Luka and the Fire of Life

Publisher: Vintage Canada

“You’ve reached the age at which people in this family cross the border into the magical world. It’s your turn for an adventure—yes, it’s finally here!” So says Haroun to his younger brother, twelve-year-old Luka, in Salman Rushdie’s thrilling, delightful, lyrically crafted fable for the young and young at heart.

The adventure begins one beautiful starry night in the land of Alifbay, where a terrible thing happens: Luka’s father, Rashid, the legendary storyteller of Kahani, falls suddenly and inexplicably into a sleep so deep that nothing and no one can rouse him. To save him from slipping away entirely, Luka must embark on a journey through the world of magic with his loyal companions, Bear the dog and Dog the bear, as they encounter a slew of fantastical creatures, strange allies, and challenging obstacles along the way—all in the hopes of stealing the Fire of Life, a seemingly impossible and exceedingly treacherous task.


Chapter One
The Terrible Thing That Happened on the Beautiful Starry Night

There was once, in the city of Kahani, in the land of Alifbay, a boy named Luka who had two pets, a bear named Dog and a dog named Bear, which meant that whenever he called out, “Dog!” the bear...
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1. Luka and the Fire of Life was written for Rushdie's son Milan - in fact, Luka is Milan. How do you think Milan will like his gift?

2. What do you think of the fact that Rushdie models the story on the narrative of a video game? Would it make the story appeal more to kids, or is it just awkward?


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A Guardian Book of the Year
A New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice

“Ebullient, playful language and literary allusions galore...make this...fantasy a good candidate for reading aloud.” Toronto Star
“A boisterous adventure tale.... Luka, like the best folkloric children’s tales, is full of grotesque images, both funny and disturbing.” Maclean’s
“Rushdie once again demonstrates his prowess as a great storyteller.... A treasure chest of language and wit, and a stupendous adventure of the imagination.” Winnipeg Free Press
“A whirligig tour of mythologies, literatures and pop culture.” National Post

“A rollicking adventure tale.” The Globe and Mail
“Rushdie’s lavish prose has the power to mesmerize and enthrall.... A clever appeal to modern juvenile sensibilities.... The book flings forth an extravagance of intoxicating joys.” TIME
“A magical fable fueled by constant fun.” The Washington Post
“Exuberant.” The New York Times Book Review
“Marvelously original.... Startlingly beautiful.... An eloquent example of the games a fine storyteller can play.” The Independent