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Haroun And The Sea Of Stories [Audiobook] [Audio Cassette]

Salman Rushdie
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Nov. 29 1991
It all begins with a letter. Fall in love with Penguin Drop Caps, a new series of twenty-six collectible and hardcover editions, each with a type cover showcasing a gorgeously illustrated letter of the alphabet. In a design collaboration between Jessica Hische and Penguin Art Director Paul Buckley, the series features unique cover art by Hische, a superstar in the world of type design and illustration, whose work has appeared everywhere from Tiffany & Co. to Wes Anderson's recent film Moonrise Kingdom to Penguin's own bestsellers Committed and Rules of Civility. With exclusive designs that have never before appeared on Hische's hugely popular Daily Drop Cap blog, the Penguin Drop Caps series debuted with an 'A' for Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, a 'B' for Charlotte Brönte's Jane Eyre, and a 'C' for Willa Cather's My Ántonia. It continues with more perennial classics, perfect to give as elegant gifts or to showcase on your own shelves.

R is for Rushdie. Set in an exotic Eastern landscape peopled by magicians and fantastic talking animals, Salman Rushdie’s classic children’s novel Haroun and the Sea of Stories inhabits the same imaginative space as Gulliver’s Travels, Alice in Wonderland, and The Wizard of Oz. Haroun, a 12-year-old boy sets out on an adventure to restore the poisoned source of the sea of stories. On the way, he encounters many foes, all intent on draining the sea of all its storytelling powers.
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Immediately forget any preconceptions you may have about Salman Rushdie and the controversy that has swirled around his million-dollar head. You should instead know that he is one of the best contemporary writers of fables and parables, from any culture. Haroun and the Sea of Stories is a delightful tale about a storyteller who loses his skill and a struggle against mysterious forces attempting to block the seas of inspiration from which all stories are derived. Here's a representative passage about the sources and power of inspiration:
So Iff the water genie told Haroun about the Ocean of the Stream of Stories, and even though he was full of a sense of hopelessness and failure the magic of the Ocean began to have an effect on Haroun. He looked into the water and saw that it was made up of a thousand thousand thousand and one different currents, each one a different colour, weaving in and out of one another like a liquid tapestry of breathtaking complexity; and Iff explained that these were the Streams of Story, that each coloured strand represented and contained a single tale. Different parts of the Ocean contained different sorts of stories, and as all the stories that had ever been told and many that were still in the process of being invented could be found here, the Ocean of the Streams of Story was in fact the biggest library in the universe. And because the stories were held here in fluid form, they retained the ability to change, to become new versions of themselves, to join up with other stories and so become yet other stories; so that unlike a library of books, the Ocean of the Streams of Story was much more than a storeroom of yarns. It was not dead, but alive.

"And if you are very, very careful, or very, very highly skilled, you can dip a cup into the Ocean," Iff told Haroun, "like so," and here he produced a little golden cup from another of his waistcoat pockets, "and you can fill it with water from a single, pure Stream of Story, like so," as he did precisely that.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Following the unprecedented controversy generated by The Satanic Verses , Rushdie offers as eloquent a defense of art as any Renaissance treatise. Supposedly begun as a bedtime story for Rushdie's son, Haroun concerns a supremely talented storyteller named Rashid whose wife is lured away by the same saturnine neighbor who poisons Rashid's son Haroun's thoughts. "What's the use of stories that aren't even true?" Haroun demands, parroting the neighbor and thus unintentionally paralyzing Rashid's imagination. The clocks freeze: time literally stops when the ability to narrate its passing is lost. Repentant, Haroun quests through a fantastic realm in order to restore his father's gift for storytelling. Saturated with the hyperreal color of such classic fantasies as the Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland , Rushdie's fabulous landscape operates by P2C2Es (Processes Too Complicated To Explain), features a court where all the attendant Pages are numbered, and unfurls a riotous display of verbal pranks (one defiant character chants "You can chop suey, but / You can't chop me!"; elsewhere, from another character: " 'Gogogol,' he gurgled. " 'Kafkafka,' he coughed"). But although the pyrotechnics here are entertaining in and of themselves, the irresistible force of the novel rests in Rushdie's wholehearted embrace of the fable--its form as well as its significance. It's almost as if Rushdie has invented a new form, the meta-fable. Rather than retreating under the famous death threats, Rushdie reiterates the importance of literature, stressing not just the good of stories "that aren't even true" but persuading us that these stories convey the truth. As Haroun realizes, "He knew what he knew: that the real world was full of magic, so magical worlds could easily be real."
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Context and Censorship Feb. 8 2004
The key to understanding "Haroun and the Sea of Stories" is to look at the context during which it was written. Salman Rushdie was in hiding, and on the run, after a fatwa had been placed on his head for writing the Satanic Verses. He was away from his wife and child (the latter for whom the book was written).
Essentially, "Haroun and the Sea of Stories" is a story about censorship. The protagonist participates in a war between the forces of speech and the forces of silence. There are two events which precipitate this war: 1) Princess Batcheet, of the land of storytellers (Gup), is kidnapped by the armies of the land of silence (Chup), and 2) the Ocean of the Streams of Stories, the source of all the stories in the world, is poisoned by the ruler of Chup.
The people of Gup are faced with a major decision. They only have resources to fight one battle and the question is often asked: "What is more important? The Story? Or the Storyteller?" Is the story more important than the ability to tell it and the person who is communicating it?
What is even more poignant in this tale is that Rushdie has made the Princess an unlikable character: she is ugly, has a screechy voice, and makes improper, invaluable, or disrespectful comments when she speaks. Rushdie was Princess Batcheet at the time this book was written. The price on his head was placed over improper, invaluable, or disrespectful comments (as viewed by some populations in the world) he had written in the Satanic Verses.
In the end, both the person and the stories are saved and Rushdie makes his crucial point: one could not exist without the other. Even though the princess is disliked, she is saved because all ideas must have the chance to be expressed- even ideas that have been deemed "bad" or "dangerous".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Required Reading for Pleasure July 10 2004
By A Customer
I had to read this book for a humanities lit class. I found myself really enjoying it. It is a really excellent book. It kind of made me feel like a little kid. It is such a fantasy story, but it isn't written for kids. It was quite inspirational too, it made me feel like everything would be ok. I have recomended this book to two other people, they loved it too. I don't want to tell you any of the plot because it suprises you as you read it, but it is a really good book. One that I would recomend to anyone who asks what to read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The dark forces of humanity can be defeated Dec 17 2003
This is a tale for all kinds of public. It sure is for children but to teach them in the most attractive way imaginable what grown-ups will understand at once. Society is divided between the people who want to be happy and the leaders who want to control them into unhappiness because unhappiness makes people controllable. Hence the fight of a child and his father to restore happiness in the world, and happiness comes from stories, tales, sagas, and all other imaginative adventures that help people be free in their minds and then strong enough to impose their freedom in society. In other words it is a tool to make people strong and satisfied. Of course one could see an allusion to the moslem world and the dark forces who try to control the minds of the people in that part of the world. But it is a universal story too because it is not much more different in our own part of the world where politicians are just comptrollers in chief of our spirits and brains and imaginations and creativities for their own selfish interest. Brilliant and to be read by all those who believe there is a possible world beyond the world of the narrow and selfcentered and egocentric and bureaucratic interest of the few who use the many to satisfy their greed for power, money and cannibalistic domination.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Adventure for Un-Grownups April 13 2003
This is the first Rushdie I have ever read. I had no idea what I was missing. Blending fantasy, science fiction, and satire in a visually stunning landscape, he gives us a blue-bearded Water Genie named Iff, a Hoopoe named Butt, and a range of people, places, and events governed by P2C2E (Processes Too Complicated To Explain).
Haroun bitterly asks his storyteller father, "What's the use of stories that aren't even true?" To compensate for this offense, he embarks on a fairytale journey where he learns how precious, rare, and powerful the human imagination is. The plot is similar to the movie The Never Ending Story, coupled with the literary traditions of Alice in Wonderland, the Phantom Tollbooth, and Willy Wonka.
The book was diverting enough to read on the bus yet underlying its entertainment value is a deadly serious subject. A boy's mother has just left him; his father has fallen from grace; the world is weeping and warring; and the little boy, Haroun, must decide "to be or not to be." He can bring peace to the planet with his powers of imagination. Can you?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Haroun and the sea of stories March 11 2003
By Kenny
The book I read was Haroun and the Sea of Stories. It was written by Salman Rushidie. The main characters in the book were Rashid Khalif(The Shaw of Blaw), Haroun Khalif, Iff, Butt the Hoope, Khattam Shud, Mali the Gardener, Bagha and Goody the Plentimaw fish, Prince Bob, Princess Batcheat, The Chupwalas and Blabbermouth. The book was very simple and I like Rushdie's style of writing. It flowed very smoothly. What I found quite appealing was how sometimes the sentences would rhyme, for example "All this bad taste! Too much dirt! Swimming in the ocean starts to hurt! Call me Bagha, this is Goopy, excuse our rudeness we feel rather droopy. Eyes fell rheumy! Throat feels sore! When were better, we'll talk some more. (Pg. 85) The use of humor, allusions, and satire throughout the book kept my attention for instances. "In it was a young woman with long, long hair with a circlet of gold and singing, please excuse, the ugliest soundest singing I have ever heard. In addition her teeth her nose..." (Pg. 102) I assume he was implying that her singing was as ugly she was .
In my opinion the theme of the book is "Stand up for what you believe in no matter what it takes." Ever since Haroun found out that his dad had lost his story telling powers, he never gave up on finding ways to make him get his powers back. He used extreme measures to retrieve the story telling powers for his father, like fighting a war for people he had just met because the Chupwalas were the ones who were polluting the sea of stories. He also fought this war so Iff the Water Jeannie would turn back on the story telling water and Rashid could tell his stories once again. Being a person who believes in the principle of chasing after your dreams and what you believe in, applaud Haroun for his actions.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
School read
Published 23 days ago by Robin Martin
4.0 out of 5 stars fine
It was in good shape, but it took quite a while to get here. I would order from here in the future, but allow a lot of thime for shipping to Canada.
Published on Oct. 8 2011 by nic
4.0 out of 5 stars Delightfully Simple, Honest and Entertaining
Upon stumbling across "Haroun and the Sea of Stories" I had no idea what to expect... and I was very pleasantly surprised! Read more
Published on Feb. 15 2011 by LeeLee
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant fairytale on free speech & censorship
Coming from a land where free speech is not a privilege, Rushdie presents a strong case on its place in society, government and in human relationships. Read more
Published on July 9 2004 by E. F. Romano
4.0 out of 5 stars Haroun And The Sea Of Stories
Living in a harsh brutal world where sadness is manufactured, three people in the entire city are happy. These are Rashid, Soraya, and Haroun. Read more
Published on May 18 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars i just finsihed it. i thought it was the best book ever!!!
Salman Rushdie really wrote a great book. I read this book in my English/Social Studies class and we all had a fun time reading it. Read more
Published on May 11 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars the words are are a school of minnow
Have you ever watched them? The most amazing part is the way the school changes direction, swooping off the other way.
Rushdie's language is the same. It flows and swoops. Read more
Published on March 9 2004 by M. Harvey
1.0 out of 5 stars Just the Asian Version of The Phantom Tollbooth
I'm sure you have all already read about the begining of the book, so I am just going to start: This book is horrible. Read more
Published on Feb. 15 2004 by Charlotte Young
1.0 out of 5 stars Starts with Potential, but the Rest is Obviously Forced
This book is written with quite beautiful laguage and wonderfully descriptive words. Rushdie's talent to form perfect pictures with words and to let you enjoy it while he does is... Read more
Published on Dec 22 2003 by Cody Thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous fairy tale
I read this book in one sitting and I was astounded at the breadth of Rushdie's imagination: I had previously read "Midnight's Children" and I absolutely loved its scope. Read more
Published on Oct. 16 2003 by Kurt Lennon
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