Review: Two Years Eight Months & Twenty-Eight Nights – Salman Rushdie

Two Years Salman RushdieMy version: Hardback
Genre: Fiction Spies, England
Viking, Penguin Random House
First published: 2017
Bought, signed

From the cover:

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  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 imagination.

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 on 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.

So, first off, you know the book is in trouble, when the blurb on the inside jacket is as long as a normal chapter in a normal book. You, the reader, and me, are clearly thought to need extra convincing to buy the book. Am I right? I’m right.

There is absolutely no point to this book. He may well have been “inspired by the traditional ‘wonder tales’ of the East” but he really should have kept it to himself. The book does nothing, goes nowhere has no beginning, no middle no end, no point. So the jinn are basically…hang on, the Black Jinn, I think it was, responsible for everything that goes wrong in our time – the whole nonsense is being told to people in our future, I think.

Who is it aimed at – kids? I think not, not with all the sexual references. Adults, nope, not after the first time the words “fairy land” are written.

It’s not about anything in particular. Look for a message and you’ll come away empty-handed. Look for meaning…well, don’t waste your time. There are some bits which, if you squint and look at the page from an angle, might be about something or other relevant, but then they’re not. If it has a meaning, why make it so un-obvious? It doesn’t have any meaning(s). It doesn’t have anything to say. Oh, apart from that suicide bombers are suicide bombers because of a distinct lack of action in the leg-over department. Profound.

And yet, I’ve read some reviews clearly written by people who only need to be told “this is by Salman Rushdie, ffs!” These people can see the Emperor’s new clothes!

I really can not be bothered writing any more coherent sentences – I’ve already written several more than there are in the whole of the bleeding book! So, here are some reviews by people with the afore-mentioned magic specs on:

The Grauniad (nuff said)

Penguin Random House (his publishers, remember)

The Independent (getting there)

The New York Times (“It’s a huge relief when Geronimo finds himself back on more solid ground; it will be an ever bigger one when his author does too.”) YES! At last, some sense.

Salman Rushdie signatureI got it because I thought it might be cool to have a signed Salman Rushdie in the old collection, but I’m filing this one under Bollocks in my library.

Don’t bother to buy Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights from The Book Depository

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