Blending history, mythology and a timeless love story, this is a satirical, magical masterpiece from one of the greatest living writers.
In the near future, after a storm strikes New York City, the strangenesses begin. A down-to-earth gardener finds that his feet no longer touch the ground. A graphic novelist awakens in his bedroom to a mysterious entity that resembles his own comic book creation. Abandoned at the mayor’s office, a baby identifies corruption with her mere presence, marking the guilty with blemishes and boils. A seductive gold digger is soon tapped to combat forces beyond imagining.
Unbeknownst to them, they are all descended from the whimsical, capricious, wanton creatures known as the jinn. Centuries ago, Dunia, a princess of the jinn, fell in love with a mortal man of reason. Together they produced an astonishing number of children, unaware of their fantastical powers, who spread across generations in the human world.
‘A riotous, exuberant and sometimes maddening celebration of the power of storytelling’ Sunday Times
In his latest novel, Rushdie (Joseph Anton) invents his own cultural narrative one that blends elements of One Thousand and One Nights, Homeric epics, and sci-fi and action/adventure comic books. The title is a reference to the magical stretch of time that unites the book's three periods, which are actually millennia apart. In the first period (the 12th century), jinn princess Dunia falls in love with real-life philosopher and advocate of reason and science Averroes (aka Ibn Rushd) and bears multiple children. In the second period (current day), Dunia's descendants, a group including a gardener and a young graphic novelist, are unaware of their powerful lineage (despite the fact that they inherited Dunia's trademark earlobelessness). Then they witness a great storm devastating New York; worse, a slit between the jinn world and the human world opens and the dark jinn slip through. The gardener suddenly finds himself levitating, the artist hosting jinn in his room. Dunia returns to defend the human race by confronting her four fiercest enemies, one by one: Zumurrud, Zabardast, Shining Ruby, and Ra'im Blood-Drinker. Rushdie even incorporates a third period, a far-future millennium, further tying his story together across time. His magical realism celebrates the power of metaphor, while both historic accounts and fables are imbued with familiar themes of migration and separation, reason and faith, repression and freedom. Referencing Henry James, Mel Brooks, Mickey Mouse, Gracian, Bravo TV, and Aristotle, among others, Rushdie provides readers with an intellectual treasure chest cleverly disguised as a comic pop-culture apocalyptic caprice.