Friday, April 29, 2005

The Ocean of Notions & The Shah of Blah

...And in the depths of the city, beyond an old zone of ruined buildings that looked like broken hearts, there lived a happy young fellow by the name of Haroun, the only child of the storyteller Rashid Khalifa, whose cheerfulness was famous throughout that unhappy metropolis, and whose never-ending stream of tall, short and winding tales had earned him not one but two nicknames. To his admirers he was Rashid the Ocean of Notions, as stuffed with cheery stories as the sea was full of glumfish; but to his jealous rivals he was the Shah of Blah.
--Salman Rushdie, from Haroun and the Sea of Stories.

Rushdie is the greatest contemporary author; generations from now, high school English students will be forced to read him much like I was forced to read Steinbeck. Although had they not forced me to read Grapes of Wrath, I may have enjoyed it. I loved Dostoevsky despite having Crime & Punishment fed to me by a grandmotherly English teacher, so maybe I should say that future generations will discover Rushdie in spite of high school reading lists that will no doubt include Midnight's Children or The Moor's Last Sigh.

So that is what we're here for--to find all the good stories and watch them swim swirl together.

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