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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lots of fun
Plenty of fun to be had in this tale of a storyteller and his son. Rushdie imagines a world of light and dark, noise and silence, with some memorable characters and places. It's all done with great imagination and no small wit - reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland. Really, it's a children's storybook, but with plenty to keep the adults entertained as well.
Published on 12 Sept. 2006 by Mr. Paul J. Bradshaw

versus
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Truly Disappointing Effort from Rushdie
I am a huge fan of Salman Rushdie's books for adults having read most of them. I bought this book with the possibility of reading it to my Year 5 class but found it to be a very weak text. So sad because Salman Rushdie happens to be on my favourite authors. :-(
Published 20 months ago by Wendy A. Martin


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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What is the use of stories that aren't even true?, 12 Oct. 2007
By 
Julia Krylova "Julia" (Russia, Saint-Peterburg) - See all my reviews
Have you read "Haroun and the Sea of Stories" by Salmon Rushdie? Better you have! Or else, I should cut off your eyes, have them sauteed in a little butter and garlic, and served to the hounds. Is it not the best beginning for a review of the wonderful book? Don't be afraid, it was just the words of the book's antihero. Still you'd better read the story. You are guaranteed to be glued to the book as the author has readers right in the palm of his hand. "Haroun" is an absolute gem, a wonder of wonders, a miracle of miracles! It's the most beautiful ode to "the Power of speech, the greatest Power of all". And more than that, it will keep setting you off laughing till the last page.
First of all, a few words about the plot. It centers around Haroun, son of the storyteller, who lives in so sad a city that it has forgotten its name. One day he sets off to Kahani, the undiscovered Earth's moon, to return his father's imagination and gift of the gab. An interesting place this Kahani is. It's divided into two parts. The first is the Land of Gup, where the sun never goes down. Its people are in charge of the Ocean of Stories. The second is the Land of Chup, where it is perpetual night. Its leader, the Cultmaster Khattam-Shud, is the Arch-enemy of all Stories and even the language itself. He plans to poison the Ocean of Stories, take over power and put the whole Land of Kahani into silence. Haroun is destined to ruin this plan and to save the people of Gup from Khattam-Shud. So great matters are afoot.
At first glance you might think that it's an ordinary fairy tale at the end of which good defeats evil and light wins a victory over darkness. But on second thought you'll discover that it is not as simple as that. Good is not always good and darkness has its fascinations, mystery and romance. If you are a philosopher by nature, you'll enjoy the novel as it is rolling in allegories and philosophical questions. The author gives many interesting answers to the key question of the book "What is the use of stories that aren't even true?" But it's up to you to decide which answer is right and whether this particular story is untrue.
Even if you are not a philosopher, the novel is worth reading. Whoever you are, you are guaranteed to find some ideas appealing to you. If you are a pacifist, you'll enjoy the beautiful trick by which the author makes war look very foolish. You wonder what it is. I'll tell you the secret. He makes his characters wear nosewarmers to prevent them from growing icicles on their faces in the cold Land of Chup. And hey presto! It turns out to be a war between buffoons, senseless and comic at the same time.
You consider yourself to be a democrat, don't you? Then you'll be fascinated by the state structure of the Land of Gup with its freedom of speech as the main value. Even the army of Gup is not an exception. Every order of commanders is thoroughly discussed and heatedly debated by ordinary solders.
If you are an antiroyalist, you'll laugh till your sides ache, reading descriptions of the members of the royal family of Gup. Prince Bolo is utterly useless as a state figure. His subjects don't take him seriously. He is not trusted to decide anything as far as state affairs are concerned for he behaves like a complete idiot. Furthermore, he is not able to head the war to save his princess as he is scared out of his pants at the first moment of danger. The Princess Batcheat, who is captured by the Khattam-Shud, appears to be a character completely unfitting to be saved. More than that, it seems that her capturers would be glad to return her as her caterwauling mouth and singing split the eardrums of everyone who happens to be nearby. In addition, the princess is no oil painting so that even horses whinny with horror at her name. But of course, it's not her fault, so we don't need to go on.
Are you not a feminist by any chance? If so, you'll definitely find the antidiscrimination tirades of the female page Blabbermouth appealing to you. She has to conceal her gender to be a royal page. But she is the bravest of the bravest and in the end she proves her right to be treated equally with men.
If you can't join the abovementioned groups, then just enjoy the happy ending. Love is supposed to conquer all, although it can also be a very foolish thing.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is so full of...P2C2E and also has lots of M2C2D's, 24 July 1999
By A Customer
I recommend this book for ages 11 + . It has an imaginative storyline and excellent descriptions throughout the book especially the sea of stories. Haroun is a adventurous boy in a red nightshirt with purple patches he lets his imagionation run wild . P2C2E=Processes too complicated to Explain M2D2D=machines too complicated to Describe There is a mixture of sad,happy,romantic and adventure in this one book . The idea of his mum leaving with Mr.Sengupta who turns out to be very much like Khattam-Shud. Haroun then goes on a jouney to the sea of stories with plentimaw fishes in the sea and also a certain Iff and a Butt ,"but but but don't forget Mali the floating Gardener" "yes he's not done for,Kaboosh,gone,got lost." Then Harouns"love" for Blabbermouth and his passion for the sea of stories helps him overcome the evil of Khattam-Shud . At last (which can be unusual for stories says the Walrus who is a egg-head at P2C2E house) a happy ending (as promised to Haroun).
Such a loveable childrens classic is not to be missed and don't forget if your boyfriend/girlfriend has dumped you there is plentimaw fishes in the sea . The only fault with this book is that once you open it you can't close it until it's finished so that means I was up till 3am . So have a change and try this book before you miss it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the best Rushdie so far, 14 Mar. 2011
By 
Cloggie Downunder (Australia) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Haroun and the Sea of Stories is Salman Rushdie's fifth fiction book, and his first children's novel. He dedicated this book to his 10-year-old son Zafar, from whom he had been separated for some time. The story concerns Haroun, the son of storyteller, Rashid Khalifa. Rashid is described as the Ocean of Notions, the Shah of Blah. When a tragic event stops the flow of his father's stories, Haroun sets out to rectify the situation. In a journey that involves mechanical birds and blue-bearded Water Genies, Plentimaw Fish and Floating Gardeners, a King, Prince and Princess, Pages and Shadow Warriors, heroes and nasty villains, Haroun is faced with numerous challenges and learns much. This is a charming children's story that has much to offer adults. As an allegorical tale, it appears to comment on bureaucracy: "...a skinny, scrawny, snivelling, drivelling, mingy, stingy, measly, weaselly clerk...."; and "....P2C2E, a Process Too Complicated To Explain...". Coming not long after the publication of The Satanic Verses and the ensuing fatwa, it comments, too, on freedom of speech, independent thought and imagination, and censorship. Finally, it is a story about the love between a father and son, this being reflected in the dedication to Zafar. There are poems and puns to bring a smile to the lips; wordplay and pleasing repetitions that will have readers of every age chuckling. Delightful allusions to works as varied as Alice in Wonderland, The Beatles' songs and the Tales of a Thousand and One nights abound. I really enjoyed this book. I enjoyed it more than any other Rushdie book I have read so far, and I look forward to his next children's book, Luka and the Fire of Life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fairy tale for all ages, 13 Oct. 2010
By 
Ralph Blumenau (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Haroun and the Sea of Stories (Puffin Books) (Paperback)
This book is an enchanting and profound fairy story in its own right; but it acquires an especial dimension of poignancy when we remember the context in which it was written. Salman Rushdie was in hiding after the Ayatollah Khomeini had issued the fatwa condemning Rushdie to death for having, in The Satanic Verses, played about with the story of the life of Mohammed; and he had called on faithful Muslims to carry out that sentence. In hiding, Salman was separated from his then eleven year old son Zafar and from his wife, the novelist Marianne Wiggins, who found the crisis in which her husband was involved as the result of his story telling such a strain on their relationship that, some time after The Satanic Verses was published, she announced that they were separating. Perhaps Rushdie, like Rashid (Haroun's father), had been so busy telling stories that he never noticed what it was doing to his family life.

Rushdie had defended himself against the fatwa, in part, with an impassioned plea for freedom of thought and speech and for not only the right to, but the value of, the imaginative faculties in literature.

This fairy story, written for Zafar, makes the same case. In it, the fear is expressed (but triumphantly met in this story) that the isolation of Rashid, "the Shah of Blah", would stifle his voice to a croak and disconnect him from the Ocean of Stories; the love is proclaimed which Salman has for the rich and colourful possibilities of story telling; the battle between him and the fundamentalists is shown in terms of the battle between Light and Darkness; the fantasy is that his son Zafar, alias Haroun, may rescue him and reunite him also with his wife Marianne, alias Soraya. It was surely Zafar's wishful fantasy also. Naturally in a story written for his son, it is Haroun and not Rashid who is the central character of the story. The story will delight Zafar; but it is probably only in later years that he would be able to take in the full meaning of the book.

The Ocean of Stories was on the planet Kahani (Indian for "story"), where a battle was fought out between two realms. A piece of machinery had prevented the planet from rotating, so that the sun never shone on the realm of physical and spiritual darkness. It was called Chup (Indian for "quiet"), and was governed by Khattam-Shud (Indian for "done for"), whose long-term objective was to poison the Ocean of Stories, which he has already managed to pollute, but he had not yet managed to plug the Well Spring itself. The realm of light, where the sun shone all the time, was called Gup (meaning "gossip" or "nonsense"). Its people argued about everything, and its army of Pages was rather chaotic until, in order to defend their freedom, they let themselves be organized into Chapters and Volumes: Rushdie believes that a good fight is best fought in print, and the Commander in Chief of the Guppee army is called Kitab (Indian for "book").

What wins the victory of Gup over Chup is a magic trick by which Haroun can wish for the sun to blaze on the dark side of Kahani, so that all the shadowy forces melt away. The trick has wrecked the machinery which has kept the people of Gup in perpetual light; when they repaired it, they came to a much more sensible arrangement and made the planet rotate in such a way that both sides of it had their share of light and darkness, of chatter and of quiet. Haroun had already found that darkness has its own beauty and interest: "'If Guppees and Chupwallas didn't hate each other so,' he thought, 'they might actually find each other pretty interesting. Opposites attract, as they say.'" The symbol of Yin and Yang springs to mind.

The story is full of reflections about freedom (with all its imperfections) and about the nature and importance of fantasy, myth and story-telling, about ecology and multi-culturalism, even about shadows in the Jungian sense. There is a special delight for those readers who recognize or are told the meaning of Indian words which are given as names to most of the characters, and who know about the role of gestures (mudra) made by often green-painted performers in Indian Kathakali dancing.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A mythical, magical weird treat, 5 Jan. 2015
By 
Pamela Scott (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Haroun and the Sea of Stories (Puffin Books) (Paperback)
I really enjoyed this novel. I like the myth, fairytale and magic woven all the way through it. I thought the characters were well written and really interesting. I loved the concept of the novel, a gifted storyteller loses his gift and goes on a quest with his son to save stories and creativity. I found this novel a fun read. I liked the setting and the odd eccentricities of the world such as the places all being named with one letter and the confusion caused because there are so many duplicates. I loved the talking creatures and weirdness. I found this novel more impressive than I expected.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful but a word of caution!, 10 May 2007
This review is from: Haroun and the Sea of Stories (Puffin Books) (Paperback)
I encountered this book during my degree and at first I was dismissive because it was a children's book and because of the political trouble that still surrounds Rushdie. However, I quickly changed my mind. I found it to be very refreshing and truly stands out, not only for children's literature but also adult literature. This does not mean, however, that his poltical viewpoints are not there, they are obscured by the context of the story. The volcabulary I found to be wonderful - I learnt a few new words myself! but not so difficult as to get in the way of plot. Above all it is about the wonder of the imagination and the power of language to change the world in which we live, power of father and son, and domestic redemption. If you give this story a chance you will be rewarded. However, a word of caution to parents: if you are separated from your partner/divorced this may give you children hope that you will get back together and if you are not ready to deal with questions from your children I advise you do not purchase this book.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly readable, entertaining, linguistically clever,, 1 Oct. 2000
By 
Amazon Customer (Naples, NA Italy) - See all my reviews
Haroun and The Sea of Stories is one of those books you can't lay down until "THE END" forces you to, and even then you continue hoping it is some sort of printer's mistake. Mr. Rushdie's ability to weave a story is not only fascinating but also refreshing and places him royally among his own Plentimaw Fishes. In the best of story telling tradition, Rushdie reveals the essence of human nature and the formidable powers of will and imagination we all possess. This book is one story that shouldn't be missed at any age,for its message of hope and perpetual renewal is a promise to all.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written stories for children or adults., 13 July 2000
By A Customer
This collection has one of the best first pages of any book that I have read. It's worth buying just for those five or six paragraphs. I read it to my nephews, who are fidgety at best, and they were captivated (relatively). Don't be put off by Salman Rushdie's perceived intellectualism, this book is immensely readable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A good purchase, very happy, 29 Jun. 2014
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This review is from: Haroun and the Sea of Stories (Puffin Books) (Paperback)
This is a lovely story and should be read by everyone. My purchase arrived in excellent condition, on time and well packaged. A good price too! ,!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars BEatifull book, 6 April 2014
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I Love it! Full og imagination wonderfull illustrations, a difficult edition to find elsewhere, at least on the portuguese edition
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Haroun and the Sea of Stories (Puffin Books)
Haroun and the Sea of Stories (Puffin Books) by Rushdie Salman (Paperback - 25 Mar. 1993)
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