Literary gateway drug
Like its predecessor, Haroun and the Sea of Stories, this short novel is supposedly a young adult book, written for Salman Rushdie’s younger son’s 12th birthday. Fortunately for adult readers, Rushdie can’t stop being incredibly good, no matter who his intended audience. Luka, a boy more attached to his PlayStation than the printed page, finds himself in a terrible fix: His father is sleeping his way to death, while a shade called Nobodaddy gets stronger and stronger. In order to save his father, Luka must seek the Fire of Life—but on the plus side, the quest has many elements of Luka’s usual video fare, including the necessity of “saving” his progress, collecting weapons and keeping an eye on how many lives he has left. This delightful little novel may well be a gateway drug for gamers, with enough action to push them into a full-fledged literary addiction.