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Rushdie's narrator, Saleem Sinai, is the Hindu child raised by wealthy Muslims. Near the beginning of the novel, he informs us that he is falling apart--literally:
I mean quite simply that I have begun to crack all over like an old jug--that my poor body, singular, unlovely, buffeted by too much history, subjected to drainage above and drainage below, mutilated by doors, brained by spittoons, has started coming apart at the seams. In short, I am literally disintegrating, slowly for the moment, although there are signs of an acceleration.In light of this unfortunate physical degeneration, Saleem has decided to write his life story, and, incidentally, that of India's, before he crumbles into "(approximately) six hundred and thirty million particles of anonymous, and necessarily oblivious, dust." It seems that within one hour of midnight on India's independence day, 1,001 children were born. All of those children were endowed with special powers: some can travel through time, for example; one can change gender. Saleem's gift is telepathy, and it is via this power that he discovers the truth of his birth: that he is, in fact, the product of the illicit coupling of an Indian mother and an English father, and has usurped another's place. His gift also reveals the identities of all the other children and the fact that it is in his power to gather them for a "midnight parliament" to save the nation. To do so, however, would lay him open to that other child, christened Shiva, who has grown up to be a brutish killer. Saleem's dilemma plays out against the backdrop of the first years of independence: the partition of India and Pakistan, the ascendancy of "The Widow" Indira Gandhi, war, and, eventually, the imposition of martial law.
We've seen this mix of magical thinking and political reality before in the works of Günter Grass and Gabriel García Márquez. What sets Rushdie apart is his mad prose pyrotechnics, the exuberant acrobatics of rhyme and alliteration, pun, wordplay, proper and "Babu" English chasing each other across the page in a dizzying, exhilarating cataract of words. Rushdie can be laugh-out-loud funny, but make no mistake--this is an angry book, and its author's outrage lends his language wings. Midnight's Children is Salman Rushdie's irate, affectionate love song to his native land--not so different from a Bombay talkie, after all. --Alix Wilber
Never would have read this book, however, I saw Mr. Rushdie interviewed by John Stewart. He was very likable. The book was amazing, I am still thinking and talking about it. Read morePublished 20 hours ago by D Seyler
Uniquely narrated, it gives such great insights into Indian culture and of course History!Published 5 days ago by Marcia Morgan
Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children (1981) is a classic example of magical realism, but it is also a satirical historical fiction. Read morePublished 11 days ago by Kit
There is no doubt, based on Salman Rushdie's debut novel, that he is a very talented writer. He writes intellegently but not pompously, he is serious and very funny (sometimes at... Read morePublished 14 days ago by Craig MACKINNON
Witty with deeper meaning than appears on the surface.Published 21 days ago by Jaiprakash H. Mistry
Probably the most difficult, but exquisite book I have ever read.Published 1 month ago by Margaret A Natalie