Top critical review
Haroun fixes the sea
on 31 December 2015
Haroun lives in the sad city of Alifbay with his storyteller father and mother until the day his life turns upside down. He goes on a quest that results from him accompanying his father, Rashid, to another political rally as the best storyteller. Any underlying allegory to why Alifbay is sad is not clear. This is one of the main problems I found with “Haroun and The Sea Of Stories” – references that were meant to be part of a fairy tale, or funny or meaningful, but which weren’t to me. They only slowed down the story’s flow.
Another thing that slowed the story down was the repetition of people and descriptions. The pronouncements seemed to be more Salman Rushdie saying, “Look at me! I’m a good children’s storyteller,” than of an author talking to children at their level. Such repetitions and attempts at humour seem directed to 7-9 year-olds level of reading. The best children’s books reach out to adults and children alike, e.g. Harry Potter. Not this one. Not in my books.
The other characters that populate this book include Water Genies, Butt the bird, Princess Batcheat and her adoring Prince Bolo, Plentimaw fish (there are plenty more fish in the sea), a gardener called Mali, and politicians who are measly and cheating.
What I think would have made the story more entertaining would be, in addition to less repetition, actual stories similar to the “Thousand Nights” of the Arabian Tales, more plot, a point to the fantasy elements to the story having a bearing on Haroun’s life and a less expedient resolution to the plot.