NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post • Los Angeles Times • San Francisco Chronicle • Harper’s Bazaar • St. Louis Post-Dispatch • The Guardian • The Kansas City Star • National Post • BookPage • Kirkus Reviews
From Salman Rushdie, one of the great writers of our time, comes a spellbinding work of fiction that blends history, mythology, and a timeless love story. A lush, richly layered novel in which our world has been plunged into an age of unreason, Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights is a breathtaking achievement and an enduring testament to the power of storytelling.
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 sub–Stan Lee 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, who live in a world separated from ours by a veil. 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.
Once the line between worlds is breached on a grand scale, Dunia’s children and others will play a role in an epic war between light and dark spanning a thousand and one nights—or two years, eight months, and twenty-eight nights. It is a time of enormous upheaval, in which beliefs are challenged, words act like poison, silence is a disease, and a noise may contain a hidden curse.
Inspired by the traditional “wonder tales” of the East, Salman Rushdie’s novel is a masterpiece about the age-old conflicts that remain in today’s world. Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights is satirical and bawdy, full of cunning and folly, rivalries and betrayals, kismet and karma, rapture and redemption.
Praise for Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights
“Rushdie is our Scheherazade. . . . This book is a fantasy, a fairytale—and a brilliant reflection of and serious meditation on the choices and agonies of our life in this world.”—Ursula K. Le Guin, The Guardian
“One of the major literary voices of our time . . . In reading this new book, one cannot escape the feeling that [Rushdie’s] years of writing and success have perhaps been preparation for this moment, for the creation of this tremendously inventive and timely novel.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“A wicked bit of satire . . . [Rushdie] riffs and expands on the tales of Scheherazade, another storyteller whose spinning of yarns was a matter of life and death.”—USA Today
“A swirling tale of genies and geniuses [that] translates the bloody upheavals of our last few decades into the comic-book antics of warring jinn wielding bolts of fire, mystical transmutations and rhyming battle spells.”—The Washington Post
“Great fun . . . The novel shines brightest in the panache of its unfolding, the electric grace and nimble eloquence and extraordinary range and layering of his voice.”—The Boston Globe
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.
A real magical journey
Salman Rushdie's latest book is a homage to the stories he heard as a boy, of jinnis and spirits and a thousand and one nights.
The story is a well-paced mash up of myth, comic books and cinema, with some geopolitical commentary thrown in for good measure.
Not even for free
Too bad they don't have zero star rating. Save your money and spend it on this crappy book