{Review}: Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights by Salman Rushdie

I have so many thoughts about this book, it’s hard to know where to begin.

First, I have to confess that though I knew of Salman Rushdie, thanks to his notoriety, this is the first book of his I’ve actually read. And now, I’m wondering what I’ve been missing all this years. I was only a few pages into this stunning novel before I knew I’d be adding his other titles to my TBR list.

Let me also say this: the older I get, the more pleasure I get out of reading. Being able to bring my 36 years of experience with the world makes reading a much richer experience as I’m able to pick up on cultural allusions and subtexts that would go over the heads of younger, less experience readers.

Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights is what I would call magical realism, is an allegory for our times. Rushdie rips off the veil of complacency, so that we can not ignore, or unsee, the terrible things that the human race has wrought upon itself. We cannot absolve ourselves of our responsibility  and cannot use ignorance as an excuse. Here are our choices: we change, we fight to change or we accept the terrible state of the world and let it lie. We can leave the mess for someone else, in some other time, if we want to. The consequences for all those choices are dire. It’s a case of damned if we do, damned if we don’t.

In this book, the worst thing that happens is truth-telling. It’s the thing that knocks down the house of cards, and does everyone in. The truth-teller takes an unexpected, but not surprising, form.
A few weeks ago, right when I was getting into the thick of this book, I was driving my usual route home that takes me down a winding, sylvan road lined with modest and not-so-modest homes. And I struck by a terrible thought:

Behind closed doors in every town in America, horrible, unspeakable things are happening everyday and we just don’t know until we know. Then, we take a collective gasp and ask, “how could this happen right in front of us?” 

Indeed. How could it? And what is our responsbility?

Besides the allegorical message, readers will be taken in by the powerful imagery, the explicit character development, the stream-of-consciousness pace of the storytelling. I have the ebook but will be getting a paper copy for my shelf, to be re-read in a few years. It feels prophetic, this book.

{I received a  complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley for review purposes.  This post contains affiliate links.}