Luka and the Fire of Life: Book summary and reviews of Luka and the Fire of Life by Salman Rushdie

Luka and the Fire of Life

A Novel

By Salman Rushdie

Luka and the Fire of Life
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  • Published in USA  Nov 2010,
    240 pages.
    Age range: Children


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Book Summary

With the same dazzling imagination and love of language that have made Salman Rushdie one of the great storytellers of our time, Luka and the Fire of Life revisits the magic-infused, intricate world he first brought to life in the modern classic Haroun and the Sea of Stories. This breathtaking new novel centers on Luka, Haroun's younger brother, who must save his father from certain doom.

For Rashid Khalifa, the legendary storyteller of Kahani, has fallen into deep sleep from which no one can wake him. To keep his father from slipping away entirely, Luka must travel to the Magic World and steal the ever-burning Fire of Life. Thus begins a quest replete with unlikely creatures, strange alliances, and seemingly insurmountable challenges as Luka and an assortment of enchanted companions race through peril after peril, pass through the land of the Badly Behaved Gods, and reach the Fire itself, where Luka's fate, and that of his father, will be decided.

Filled with mischievous wordplay and delving into themes as universal as the power of filial love and the meaning of mortality, Luka and the Fire of Life is a book of wonders for all ages.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"[Rushdie's] entertaining wordplay and lighter-than-air fantasies don't amount to more than a clever pastiche." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. Brilliant wordplay throughout…A celebration of storytelling...and a colorful, kick-up-your-heels delight." - Kirkus Review

"Although the tone is fairly lighthearted overall, the triumphant finale is a fantastic tribute to the rich interior world of the storyteller and the transformative power of his art." - Booklist

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Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Cloggie Downunder
a pleasure to read
Luka and the Fire of Life is the 11th novel by Salman Rushdie, his second children’s novel and the sequel to Haroun and the Sea of Stories. He dedicated this book to his second son, Milan, born 18 years after Zafar, to whom the first was dedicated. The story centres around left-handed Luka, second son of storyteller, Rashid Khalifa, and younger brother (by 18 years) of Haroun. Now that he is 12, Luka longs for an adventure like his big brother had 18 years ago, and, through casually cursing a cruel circus owner, he suddenly finds himself in the World of Magic, on a quest for the Fire of Life, needed to save Rashid, comatose and close to death. Soon enough, he realises that he is in the middle of a life-sized video game, amassing lives, losing them, reaching higher levels and saving his progress. Throughout his quest, he is accompanied by Bear, his dog, and Dog, his bear, as well as Nobodaddy, a being resembling Rashid, which is waiting to take Rashid’s life force and implode. Luka travels along the River of Time, towards the Lake of Wisdom and the Mountain of Knowledge, surmounts terrifying obstacles and meets a myriad of magical beings including Elephant Ducks, the Insultana of Ott, Prometheus, the Old Man of the River, Respecto-Rats and the ancient ex-gods of a great many civilisations. Rushdie is a master of clever word play, riddles and delightful puns; he makes thinly-veiled references to many well-known time travelling icons of film and TV like Dr Who, Time Bandits and Back to the Future. He has Luka watching a Beauty Contest of a very different kind, berating former deities, riding a magic carpet and battling the Lords of Time. We learn how Karaoke began and how Slackweed overran the Waste of Time. Ultimately a story about the love between a father and his son, the book is aimed at adolescents, but any adult who enjoys fantasy will find it a pleasure to read.

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Author Information

Salman Rushdie Author Biography

Salman Rushdie was born in Bombay (now Mumbai) in 1947. He studied in India and England, reading History at King's College, Cambridge. His first novel, Grimus, was published in 1975. His second novel, the critically acclaimed and award-winning Midnight's Children, was published in 1991. Among its honors, it was pronounced the 'Booker of the Bookers,' which recognized it as the best example of that illustrious prize. Malcolm Bradley in The Modern British Novel (1994) pronounced the book "a new start for the late-twentieth-century novel." Rushdie's next novel, Shame, also won critical acclaim and international awards. Famously, Rushdie's next book, The Satanic Verses, incurred an issuance of a fatwa – a call for his death – by the orthodox leadership ...

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Name Pronunciation
Salman Rushdie: sal-MARN RUSH-dee

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