Salman Rushdie is an author that most people know in one way or another. He is the winner of the Booker Prize (what has been called the British equivalent of the Pulitzer), he has been appointed a Knight Bachelor by Queen Elizabeth II, and has had a fatwā issued against him for his book The Satanic Verses. His latest book is Luka and the Fire of Life, a fantasy tale about a boy whose father is sick and it is necessary for the boy – Luka – to travel into a fantasy world and capture some of this “fire of life” to cure his father; but he is up against unbeatable odds: no one has ever made through this fantasy world and survived; no one has ever managed to capture the fire of life; and no one has ever made it back to the real world with the fire of life. The book was written for his second son, after he originally wrote Haroun and the Sea of Stories, for his first son; they’d each asked for a story they could read and enjoy.
During our interview, he admitted to originally wanting to be an actor, then decided on becoming a writer, which was certainly not something that was easy for him, and took him many years to hone and perfect until he became a bestselling author with Midnight’s Children. As for his use of magical realism in his work, Rushdie talked about his being raised on eastern culture, religion and mythology, and that in wanting to make his stories new and different from everything else, magical realism was an ideal fit. Luka and the Fire of Life employs elements of video games, and while this book was written for his son – an avid gamer – Rushdie admitted to he and games not really getting along, other than fun apps on his Iphone. The last time he and a video game had any sort of relationship was with the original Super Mario Brothers.
Salman Rushdie hopes readers first and foremost are entertained with an original story when reading his books, but while he doesn’t seek to use overbearing themes or messages in his work, he does hope readers will see something in his characters that will make them stop and think about themselves and their own lives. As for what Rushdie is working on next, he doesn’t have any novels in the works, but is about a third of the way through what will likely be a fascinating memoir.
The audio interview with Salman Rushdie will be available on January 1st in Episode 40 of BookBanter.
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