Harun und das Meer der Geschichten

by Salman Rushdie

Other authorsGisela Stege (Translator)
Paper Book, 1993



Call number

HN 7648 H338



München: Droemer Knaur, 1993.


The author of The Satanic Verses returns with his most humorous and accessible novel yet. This is the story of Haroun, a 12-year-old boy whose father Rashid is the greatest storyteller in a city so sad that it has forgotten its name. When the gift of gab suddenly deserts Rashid, Haroun sets out on an adventure to rescue his print.

Media reviews

". . . [a] remarkable new children's book . . . [T]he experiences that lie behind 'Haroun and the Sea of Stories' are nearly as fantastic as anything in the tale. . . . full of comic energy and lively verbal invention."

User reviews

LibraryThing member Zmrzlina
This is one of my all-time favorite books. I had never read Rushdie before, but heard some of his essays and love how he is pointedly serious even while being subtle. This book isn't subtle, though. It practically jumps up and down, waves its pages and says "Aren't I fun!?" And I can so see it
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being made into a fantastic animated film, like the ones Pixar makes, except I would not want to see all the merchandising that comes with anything Pixar.

I love how Rushdie lampoons chick lit, way before people began calling it that, and how he makes it so clear that stories are so very important. And just so his readers don't think he is against all pop culture, he does pay homage, of sorts, to a famous Brit pop group who bugged the world in the 60s.

goo goo g'joo
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LibraryThing member TadAD
I approached this with a bit of trepidation because the beginning of Rushdie's Midnight's Children did nothing for me last year. I ended up finding a story that has instantly became one of my favorites.

On one level it's a fairy tale about a young boy journeying to the land from whence stories flow
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in order to restore his father's ability to tell the tales that make everyone around him happy. On another, it's a contemplation of government, imagination, love, freedom and, above all, the role of stories in our lives. No matter how you read it, though, the book is written with imagination, affection and a super-sized dollop of humor.

As Butt the Hoopoe would say: delicious, delightful, delectable...read it again, no problem!

Highly recommended!
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LibraryThing member Poindextrix
A great story that is, in many ways about stories. A truly remarkable read.
LibraryThing member ragwaine
This was strange and fun, maybe a little too silly for me. I thought it was going to be a bunch of short stories linked together like Arabian Nights but it's actually just a single novel. The length was perfect. I think it ti would have been any longer it would have gotten boring.

As usual Rushdie
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fills the story with colorful characters and just lets his imagination run wild. This seems like it would make a beautiful graphic novel.
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LibraryThing member seekingflight
This was a sensitively told story about a young boy whose mother leaves him, who embarks upon an adventure with this father. Original and imaginative, and interesting (like The Phantom Tollbooth) in the allegorical nature of some of its material – making us thinking about opposites like
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‘light’ and ‘darkness’, ‘speech’ and ‘silence’, and the powerful nature of stories ...
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LibraryThing member thebadpandey
I dont much care for Salman's other books, but this is fabulous. He should write more kids books.
Disney should make this into a movie.
LibraryThing member ladyerin
While this is technically a kids book, really it's a wonderful story for people of all ages. This is the book I reach for when I'm feeling stressed or upset. It's comforting, funny, and sweet.
LibraryThing member pedalinfaith
A delightful parable about what can happen when imagination is polluted and the stories of our lives lose their ability to catechize, surprise, and adapt to our lives. It is a reminder that when fear, sadness, and loss of hope reign, an injection of fantasy and freedom reawakens the hero (or
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heroine) within who, by redeeming his own struggle, transforms the collective's.
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LibraryThing member myfanwy
The book is written lightly. How do I describe... it contains the buffoonery, the bad rhymes, the repetition of tales written for quite small kids, say, under 10 years old. Thus, it's at a younger age than Harry Potter or the His Dark Materials series. And yet Rushdie throws in brief glimpses of
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darkness: the cult of silence whose followers sew their mouths shut, the suicide bomber who shows up before the Prince. These seemed out of place. That is, I enjoy the grotesqueness of Roald Dahl's stories, where the horror is just in how unfair everything is and how cruel people can be. I even enjoy the horror of Barry's Captain Hook being chased by a crocodile. But the rest of Haroun was so light, so almost Seussian, that I felt the incongrous jump to sewn lips was merely nightmare-ish. The type of horror did not mesh with the rest of the story, and it was merely thrown aside rather than an integral part of the storyline.

Occasionally, there were brief glimpses of a more appealing style.
There was a wrestling match at the ticket window instead of a queue, because everyone wanted to be first; and as most people were carrying chickens or children or other bulky items, the result was a free-for-all out of which feathers and toys and dislodged hats kept flying.
Because of such amusing turns of phrase, I will go ahead and read another Rushdie, perhaps Midnight's Children, to give him another chance.

The story was an interesting one, and I enjoyed the eastern flavor, the Genies, the Shah of Blah, etc. If the child main character had been more appealing, I might have liked it more. This book seemed to be Salman Rushdie's appeal to his children to value story-telling and a pretty transparent paean to free speech. Hmm, I don't mean to be quite so down on it. There were certainly good parts and it was a quick read, but this book is easily surpassed by the His Dark Materials series, and never once touched me as Peter Pan did. Overall, a book to add to the "good children's stories" list, but by no means the best, and certainly not worthy of its place on the 100 Greatest Novels list.
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LibraryThing member SirRoger
This was one of those wildly successful surprise finds. I loved it. I'm recommending it to all my friends. Satanic Verses gave S.R. such bad publicity and now I'm sorry I never read him until now.
LibraryThing member ferebend
It's a cheerful children's story, but one of those that appeal to both child and adult alike. It's kind of like Alice and Wonderland, but with a decidedly subcontinental bent which, in my experience, is generally a good thing. Give it a shot if ever you need a quick pick-me-up in the form of an
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imaginative, modern fairy tale.
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LibraryThing member P_S_Patrick
This story has the typical Rushdie flair about it, but unlike his other stories, it is a childrens book. It will be enjoyed by adults too, so if you are a Rushdie fan, do not let this put you off. The plot is good stuff, not quite as fantastic as the Satanic Verses, but unlike that it is a story
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that a child or someone of any age could understand and enjoy without any difficulty. The book is funny and clever too, and as well as that it carries moral messages.
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LibraryThing member hjsesq
A story of story telling that can be read enjoyed by a teenager or adult. The tale that is woven into the story is one that is not only topical, but beautifully written and easily understood. It speaks elegantly and yet simply of the importance of being able to express one's views and of the need
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for freedom.
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LibraryThing member noneofthis
I might have really liked this book had I first read it as a juvenile. As it was, I kept comparing it in my head to Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series and thinking that Ffforde presented very similar themes in a much more interesting and realized way.
LibraryThing member BenjaminHahn
Rushdie likes to play with words here and infuse some of the traditional 1001 Nights elements into this short work. Not to light on the subject matter which is refreshing from an adult point of view. Some of the themes and plot devices are somewhat dark, for instance Haroun's mother leaves the
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family via an affair with their upstaris neighbor. Also, the princess to be rescued almost has her mouth sewn up with a needle and thread in order to silence her terrible singing. Enjoyable.
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LibraryThing member lilithcat
Haroun Khalifa is the son of the storyteller, Rashid and his wife, Soraya. They live in the country of Alifbay, in a city so sad it has forgotten its name. When Soraya runs off with a neighbor, Rashid loses the gift of storytelling, cancelling his subscription to to the invisible Tap, installed by
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Water Genies, from which he obtains the warm Story Waters.

But all ends well, with many adventures in between. A princess is rescued, a villain defeated, harmony is restored. Along the way, Haroun meets talking mechanical birds, Plentimaw fish in the sea, not to mention the water genie.

On one level, this is a lovely fairy tale for children. But on a deeper level, it is a story about the value of communication, and the need for balance, beauty and imagination in our lives.

And what gorgeous language! Full of humor and puns, graceful and elegant. Rushdie is having a love affair with words in this book.
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LibraryThing member dbancrof
This children's adventure novel chronicles a young boy's journey to an alien world on which he finds the literal 'sea of stories' that provides Earth's storytellers with the raw material for their craft. The boy must help the strange creatures who protect the sea defeat the dark forces that seek to
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usher in a new reign of silence. Unique, magical, filled with creative wordplay -- a true testament to freedom of speech.
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LibraryThing member kohsamui
This was a sweet children’s story. I read it as an adult because it was recommended by a friend. I would have preferred to read it aloud to a child- as an adult I struggled with it. It was well done, but I won’t read it again.
LibraryThing member Foxen
This book was a continuous, fast-paced bedtime story full of clever imaginings and funny little half-references to the real world. Haroun is the son of a reknowned story-teller who always claims that his stories come from an invisible story tap installed in the bathroom by a water genie. Haroun
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assumes that this is just yet another story, but when his father loses his story-telling ability, Haroun is plunged into a bizaare adventure where he meets many previously fictional creatures and must, in the end, save the great Ocean of the Sea of Stories itself. Like I said, the best thing about this book was its continuous inventiveness. It is full of surprising and delightful little details, and gives the impression, much like the story-teller, of simply over-flowing with fairy tale ideas. A very fun, quick read.
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LibraryThing member rohwyn
The book is an obvious allegory of events of the late 1980s and 1990s in the Kashmir Valley, but the tale is spun so well that it is easy to set aside the real political landscape and escape into Rushdie's Sea of Stories. I think I liked it especially because Rushdie borrows so many tropes from
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other children's and fantasy novels, and yet somehow, they seem completely original when you encounter them in this book. Not even Rashid al-Khalifa could have told this story this well.
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LibraryThing member ffortsa
I generally don't read children's literature, but Rushdie is so notable I thought I'd take a chance. This book is both clever and intriguing, focused on a young boy and his magical quest to return the power of storytelling to his father. Rushdie has a lovely, imaginative time with funny names,
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wonderful descriptions, and the kind of repetition that children's books and all legends employ to increase the connection of reader and tale. Characters are very well individuated and also very funny.

There is a little politics under the covers, pro-democracy and anti-totalitarianism, but it's pretty mild. More than that, Rushdie draws from both his cultures, as well as much modern culture, even the Beatles! But it all fits together, and the adventure is both exciting and funny. I highly recommend it.
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LibraryThing member RRHowell
I absolutely loved this. It is in a class with The Phantom Tollbooth and A Gebra Named Al. "What is the good of stories when they aren't even true"? is the question asked and perhaps answered by this book. Magical writing for kids (and adults) by an expert.
LibraryThing member danconsiglio
A nice little political allegory that laughs at itself when it starts to get too serious. Rushdie breaks many of the children's story cliches and makes sure to poke as much fun at as many weighty contemporary worries as he can. In the end its not about "Why can't we all just get along?" but instead
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"Why are we so afraid of each other?" A much more important question. Rushdie is a beast!
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LibraryThing member hsollom
Personal Response:

Rushdie wrote this for his son, and it sounds like a bedtime story, with funny but apt names for characters and wild adventures. Behind the story is a message about the power of speech and speaking one's mind.

Curricular or Programming Connections:

Studies of genre
LibraryThing member AxelleDarkleigh
very good story line, though the political aspect bored me.


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

18 cm


3426600927 / 9783426600924
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