Luka and the Fire of Life

Luka and the Fire of Life

A Novel

Book - 2010
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Young Luka travels to the Magic World to steal the Fire of Life needed to bring his storytelling father out of a deep trance.
Publisher: New York : Random House, c2010
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780679463368
Branch Call Number: FICTION Rushdie
Characteristics: 218 p. ; 25 cm


From Library Staff

Rashid Khalifa, the legendary storyteller of Kahani, has fallen into deep sleep from which no one can wake him. To keep his father from slipping away entirely, Luka must travel to the Magic World and steal the ever-burning Fire of Life.

From the critics

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Oct 13, 2019

I had hoped for much more of a human interest story when I took this book off the shelf after the reading glowing reviews, but was disappointed. I could relate only to the beginning and the very end chapters. The outlandishly fanciful middle bulk of the book was overly tedious and ultimately just not for me. No question, though, that Rushdie is a creative genius.

Apr 02, 2013

Take your grandmother's Oster blender out of the attic. Mix in:
a dash of Shel Silverstein's imagination + a pinch of Vyasa's circumspection + a tablespoon of Roald Dahl originality + a dollop of Joseph Campbell's mythological mastery +
a sliver of the Dalai Lama's life wisdom...stir it gently in a rue of John Steinbeck's fantasmagorically-simple storytelling prowess...bake it onto a paper plate...and you get Salman Rushdie! HOLY TOLEDO what a brilliant mind.

I hardly know anything about this man. I heard tell on the wind that there is a price on his head, a contract out on him, paid assassins on his heels for one of his books...a big political/religious brouhaha. So was unsure what I was getting into when I picked up this book. Not knowing the bigger why of that issue, I set all that aside and dove in to Luka's world. WOW. I LOVED IT. It was old yet new. Unexpectedly fresh, clever, fun, but surprisingly woven with depth that beg contemplation on human relationships, including the one we have with ourselves.

This is an adventure of a young boy, painted with the flavor of an Ancient East Indian fairy tale, but referenced to our modern world. Luka enters his rite of passage into manhood by seeking the Fire of Life, in order to prevent his dear father (and best friend) from dying. Along the way he stumbles 'left' into the world of magic, with his dog named Bear and his bear named Dog...tried and true sideby's who dance and sing and have his back. It is a story of friendship and hardship. Intuition. Fear. Awe. Curiosity. Resolve. A story of a journey to the core... kind of OZ style. The landscapes are unorthodox and enchanting. Very witty. Sometimes daunting. Always interesting. Luka meets nonconformists, eccentrics, mavericks, has-beens and lost-souls...some who seek to help him and other who wish to hinder. He loses his life several dozen times, faces into the nightmarish angst that tears apart his belly yet keeps getting back on the magic carpet and flies. Add in herds of abandoned gods from Babylon, Egypt, Greece, Rome, Sumeria and the like, an 8 legged horse, bottomless pits, fanatical rats, the lake of wisdom, elephantine memory birds, paper airplanes and Angelina Jolie. HA! RIOTOUS!! Repeatedly, I could not stop laughing out loud every time the great god RA yelled at Luka in hieroglyphs. OMG so funny...we never do find out what the heck he says but my-oh-my my does he carry on vexed hexed and cross.

This is a hard book to review because it is so fertile, so juicy with so many toothsome threads, I cannot do it justice, other than to say...JUST READ IT. Not one to be missed. He gave me glee and grace and morsels of wisdom sewn inside folly. Genius mind. Thanks Sal for the monsters, the mayhem and the magic.

Nov 06, 2012

Salman Rushdie is a very imaginative and good author, but his character naming skills weaken by the minute.

May 24, 2011

At first, this book was a little hard for me to get into because it's about a magical adventure and I don't read too much fantasy. I'm glad I stuck with it though because I loved this book. It's a very cute story about a boy who has to go to the world of magic to steal the fire of life in order to save his father's life. He meets many interesting characters along the way, who help him and join him on his adventure. There are some good lessons, which makes this book also good for kids.

This is a fun, fast read that I can definitely imagine reading out loud to children age seven and up. Lots of creative wordplay and use of current cultural phenomenon to make the story relevant.

Mar 03, 2011


Feb 16, 2011

Could not get into this book

Feb 01, 2011

I didn't like this book as much as I enjoyed Haroun and the Sea of Stories. It seemed a bit too contrived, and the quest seemed less important and the magical world less cohesive. I found myself wishing that Haroun and Rashid played a bigger role in this book.

debwalker Nov 04, 2010

Chosen by Maria Tatar as her Book of the Year: "My book of the year is Luka and the Fire of Life, by Salman Rushdie. Rushdie is a master not just of magic realism but also of the counterfactual, creating breathtaking worlds in response to the burning childhood anxieties captured in the question “What if?” In Haroun and the Sea of Stories, dedicated to his son Zafar, storytelling is imperilled, and it is up to a boy to preserve the Ocean of the Streams of Stories and keep it flowing. In Luka, dedicated to Rushdie’s younger son Milan, the stakes are even higher, for the hero must navigate his way to the Heart of Magic and steal fire from the gods to revive his dying father, Rashid Khalifa, also known as the Shah of Blah.

"Rushdie’s cauldron of story is always boiling, and this time it contains a heady mix of mythical ingredients, along with an incandescent speech given by Luka to the gods and heroes of ancient times, reminding them that their only shot at immortality is through the storytelling practices of Rashid and others. Like Philip Pullman before him, Rushdie has created a book for children because his themes and subjects are too large for adult fiction. Inspired by Lewis Carroll (both writers attended Rugby School), he gives us a volume with cross-generational appeal, creating poetry out of nonsense and revealing that the consolations of imagination are not imaginary consolations."



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debwalker Nov 04, 2010

Magic is fading from the universe. We aren't needed anymore, or that's what you all think, with your High Definitions, and low expectations.


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