Not really a review, because much has been written already, and given Rushdie’s own high standards, Two Years, Eight Months and Twenty Eight Nights was something of a disappointment. Suffice to say:
Definitely playful and ingenious, language and content-wise, and the usual mix of fairy-story and ethnic-religious history, full of cultural references between Bombay and New Amsterdam. Entertaining, but the philosophical and warring imperialism angles too thin and a too-thinly-disguised parable for the Western vs Islamist ills of our time. I liked the Ibn Rushd roots, which I’ve previously mused lay behind Rushdie. Underlying plot components put me much in mind of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods and every bit as rich, and there is at least one direct reference. The parable however left me with little more than – life’s complicated; better to know and understand our history, including our parallel mythologies, where immediate evidence is mystifying.
Previously, being a fan of Rushdie’s work, I once ranked my readings (I’ve read others since) as follows:
Midnight’s Children (1981) – the “Booker of Bookers” – Truly majestic.
The Satanic Verses (1988) – Wonderfully surprising.
The Enchantress of Florence (2008) – Literally fabulous.
The Ground Beneath Her Feet (1999) – Comparatively good.
Haroun and the Sea of Stories (1990) – Difficult to appreciate.
1001 Nights fits in there below the Enchantress I’d say.