review: Luka and the Fire of Life

Salman Rushdie is a phenomenal story teller. I have read several of his novels now, and while some I loved, even those that I did not feel as strongly about, I still felt as strongly about his writing and a great ability to tell stories. Of course given that he’s won the Booker and the Best of the Booker…I’m clearly not alone in my assessment.

The book is told from the point of view of Luka, the younger brother of Haroun from an earlier Rushdie novel, who goes on a quest to retrieve the Fire of Life to rescue his father from sleep. Luka enters into a video game, in a way, having to collect lives in the beginning and keeping an eye on the lives in his vision, and also hit various save buttons to save his level.

Rushdie creates wonderful characters and detailed landscapes, definitely drawing one into the action. And…what was even more with this book, was that it read like a children’s story, which it was, but also in that there was that sense of wonder when discovering a new story and being really excited to get back to it. I think often a lot of the novels I’m drawn to are a little more on the serious side, and definitely the ones read in school are, but this was a story for the story’s sake. And I loved it.

That is not to say that there isn’t depth in this novel. Of course there is. But the themes are presented in a way that when one is reading…at least me, I’m only reading the story and can dwell on the themes once I close the book and the action is completed. I can close the book with a sigh of satisfaction of time very well spent.

I also had the fantastic opportunity to see Rushdie in person for a reading. Now this was several months ago, but it was an experience I’m so happy to have had.


Patricia returned to Texas after spending several years on both coasts. She's a writer, amateur photographer and traveler.

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