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Haroun and the Sea of Stories

(Khalifa Brothers #1)

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  28,976 ratings  ·  2,410 reviews
Alternate cover for this ISBN can be found here

Discover Haroun and the Sea of Stories, Salman Rushdie’s classic fantasy novel

 Set in an exotic Eastern landscape peopled by magicians and fantastic talking animals, Salman Rushdie's classic children's novel Haroun and the Sea of Stories inhabits the same imaginative space as The Lord of the Rings, The Alchemist, and The Wiza
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published August 27th 1999 by Viking Children's Books (first published 1990)
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Debby Dietrich This is a magical book. It was summer reading for my son going into 9th grade and this book seemed to have a high level of appeal to him and his class…moreThis is a magical book. It was summer reading for my son going into 9th grade and this book seemed to have a high level of appeal to him and his classmates as well as myself. While I love the Harry Potter series and they both deal with magic, I would say the two tales are of a very different type. There is much more focus on the tension that too often exists between middle school children in school situations in Harry Potter. (less)

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Average rating 4.01  · 
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 ·  28,976 ratings  ·  2,410 reviews

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Start your review of Haroun and the Sea of Stories (Khalifa Brothers, #1)
" 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
Elyse  Walters
Aug 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
"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
Dec 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it it was ok
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
L.S. Popovich
I'm surprised that Viking listed this as a children's literature. There's nothing risque in it of course, and it is structured a little like Alice in Wonderland, but I think it will appeal to both children and adults with its playful style and malleable language. There are a lot of puns, rhymes and plentiful wordplay.

Rushdie is ceaselessly inventive, and his stories within stories are both traditionally complex, and compulsively readable. I quite like the central symbol of the source for all the
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- & centuries later people wondering 'Who was the Dark Lady of the Sonnets?', 'who was Lucy/Fanny Browne?' & so on!

Rushdie had dedicated his 'Midnight's Children' to his first-born Zafar, & he wanted another book writt
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.
Dec 17, 2007 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
Sep 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Alegra Loewenstein
Aug 23, 2007 rated it it was ok
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
Richard Derus
Dec 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read at my girl's behest in, I think, 500BCE. A delight of a tale! Rushdie wrote the 2019 Booker shortlister Quichotte, which I disliked as much as I liked this book. I wonder if the audience focus of the two accounts for the disparity of response? ...more
Zoe's Human
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: folks looking for light reading that isn't insipid
Shelves: lt
Charming, magical, hilarious. Haroun and the Sea of Stories feels like a fairy tale, moves like a fantasy adventure, and reads like literary fiction. It's absolutely appropriate and delightful for all ages. The prose is gorgeous.
Feb 19, 2017 rated it liked it
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.
Kevin Ansbro
A fantastically preposterous carpet ride with magicians, genies and goblins. An oceanic library of stories aimed primarily at children, but also likely to please adults who haven't yet succumbed to cynicism and whose imaginations haven't yet withered on life's vine.
Riotous, hugely imaginative and funny to its core.
Those of you who have young children, read this out loud to them at bedtime, for you will get just as much fun out of it as they will!
Ravi Gangwani
Jul 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
"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. "

Aug 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Suddenly the literary bigwigs--I'll simply blame the mystically average time between millennium switches--they decided to go further. Excellent bodies of work, of cleaving unto Madame Zeitgeist, would be on hold temporarily for something avant garde (that is, for drama heavy realities that win awards and make average films): fantasy fiction. Many came to the call: American Michael Cunningham had his SPECIMEN DAYS, English Kazuo Ishiguro did THE BURIED GIANT. Canadian Margaret Atwood's MADDADAM T ...more
Megan Baxter
Jan 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 12, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fun-read, children
Would have loved it 10 years earlier.
Jun 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 24, 2009 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!!!!!!!!!!!!
Arun Divakar
Dec 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 14, 2015 rated it did not like it
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
Jan 24, 2012 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
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
Jul 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Sep 24, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Jun 28, 2011 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
Ana Lopes Miura
Oct 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is in my Top Ten Fave Books Ever! Literature snobs laugh at me because this, and not ¨Midnight´s Children¨ is my favorite Rushdie. Well, screw them, because this is one of the most magical, colorful,poetic, and downright readable books in existence.
Try this. You won´t regret it.
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.
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Into the Forest: Haroun and the Sea of Stories - Spoilers 15 26 Jan 12, 2015 12:46AM  
Into the Forest: Haroun and the Sea of Stories - No Spoilers 8 21 Dec 17, 2014 03:19PM  
resolution 10 156 Feb 09, 2013 08:26PM  
What's the Name o...: SOLVED. Storyteller's son rides bird to fantasy moon [s] 8 26 Jul 27, 2010 02:55PM  
Character description 9 212 Nov 06, 2008 08:58AM  

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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

Other books in the series

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

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