Luka and the Fire of Life: A Novel by Salman Rushdie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I'm not a fan of children's literature but I enjoyed Luka and the Fire of Life, from the master of magical realism Salman Rushdie. Luka's story is interesting and serves as a great introduction to many of the techniques of adult literature: irony, simile, puns, allegory, all are packed into this novel along with a few rewards for adults as well. Among these rewards was a nod to Orwell in relation to a metaphoric dichotomy between the extremes of freedom of speech in the Insultana and her "Over-the-topers" (Otters), and the bland grey landscape inhabited by the rats of the collectivist Rat's Respectorate.
Rushdie ensures that this is a novel that is most contemporary and accessible for modern children in framing the whole adventure in the form of a video game, and it is sweet to imagine some auto-biographical background to the story of Luka and his father Rashid - this was after all written as a birthday present to Rushdie's son Milan.
Luka and the Fire of Life would make a wonderful gift to any child of perhaps six or seven.
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