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Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie (1 Viewer)


Senior Member
If you haven't heard of Rushdie, then you've been living under something much larger and daunting than a rock. A winner of the Booker of Bookers (an award given to the best book selected as a Booker Prize winner in its first 25 years), Midnight's Children is a semi-surreal, magic realism romp through pre- and post-independence India. Saleem Sinai is our quirky narrator, guiding us like a cucumber-nosed Dante through his own version of Indian history. The plot, stripped bare, is such: Saleem and the thousand other children born at midnight, on the even of India's independence from British rule, become imbued with magical powers and their histories become inexplicably linked to the history of their budding country. The two 'midnight's children' born the closest to midnight are Saleem, who has been given the gift of telepathy (and later, a super sense of smell), and Shiva, who possesses incredibly destructive knees (yes, knees) and prowess in battle.

I know what you're thinking: What the fuck? Is this some sort of children's novel?

HA! Hardly. As I mentioned, MC is of the magic-realist mode, meaning the rules of gravity don't really apply. It's a world where scraggly prostitutes who are older than Canada and Ireland put together can replicate any odor known to man, where Gandhi dies on the wrong date, where noses and knees guide the history of an entire nation.

Have I got your attention yet?

MC is, frankly, at once dense and hilarious. Saleem's autobiography is laced with irreverence, breaktaking language written in an almost-stream-of-consciousness style. The book is comedic, supremely layered, a challenge and a pleasure. As a reader, I let the hilarity of it all gloss over me. As a writer, I return to the novel, time and time again, to see how comedy in literary fiction is done.

A lot of people know Rushdie through one of his other novels, The Satanic Verses, and how he has a price on his head (the infamous fatwa). That's a shame, because this novel is one of those that will not only stand the test of time, but it will do so standing at the very top of our world's great literature.

I've decided that, for myself, it demeans the reading process to bestow upon each and every work some vague number rating it, so I'll end with this:

If you've got the time, read Midnight's Children.

- Fin -


Senior Member
i agree, beautiful language, fun and fascinating study ... i absolutely love the freedom of word flow... and i havent even finished it yet.. its waiting in my pile of books to finish... (which reminds me, have you read Italo Calvino's If On a Winter's Night a Traveler? he is perfectly on target when he mentions such book piles!)


Senior Member
I haven't read Mr. Calvino, but I've heard good things. Right now I'm reading The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy and, by fuck, her style is remarkably Rushdie-esque. I'm doing a post-colonial lit course that focuses solely on Indian authors. Glad I signed up.


Senior Member
ah yes, the indian lit course :)
have you read V S Naipaul yet? most indians hate him but he is praised in the classroom it seems.
havent read Roy, but didnt she also get a lot of heat from her countrymen for her subject matter?
if you want to read a fascinating book, nonfiction, about the 1947 divorce and the events and people who lead up to it: Freedom at Midnight.


Senior Member
I have to be in the mood to read any of his books, quite often I feel I am not being given enough space with the style of writing to add parts of myself into it. I know that is rather selfish but we all read with a certain amount of ourselves in the book, as in an investment. I found this difficult with Rushdie.

As to Indian writers, there are a number of amazing playwrights from the Sub-continent who are worthy of anyones attention. I shall have to dig them out for you.


When I read it, well, I had heard of Rushie, of course, but, precisely, hearing so much about the fatwa whenever he was talked about had prevented me from knowing exactly what kind of stuff he wrote. Then I looked at this book, and noticed that, oh, he was said to be someone like 'Mumbai's John Irving', and I thought he couldn't be too bad.
Duh. What a great book. The style was very fine, I discovered I liked magic realism very much (well, maybe I didn't know it was called that by then), and indeed, the comparison with Irving I found quite relevant, as both are, as far as I am concerned, great story-tellers.
By the way, I just bought and am currently reading some short stories of his, East, West, and oh, they won't last long - witty and well-written as they are...


Senior Member
Alex - I'm always in the mood for Rushdie. I let his words wash over me. Sigh. He makes me want to write.

Pebble - I read the collection. Some pieces shine, some fall a bit short. I remember, quite distinctly, the energy of the ruby slippers auction piece. If you like magic realism, I just picked up a book by a young author called The People of Paper. It's pretty experimental and I'm liking it so far.