Synopsis: In the near future, after a storm strikes New York City, the strangenesses begins. A down-to-earth gardener finds his feet no longer touch the ground. A graphic novelist awakens in his bedroom to a 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 imagining.
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 in the human world.
Once the line between world’s 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.
I have to begin by admitting this is my first Salman Rushdie novel, although I’ve certainly heard of him. Now that I’ve read this, I must say his writing style is quite unlike any others’ I’ve read previously. At times it’s exciting and imaginative, and flows beautifully, and at others it devolves into convoluted rambling, which forced me into re-reading several passages.
I think part of the problem is the length of the chapters. I read this on my Kindle and most of them took at least a 1/2 hour to 45 minutes to read. Each chapter relays information about two separate characters as well as providing multiple story backgrounds and world-building. Perhaps that if each character had gotten their own chapter, things may have flowed a little more smoothly. Instead, I was left with this rather haphazard and choppy storyline which made it difficult for me to relate to any of the characters. I’d just be getting to know one person, when snap, another one would be introduced, or more world-building would be revealed. To tell you the truth it left my head swimming at times.
I also had a difficult time relating to most of the characters. Some were wonderfully developed like Dunia, and the gardener, Mr. Geronimo. They were fascinating and I found myself disappointed when the story would abruptly veer away from them. The other characters seemed a little wooden, and underdeveloped which made it difficult to care about what happened to them.
I think what ultimately made this book a difficult one to read is that it tries to do too much in under 300 pages. The story spans millennia and encompasses the historical, fantasy, romance, and philosophical genres. There’s just so much going on it’s hard to focus on a particular character or event. Despite it’s flaws though I think many readers will be intrigued by Rushdie’s latest work, particularly if you’re already a fan. It is thought-provoking and slyly humorous and ties in with our own current events quite nicely. I’m actually happy I read this because it’s made me want to try some of his previous books like Midnight’s Children. If you’re new to Rushdie’s writing as I am however, I suggest you also start with one of his earlier books. I think familiarizing yourself with his style may make Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights easier to follow and more enjoyable.