Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Haroun and the Sea of Stories” as Want to Read:
Haroun and the Sea of Stories
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Haroun and the Sea of Stories (Khalifa Brothers #1)

4.01  ·  Rating Details ·  22,991 Ratings  ·  1,904 Reviews
In a sad city, the saddest of cities, a city so ruinously sad that it had forgotten its name, lived a professional storyteller named Rashid and his son Haroun.' Thus begins Rushdie’s magical and delightful book, which is comprised of hundreds of stories, funny and sad, all of them juggled at once, together with sorcery and love, wicked uncles and fat aunts, and mustachioed ...more
Hardcover, 219 pages
Published 1991 by Granta Books (first published 1990)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Haroun and the Sea of Stories, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Lucie Novak In my opinion this is a book which could be enjoyed by adults and children. well written, and like most Rushdie's books MORE complex than it seems.

I…more
In my opinion this is a book which could be enjoyed by adults and children. well written, and like most Rushdie's books MORE complex than it seems.

I am NOT a Harry Potter fan. I think the adventures and convoluted plots LESS complex than it seems .
I'd not recommend Harry Potter to adults ( or university students), in my opinion those books are for under 12 y old only, but I am in a minority with my opinion.
(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Cecily
" What's the use of stories that aren't even true? "

I'm not quite sure why I picked this up (it's a children's book, and my "child" was 21 last week - perhaps I'm hankering for times past), but I'm glad I did. It has the powerful mythical feel of traditional fairy tales, with plenty of nods to classics, and a political undercurrent that tells of the time he wrote it.

It would be perfect to read to a child of around 7 to 10, over a couple of weeks (twelve equal chapters), but as a solo adult, I en
...more
Elyse
Aug 13, 2015 Elyse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"What's the use of stories that aren't even true"?
This is a classified as a children's book...perfect to read to an 8-10 year old. Yet..
now that I've read it ..( chucking..,smiling...moved...and enriched)...I can't
wait 'to play' now with this novel. It's to be read over and over. Storytelling with your friends.
Want to lie back and be read to by a close friend while sitting under a tree?
Or ..are you the 'ham' who loves to read to an active listener? This book is filled with
imagination--so why
...more
Zanna
Dec 11, 2014 Zanna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children
Hurrah for diverse books, before I say another word. I loved how this book drew on Pakistani/Muslim stories and imagery, and I enjoyed the company of its young protagonist. I'm sure younger readers will too. I was interested to see how Rushdie would adapt his style, and it seems he did so by indulging his taste for cliché and word play as much and as fantastically as possible. The magic in this fantasy yarn is all rooted in language; figures of speech come to life and behave unpredictably, metap ...more
Nicholas Karpuk
Sep 28, 2008 Nicholas Karpuk rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No One But hardcore Rushdie fans.
"The Satanic Verses" bent my brain funny. I thought Rushdie had some good prose, the ideas were interesting, but the surrealism combined with moments of silliness made for an odd mix, and in the end I left satisfied but disoriented, like I'd eaten an exotic meal.

"Haroun and the Sea of Stories" was Rushdie's attempt to write a children's book for the son he was estranged from. There's a certain sadness to the tone of the book, wherein a storyteller loses his ability to do his job, and his son mus
...more
Ken
Dec 17, 2007 Ken rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
there is something about a story written for an adult audience as myth or child's tale that i love. it seems to be more concise, concentrated, and make the simplicity of good vs. bad, and having a moral seem beautiful rather than simplistic. maybe that is because dualities were more pristine as a child. rushdie's earlier works never captured me; "midnite's children" seem windy and ornate with insufficient structure to hold up the explainations. "haroun" is still written with all the mastery that ...more
Mala
Review of 'Haroun and the Sea of Stories' by Salman Rushdie.
Shelf: Modern English fiction,Indian writer/Indian origin writer,Magical realism.
Recommended for: Ppl who oppose censorship,young-at-heart readers.

Writers are not easy people to live with: Dickens,Henry Miller,Naipaul... the list is long. But when you read a book like Haroun and the Sea of Stories,you find yourself wishing there was a writer in the family! Imagine a book written exclusively for you,a poem dedicated to you- & centuri
...more
Michael Finocchiaro
Great kid's story - my son loved it. I thought that the language was clever and creative and enjoyed the pace. The characters were engaging, funny and a joy to follow. If you have a kid that is between 8 and 10 years old, they will love reading this book with you I am sure.
Ananthu
Sep 07, 2012 Ananthu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Salman Rushdie blew my mind with his magnum opus Midnight’s Children. I’ve been an ardent fan of him since I first read it last year. Then I read the allegedly blasphemous The Satanic Verses, which turned out to be quite a good book thought it was at first a tumultuous experience. I waited with bated breath for his memoir Joseph Anton, which I, unsurprisingly, devoured. And with Haroun, Rushdie has blown my mind again.

Rushdie wrote Haroun for his son during the fatwa. It’s quite incredible that
...more
Ayse
Feb 19, 2017 Ayse rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews
Salman Rushdie wrote this book for his son, when he wasn't able to be with him. Its a book of fairytales describing the adventures of a father (who used to be a storyteller) and his son. There is a lot of impression from other books such as 1001 Arabian Nights, and other writers' and books' are also hinted in the story. The fun level is not so high but it is still an entertaining activity to read this book together with children.
Ravi Gangwani
Jul 08, 2016 Ravi Gangwani rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"There was a sad city, the saddest of cities, a city so ruinously sad that it had forgotten its name. It stood by a mournful sea full of glumfish, which were so miserable to eat that they made people belch with melancholy even though the skies were blue... In the north of the sad city stood mighty factories in which sadness was actually manufactured, packaged, and sent all over the world. Black smoke poured out of the chimneys of the sadness factories and hung over the city like the bad news. "

O
...more
AlegraMarcel
Aug 23, 2007 AlegraMarcel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: kids
This is a kids book that really is just for kids. I know the editors' reviews tell you that it will change your life, change the world, or something else great. But, trust me, it's just a cute story.

Haroun's dad is a story teller. His life is happy until one day his mom leaves him and his dad and his dad can no longer tell stories. This puts the mat risk of losing everything because that's how they maek their money. They are invited to tell stories on behalf of politicians, and the night before
...more
elissa
Jun 02, 2007 elissa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was recommended to me by Laurice as a children's novel--we both love kids' books--so I went into it expecting a children's book, albeit, a children's book as Salman Rushdie might approach children. As a 6th grade teacher, my first thoughts were that it would be too difficult to teach to my class (I prefer the teacher lens to the previous MFA creative writing student lens, but ultimately the best is when the lenses recede because I'm too far into the world of the book, which quickly happened ...more
Alli
Feb 24, 2009 Alli rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
i hate this book!!!!!!!!!!! it's so bad- what with its unneccasary capitalization, cheesy, overdramatic-ness, and just plain being weird. ugh, so bad!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hana
Oh dear. Got to the halfway mark and I'm giving up. I love reading children's books but this one was just too cutesy-wootsey for my taste and I'm puzzled to know who might actually like it. All the characters have annoying names like the Shah of Blah and Snooty Butoo. That might be fine in a ten page picture book but it got wearing in a story that goes on and on for over 200 pages with NO pictures and a horribly convoluted plot. And then there was the negativity and even cynicism that shot throu ...more
Gautam
Dec 12, 2016 Gautam rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fun-read, children
Would have loved it 10 years earlier.
Ana  Vlădescu
about halway through the book, i realised it reminded me of something. but i couldn't put my finger on it. a very annoying feeling, it really is, to feel like you've read something that sorta kinda maybe looks like the thing you're eating throgh right now.

not to worry, i realised what it reminded me of. Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

yep. Salman Rushdie's writing reminded me of a radio show turned book.

is it bad? not really, no. it didn't remind me of easy, uncomplicated
...more
Arun Divakar
Dec 04, 2011 Arun Divakar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How much have you seen,eh, Thieflet ? Africa, have you seen it ? No ? Then is it truly there ? And submarines ? Huh ? Also hailstones,baseballs,pagodas ? Goldmines ? Kangaroos, Mount Fujiyama, the North Pole ? And the past, did it happen ? And the future, will it come ? Believe in your own eyes and you'll get into a lot of trouble, hot water, a mess .

Sixty three pages into the book and this was the monologue that completely caught my interest. My first Salman Rushdie book and it was a delightfu
...more
Rach
Feb 03, 2010 Rach rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Enchanting, delightful, full of fun and intrigue. Haroun is a boy who finds his way to Kahani and the Ocean of the Streams of Story, where all of the world's stories comes from. There he not only saves the Ocean and all the stories, but his father, mother, town, and self from sadness. There were so many wonderful parts to this book: the P2C2E (aren't many things that way?), Mr. Butt and Iff, the blending and renewal of stories in the ocean. It is a fascinating narrative, full of a sort-of-dream, ...more
Megan Baxter
Jan 23, 2015 Megan Baxter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In my typical way of not always respecting the order in which things were written, I read the follow-up book to Haroun and the Sea of Stories last year, and it came in as my second-favourite book of the year. Luka and the Fire of Life was one of those books that found a spot in my brain and nestled in like it had always belonged there.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.

In the meant
...more
Zoe
Sep 24, 2008 Zoe rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-group
Haroun and the Sea of Stories reminded me very much of The Phantom Tollbooth, especially, of course, in its use of allegory.
I thought this would make a good reading assignment for a middle schooler. I can't say it affected me any which way at age 42 except that I was not immune to the horribly depressing image of the sea of stories being choked by poisons. I guess I also thought it was interesting that the son's pronouncement on the father's stories could have such a profound effect.

Salman Rushd
...more
Kristijan
Jul 01, 2014 Kristijan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Upakovano u jednu razigranu i živopisnu bajku, Salman Ruždi nam pre svega govori o ljudskoj potrebi za pričama (hoću reći književnosti), koje daju čar ljudskom životu. Osim toga, ova bajka ne bi bila bajka da ne sadrži i večitu borbu dobra i zla - borbu protiv svega onoga što ljude koči i sprečava da budu srećni i zadovoljni. A tu su i moralne pouke o važnostima zajedništva, prijateljstva, ljubavi i porodice, začinjene simpatičnim gegovima i interesantnim i živopisnim likovima.

Harun i More priča
...more
Karl
Salman Rushdie is such a show-off. A lot of aspiring writers would save heaps of money on writing classes, if they just read this short novel and asked themselves the question: Can I write something as seamless and perfect as Haroun And The Sea Of Stories? If not, don't bother.
Shriya
Jul 13, 2011 Shriya rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Shriya by: Gussie
A fair warning: everybody might not like this succinct story full of references to the need as well as pointlessness of censorship and allegory for several problems existing in society today, especially in India and the Indian subcontinent. Yes, the novel contains an allegory of the fight between the imagination, the forces of freedom, and the forces of obscurantism. But then, much like 'Le Petit Prince', all these subtle hints are well-hidden to the eye inexperienced to the genre of Magical Rea ...more
Tony
Jan 24, 2012 Tony rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: indian
This is a book for anyone who has ever said, "Daddy, tell me a story." Or for any father who has heard that plea.

And that's what this book really is, a yarn, a make-it-up-as-you-go fairy tale, that Rushdie actually wrote at the behest of his young son. Of course, like The Wizard of Oz, it is also so much more.

The clues are in the names. In fact, we are told early on: All names mean something. Hmmm. What was that Valley of K called once upon a time? Was it Kosh-Mar? Kache-Mer? And the slimy poli
...more
Gretel
Nov 12, 2007 Gretel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is about a boy named Haroun Kalifa, who lives with his father and mother in "The sad city." A city so sad that it forgot its name. His father Rashid Kalifa was a storyteller. The famous "ocean of notions." The poeple of the city loved to hear his stories, of the many heros who would rescue the princess from danger, and no story was alike. One day Mr. Oneeta , who was their neighboor, a grumpy, gloomy, and bored neighbor who always had something negative to say, decided he was fed up wi ...more
Ishita
Feb 23, 2013 Ishita rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rushdie, returns to his own familiar terrain with this book,the genre he has made utterly his own, Magic Realism. But this time it is not only a father writing a post-modern fairy tale for his son, Zafar, but also an author, who uses this facade to prove a point or two. Written two years since "Satanic Verses." Rushdie in this novel chooses a premise of a sad city so sad that it has forgotten its name. And of course a story teller, who suddenly loses his ability to tell stories anymore, after hi ...more
Regine
Oh Mr. Rushdie! You have such a way with words! It's no wonder beautiful women flock to your feet!


okay Regine, let's be serious now

Haroun and the Sea of Stories is a book that Rushdie wrote for his estranged son after the fatwa. Rushdie gives us his own version of Wonderland, Kahani. He writes about a world where stories are made, and a boy trying to rescue his father.

Rushdie gives us a book that is imaginative, enchanting, and heartfelt. Usually when a "great author" tries to write a childr
...more
Alicia
Sep 09, 2013 Alicia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant! Although a children's book I thoroughly enjoyed it. I think it would be a great book to read out loud. I loved that with my background knowledge of Salman Rushdie I could read more into the text. He wrote this book for his son, I think around the time he and his son's mum split up and also around the time of the fatwa. I think this book is certainly inspired by both and it seems Rushdie's idea was to write this book to help his son cope with both situations. I loved all the little wor ...more
Sharyl
Jun 28, 2011 Sharyl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition




What a delightful story! There are many blurbs on the back and front of this book, and I agree with all of them: it is Swiftian, it is written on more than one level (fable, fantasy, allegory), and it is wonderfully inventive. Haroun and the Sea of Stories can be enjoyed by children and adults alike.

This book was written after Satanic Verses, and is very much about the freedom of speech and the right to be creative. *take a look at the very back of the book, where the author explains the names o
...more
Tieu uyen
Apr 22, 2013 Tieu uyen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sau khi xuất bản quyển : “những vần thơ của Quỷ sa tăng” thì anh Rushdie bị truy sát. Ảnh lẩn trốn và cuối cùng cho ra quyển Haroun và biển truyện. Độc giả náo nức, người hâm mộ tò mò về cuộc sống của ảnh sau thời kì ấy. Được xem như một câu truyện ngụ ngôn về tự do dân chủ và ngôn luận, tự do tưởng tượng, tự do sáng tạo của Rushdie.
Cultmaster Khattam-shud đã hoàn thành tốt vai diễn Ayatollah Khomeini mà Rushdie thiết kế cho. Bà con háo hức theo dõi từng bước chân Haroun, cùng với sự dũng cảm c
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Into the Forest: Haroun and the Sea of Stories - Spoilers 15 19 Jan 12, 2015 12:46AM  
Into the Forest: Haroun and the Sea of Stories - No Spoilers 8 20 Dec 17, 2014 03:19PM  
resolution 10 148 Feb 09, 2013 08:26PM  
Character description 9 199 Nov 06, 2008 08:58AM  
  • The Survivors of the Chancellor (Extraordinary Voyages, #13)
  • Caravan of Dreams
  • The Black Sheep
  • Beastly Tales from Here and There
  • Bad Twin
  • After All These Years
  • Sybil, or the Two Nations
  • The Swish of the Curtain
  • The Coalwood Way: A Memoir  (Coalwood, #2)
  • 45 + 47 Stella Street And Everything That Happened (Stella Street, #1)
  • The Bottle Factory Outing (Bainbridge, Beryl)
  • Epileptic 1 [L'Ascension du Haut Mal, 1-3]
  • Revenge of the Mooncake Vixen
  • Red Earth and Pouring Rain
  • The Stone Leopard
  • The Naming of Tishkin Silk
  • Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont
  • The Little Bookroom
3299
Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie is a novelist and essayist. Much of his early fiction is set at least partly on the Indian subcontinent. His style is often classified as magical realism, while a dominant theme of his work is the story of the many connections, disruptions and migrations between the Eastern and Western world.

His fourth novel, The Satanic Verses, led to protests from Muslims in several coun
...more
More about Salman Rushdie...

Other Books in the Series

Khalifa Brothers (2 books)
  • Luka and the Fire of Life (Khalifa Brothers, #2)

Share This Book



“Nothing comes from nothing, Thieflet; no story comes from nowhere; new stories are born from old--it is the new combinations that make them new.” 53 likes
“He knew what he knew: that the real world was full of magic, so magical worlds could easily be real.” 51 likes
More quotes…