their fantastical powers, who spread across generations in the human world.
Once the line between worlds is breached on a grand scale, Dunia’s children and others will play a role in an epic war between light and dark spanning a thousand and one nights—or two years, eight months, and twenty-eight nights. It is a time of enormous upheaval, in which beliefs are challenged, words act like poison, silence is a disease, and a noise may contain a hidden curse.
Inspired by the traditional “wonder tales” of the East, Salman Rushdie’s novel is a masterpiece about the age-old conflicts that remain in today’s world. Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights is satirical and bawdy, full of cunning and folly, rivalries and betrayals, kismet and karma, rapture and redemption.
Praise for Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights
“Courageous and liberating . . . a breathless mash-up of wormholes, mythical creatures, current affairs and disquisitions on philosophy and theology.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Rushdie is our Scheherazade, inexhaustibly enfolding story within story and unfolding tale after tale with such irrepressible delight that it comes as a shock to remember that, like her, he has lived the life of a storyteller in immediate peril.”—Ursula K. Le Guin, The Guardian
“Erudite without flaunting it, an amusement park of a pulpy disaster novel that resists flying out of control by being grounded by religion, history, culture and love.”—Los Angeles Times
“[A] rambunctious, satirical, and bewitching metaphysical fable, perhaps his most thoroughly enjoyable to date . . . fantastically inventive, spirited, astute, and delectable.”—Booklist (starred review)
“A composite of magic realism, mythology, science fiction and straight-up fantasy . . . Like the best Rushdie novels, Two Years is playful and inventive, and also intellectually bracing.”—The Globe and Mail
“Incandescent . . . brilliant, ambitious . . . All those years of writing and success have perhaps been preparation for this moment, for the creation of this tremendously inventive and timely novel.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Translates the bloody upheavals of our last few decades into the comic-book antics of warring jinn wielding bolts of fire, mystical transmutations and rhyming battle spells.”—The Washington Post