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."