“Luka and the Fire of Life” by Salman Rushdie (Random House, 2010)

Luka and the Fire of Life

Sir Salman Rushdie really needs no introduction, as one of the most renowned authors of the last thirty years after the success of Midnight’s Children and the  infamous Satanic Verses, he has gone on to delight and entrance readers across the globe.  In 1990 he published Haroun and the Sea of Stories for his first son who’d asked him to write him a book that he would enjoy.  Rushdie admits to needing to take time to find the right voice for a children’s fantasy book, but certainly achieved it with Haroun.  In Luka and the Fire of Life, he returns to some elements of Haroun, creating a new fantasy for his other son.

Luka is a young boy with a sick father who discovers that he must find the fire of life and bring it back to make his father well again.  He travels to a fantasy world where he meets with a strange man known as Nobodaddy, who is looking to take the last of Luka’s father’s life away, but Luka must use Nobodaddy as a guide in this world to find the fire of life.  He also befriends two very strange characters, who’ve escaped from a circus: a dog named Bear, and a bear named Dog.  Now he must cross into the different lands, besting whatever is there to stop him and end his quest, but this fantasy world is a little different, for it is like a video game, where he must gain lives, and each time he dies he loses them, as well as making it to each save point.

The problems for Luka are threefold: no one has ever made it to the mountain where the fire of life is; no one has ever managed to steal some of the fire of life; and no one has escaped from this world with the fire of life.  Luka seems to be up against unbeatable odds, while this Nobodaddy seems untrustworthy to say the least; the questions is whether he will be able to make it out alive with the fire of life to save his father in time.

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Originally written on December 21, 2010 ©Alex C. Telander.

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