A story within a story. Magical. Mythical. And, fragmented with laborious detail as you would come to expect from Salman Rushdie.
Rushdie had an idea. To write about “a future which is a lot better than we currently have any right to expect”.
The narrative in Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights
An impending force of chaos looms. Reality starts to crumble. Mr Geronimo, has woken up to find that his feet don’t touch the ground. A baby is able to detect corruption in people. Ghosts of two dead philosophers begin arguing. Storms pummel New York so a hard crack appear in the universe, letting in the destructive djinns of myth (as well as some graphic superheroes). Nothing less than the survival of our world is at stake. Only one, a jinn princess who centuries before had learned to love humankind, resolves to help us: in the face of dynastic intrigue, she raises an army composed of her semi-magical great-great--etc.--
grandchildren--a motley crew of endearing characters who come together to save the world in a battle waged for 1,001 nights--or, to be precise, two years, eight months and twenty-eight nights.
The story features Ibn Rushd, a poet, born in the 12th Century.
How do we decide why things are the way they are? Salman Rushdie spoke to The Guardian about wonder and fantasy producing wonders:
“We all have our own understanding of what the world is and how it works. And suddenly a whole range of things have happened – what Grace Paley called enormous changes at the last minute – partly technological, partly political, the end of the cold war, the rise of religious extremism, the transformation of the world by electronic communication. Suddenly a lot of people, I think, feel a little at a loss.”
Salman Rushdie is not a typical writer. He has a style; one familiar to readers who have had the pleasure of reading his other books. He loves to explore what hasn’t been attempted before. He takes risks in the realm of the unknown, and for those die-hard fans, he is known as a genius. To others, his writing style may seem tedious and cumbersome to grasp, and impregnated with layers of philosophical analysis.
This is not your average beach read. But then, Salman Rushdie is not a average writer. One of his dominant themes is the story of many connections, disruptions and migrations between the Eastern and Western world. Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights does this with its narrative. World’s dangerously collide with characters that span over 1000 years.
This is much shorter than his other novels, just shy of 300 pages. But for disciples of his work, Two Years Eight Months And Twenty Eight Days is a "compact" philosophical endeavour.