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Salman Rushdie’s Newest Feat of Storytelling

New York Times bestselling author Salman Rushdie is at it again. With Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights, Rushdie weaves elements of mythology, history, love, and fantasy together. The story begins with a jinn–those magical creatures of ancient Eastern stories.

The jinnis Rushdie writes about are not his only nod to the ancient East. Rushdie is also inspired by a classic story we’re all familiar with: One Thousand and One Nights. In fact, two years, eight months, and twenty-eight days is equal to one thousand and one days. Rushdie writes:

“This is the story of a jinnia, a great princess of the jinn, known as the Lightning Princess on account of her mastery over the thunderbolt, who loved a mortal man long ago, in the twelfth century, as we would say, and of her many descendants, and of her return to the world, after a long absence, to fall in love again, at least for a moment, and then go to war. It is also the tale of many other jinn, male and female, flying and slithering, good, bad, and uninterested in morality; and of the time of crisis, the time-out-of joint which we call the time of the strangeness, which lasted for two years, eight months and twenty-eight nights, which is to say, one thousand nights and one night more.”

Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights then travels from the twelfth century to the near future where we meet the descendants of the princess jinn, Dunia, and her mortal lover, philosopher Ibn Rushd. These descendents, generations later, do not realize their jinn heritage. When a huge storm hits New York, the “time of strangeness” begins, and the fight between light and dark occurs in earnest.

Listen to Robert G. Slade’s twinged-with-gravel yet smooth voice as he narrates Rushdie’s literary tale:
Two Years Eight Months and Twenty Eight Nights