In early reviews of this new Rushdie novel readers were warned not to approach Luka and the Fire of Life as Rushdie’s next ‘important’ work. This was merely another book written for his children, as 1990’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories was. For those of us who think 'Sea of Stories is one of the best novels ever, the arrival of Luka and the Fire of Life is incredibly exciting.
Rushdie delivers a fast-paced adventure through a magic land that bursts with color, mythology and philosophy. Luka must steal fire from the 9th level of his father’s imagination to save the great storyteller’s draining life. Impossible as the mission seems, the hero-boy is accompanied by a cast of impressive and helpful friends, including a dog named Bear and a bear named Dog.
Any other writer would need at least a thousand pages to tell this story. ‘Fire of Life comes in under 220. A reader has to suspend their disbelief to follow such deep, intricate imagination, but amidst the chaos it’s easy to have faith in Rushdie’s masterful prose. And the ride is definitely worth it.