Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights

Random. Sept. 2015. 304p. ISBN 9780812998917. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780812998924. F
What if today's violence and political instability could be blamed on jinnis? That is the premise of this latest novel from Rushdie (The Enchantress of Florence). Here, the War of the Two Worlds is a proxy war between dark and light jinnis and also a war between religious fundamentalism and reason, with roots going back to 12th-century Spain and the dusty corpses of two philosophers, Ghazali and Ibn Rushd. Ghazali, having rescued a powerful jinn named Zumurrud Shah from a bottle, used one of his wishes to send Zumurrud to wreak havoc on Earth. In contrast, Rushd was a man of reason, as well as a lover of the jinnia Dunia and the forefather of the Duniazát, a tribe of human-jinni hybrids birthed by Dunia, who has a weakness for humanity. The hybrids are unaware of their jinn heritage, and with the dark jinn deploying events such as war, terrorism, and global climate change as weapons, it is up to Dunia to activate the jinn in her descendants so they can fight Zumurrud and his friends (imagine drunken jinni frat boys run amok on Earth).
VERDICT Most readers will overlook Rushdie's not-so-subtle scolding in this rollicking magical realist adventure, which is fast paced and accessible. It can be enjoyed as a fairy-tale adventure, literary fiction, or a political allegory for our times. [See Prepub Alert, 3/23/15.]
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