211 of 217 people found the following review helpful
Trust me, this book is worth reading!,
This review is from: Midnight's Children (Paperback)
This is, in every way, a perfect novel. Both humorous and heartbreaking. I found myself deeply moved and very suprised that I enjoyed this novel as much as I did. I have never been very interested in Indian history, and knew close to nothing about it. But upon reading this novel, I found myself drawn into the rich fictional history of the Aziz family, as well as the equally rich history of India. Rushdie may have ruined reading for me, as every book I read will now have much higher standards! Not for light reading, though. I imagine this is a book that you could read over and over and still find something new each time. This is a tough novel, and it takes a lot of work to truly "get it". The only reason I stuck with it is because I had to for class. But it was very rewarding in the end. The novel reveals itself in layers, with recurring themes and motifs that grow in extremely deep and powerful meanings. The character of Saleem, self-described savior of India, is one of the most memorable characters to have graced the pages of a novel. I have heard some people say that this book is a let down in the end, as though it never comes to a full climax. In answer to that: I felt that was the whole point. Saleems dreams are always dreams, they are never completely realized. The language is beautiful and lyrical, and the plot is highly detailed, as though each sentence was carefully planned. Rushdie may be the ultimate architect of this century when it comes to plot building. As a writer myself, I was both green with envy and speechless with awe over this novel. I have never read anything else by Rushdie, but now I definitly plan to!
A couple of tips:
1. There are many different characters, so you may want to make a family tree to keep track.
2. Pay close attention to Rushdie's use of color in the novel, particularly green, saffron and blue, as well as numbers.
3. The narrator, Saleem, breaks away from linear storytelling in a big way. Often, the story jumps around and he gives a lot of foreshadowing. It helps to let go of our western idea of time (i.e. events happening in a timeline) and just let the story unfold. Trust me, once you can let go of your confusion and just let it be, the reading becomes much easier! Also, it's interesting to consider what he chooses to tell us ahead of time, and what he doesn't.
And finally, you will definitly want to brush up on your Indian history! I'm not talking a whole lot, just an Encarta article or something so you know what's going on. Also, when historical figures are mentioned in the book, you should do a little research and find out more about them. This is especially true for the political figures, such as Indira Ghandi.
Like I said, this book is A LOT of work, but worth all the effort.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 10, 2009 8:09:20 AM PST
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 16, 2011 4:01:16 PM PDT
A Bookworm says:
You probably got it all wrong. I am now more than halfway through the book and "Warring with Pakistan" doesn't even occur, except as a passing mention. This book actually starts off from India's struggle for independence, the initial post independence era with 5 year plans, elections, language wars, and more. it also incorporates, in passing, about Kashmiris and the 'rest of India'.
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