That Rushdie really is a legend

From a death sentence to kids books — is there no end to Salman Rushdie’s talents?

The man who so horrified the religious leaders of Iran that they put a price on his head is back next week with “Luka and the Fire of Life,” a classic quest myth exploring the relationships between fathers and sons and, because this is Rushdie, the notion of real and imagination.

The book is a companion of sorts to his prior entry into the kids book canon: “Haroun and the Sea of Stories,” a phantasmagorical story written for his then 9-year-old son, Zafur (this one is for his second son, Milan).

The result is a book as enjoyable for adults as it is for its intended audience (though it’s unlikely that the ayatollah will like it, but he hates everything).

“I’ve always thought the movies are better at this than novels — ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ ‘Avatar,’ and many other films just get rid of the question of who the ideal audience is,” said Rushdie, best known for “Midnight’s Children” and “The Satanic Verses,” the 1989 novel that earned him the fatwa.

“Everyone goes and gets his or her own kind of pleasure. That was the greatest delight of the reception of ‘Haroun and the Sea of Stories’ 20 years ago — that adults found one kind of pleasure in it and children, another. I hope that ‘Luka and the Fire of Life’ can work the same magic.”

Salman Rushdie at powerHouse Arena [37 Main St. at Water Street in DUMBO, (718) 666-3049], Nov. 16 at 1 pm. Free. For info, visit www.powerhousearena.com.


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