Haroun and the Sea of Stories – Salman Rushdie (1990)

I recently finished reading Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie (1990). The book is about Haroun and his father, the famous storyteller Rashid Khalifa, who set out to save the ‘Sea of Stories’. I won’t spoil the plot, but one part of the book stuck in my head. Since it so beautifully captures what I feel is one of the most important essences of archives, namely, the wealth of stories that are waiting to be found, I’m going to post it in full.

“[Haroun] looked into the water and saw that it was made up of a thousand thousand thousand and one different currents, each one a different colour, weaving in and out of one another like a liquid tapestry of breathtaking complexity; and Iff explained that these were the Streams of Story, that each coloured strand represented and contained a single tale. Different parts of the Ocean contained different sorts of stories, and as all the stories that had ever been told and many that were still in the process of being invented could be found here, the Ocean of the Streams of Story was in fact the biggest library in the universe. And because the stories were held here in fluid form, they retained the ability to change, to become new versions of themselves, to join up with other stories and so become yet other stories; so that unlike a library of books, the Ocean of the Streams of Story was much more than a storeroom of yarns. It was not dead, but alive.”

Go on and read it, it’s beautiful.

Link to the book Open Library


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