Like Dr. Seuss for adults, Haroun and the Sea of Stories is a lyrical, elegantly written fantasy about a place where stories well up as a rainbow of soothing water to wash away the world's sorrows. Haroun is a young boy whose father is a master storyteller who loses his talents when his wife leaves him for another man. Haroun and his father go on a strange adventure to fight the evil shadow king, Kattam-Shud, who is polluting the Sea of Stories.
Although appropriate for teens and older children, this book has more than enough symbolism and profundity to satisfy adult readers. Rushdie presents a world of good and evil that seems very influenced by Hinduism. The heroes needn't destroy the evil, so much as bring it into balance. Respect for the environment and respect for stories and human imagination are central themes to this novel. It isn't just good and evil and light and darkness that need to be balanced, it is also reality and fantasy. Haroun wants truth, while his father offers fiction. Until they can come together and balance each other out, they will never achieve the harmony necessary to entice Haroun's mother to return.