Challenging the human brain for it’s imagination, and developing a fizz that would refuse to die soon BY YUGANSHA MALHOTRA
Two Years Eight Months and Twenty Eight Nights is a breathtaking novel, by one of our master novelists, and is an enduring testament to the power of storytelling. Rushdie concocts a fantastic fable about colliding worlds. Sometime in the near future, a storm reopens the slits between the Earth and a jinni-filled realm above. A war with familiar stakes begins. It pits reason against fear-based religious fervor, and wreaks havoc for 1,001 nights.
This fantastic tale begins with a love story that presages the war to come. It concentrates on the life of the rational Muslim philosopher Ibn Rushd, who lived and taught in Arab Spain at the end of the 12th century. One day, a beautiful orphaned girl who calls herself Dunia arrives at his door, being a rational man, whose perspectives centres around the logical reasoning, Ibn Rushd doesn’t guess that she is a jinnia, a great princess of those supernatural creatures who are made of smokeless fire, possessing charm and the ferocity to control the mankind. The jinns are fascinated by the human species, and Dunia more than the most. In her quest to subtly postulate herself as a normal woman, she soon starts her relation with Ibn Rushid, giving birth to many jinns, who are taken care of but not accepted by Ibn Rushid. Centuries later, the jinns scattered all around the world, and create havoc that would last two years, eight months and 28 nights, that is 1,001 nights.
The jinns from the other world have infiltrated the human world, and are keen to gather their forces so as to unleash their wrath upon them. The war lasts for 1,001 nights, bringing in a wave of chaos, strangeness and catastrophe. The only one jinn that stands against the dark ones is Dunia, who brings together all her descendants, who are essentially halfhuman and half-jinn in nature, to battle the dark forces. They are all endowed with certain strangeness of their own, which would help them to win this war against the jinns of dark nature. Geronimo Manezes, a Mumbai-born gardener now living in New York, has begun to levitate, in complete harmony with the wave of strangeness that is gripping everyone around. The British composer Hugo Casterbridge, the young Indian-American graphic novelist Jimmy Kapoor and a femme fatale called Teresa Saca, are the other major descendants of Dunia, who has to be woken up to their jinni power, in order to bring back the peace in the world.
Rushdie’s new novel is amazingly visualistic in nature, assuring the reader of an imagination that would render them breathless, and make them fathom the power of words. Sustaining his realm in the literature world, he has produced a masterpiece that would fascinate the readers at large. A bit lengthy in nature, the reader might feel it to be stretched much more than it should be, but that’s the expertise of author Salman Rushdie is, the length of the book fails to dissuade the reader, and holds their imagination till the end. The idea of the story makes one question about the existing and conformist ideas, philosophies, religion, faiths, nations and art forms. The story is a parable about humanity’s struggle between superstition and reason. He creeps into one’s mind, slowly and stealthily, managing to entice one with sheer intensity of his imagination.