Luka and the Fire of Life: A Novel - Salman Rushdie
Luka is the youngest son of renowned storyteller Rashid Khalifa, having grown up with his father’s endless tales of the world of magic. When Rashid falls deathly ill, Luka unexpectedly finds himself on the adventure he has always dreamed of. Accompanied by his dog, Bear, and his bear, Dog, Luka must journey through the World of Magic to find the fabled Fire of Life to save his father from death.

Luka and the Fire of Lifehas the atmosphere of a fairytale or bedtime story. At times, the story is reminiscent of the “Oz” books; Luka’s journey takes him through strange lands filled with characters resembling those from the real world. Luka’s progresses through his father’s stories as if in a video game, complete with save points and extra lives.

Rushdie’s prose is simply a delight to read, filled with puns and wordplay at every opportunity. Rather than being groan-worthy and repetitive, the text continues to be surprisingly enjoyable the whole way through. There are also tons of amusing references to everything from Doctor Who to ancient mythology; Luka encounters, among others, goddesses holding beauty contests and the Egyptian god Ra, whose speaks only in “hieroglyphs.”

The book is short and sweet, and Luka overcomes his obstacles a bit too easily at times. For example, one of Luka’s allies possesses a flying carpet, allowing for easy passage through much of the magical world. Although the story may be a bit simple at times, Rushdie’s magical writing makes Luka and the Fire of Life a joy to read.

A review copy was provided through the First Reads program.