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Midnight's children by Salman Rushdie
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Midnight's children (original 1981; edition 1981)

by Salman Rushdie

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
9,431161310 (4.07)1 / 722
Member:christiguc
Title:Midnight's children
Authors:Salman Rushdie
Info:London: Vintage, 1995.
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:fiction, male author, indian, india, bombay, magical realism, vintage, random house, bookshelf26, read2008, group reads - literature

Work details

Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie (1981)

  1. 80
    One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Nickelini)
  2. 71
    The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (GoST)
  3. 41
    The Tin Drum by Günter Grass (GabrielF, CGlanovsky)
    GabrielF: I think Rushdie based a lot of his style in Midnight's Children on The Tin Drum. Both books are historical epics told through the perspective of a child with strange powers.
    CGlanovsky: A boy bound to the destiny of his birthplace. Surreal elements.
  4. 21
    The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie (BGP)
  5. 10
    Kim by Rudyard Kipling (Gregorio_Roth)
    Gregorio_Roth: The book is a modern interpretation of KIM in a number of ways. I think it will complete your point of view on Imperialism and India.
  6. 11
    The Moor's Last Sigh by Salman Rushdie (wrmjr66)
    wrmjr66: I think The Moor's Last Sigh is Rushdie's best book since Midnight's Children.
  7. 00
    My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk (BGP)
  8. 11
    The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov (BGP)
  9. 02
    The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende (amyblue)
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Showing 1-5 of 149 (next | show all)
Rushdie pickles up time, preserving an era of sweet cucumbers mixed with bitter vinegar. The story was not only thought provoking but often funny. He asks: How is time recorded? Remembered? and where does the truth lie. I liked this story a lot. ( )
  Gregorio_Roth | Dec 5, 2014 |
Rushdie pickles up time, preserving an era of sweet cucumbers mixed with bitter vinegar. The story was not only thought provoking but often funny. He asks: How is time recorded? Remembered? and where does the truth lie. I liked this story a lot. ( )
  Gregorio_Roth | Dec 5, 2014 |
Historical fiction and magic realism are two genres which are seemingly immiscible and repellent - to each other - in nature but densely intertwined in this book with wavering success.

The book has a tendency to overexplain itself, historically and magically-realistically. The self-referential nature of the narrator/protagonist was fresh at first but grew gimmicky through overuse. The short one-line biographies of everybody every hundred pages was tiring. Recurring motifs and symbolisms were used well, - e.g. the re/births of Saleem, the many father-figures, - but, every time they appear, the book not only shines a giant light on it but does everything short of reaching out of itself and jabbing the reader to draw attention to it. Is it the writing trait of Rushdie or Saleem? Rushdie seems to point it at Saleem, noting in the foreword that Saleem is meant to be unrelentingly and garrulously narcissistic. If that is the case - and it seems like an easy cop-out to me -, then success! However, my low tolerance for eyerolling-inducing main characters, especially when they are the narrator, forces me to take (two stars off).

However, beyond Saleem the character, the story, historical and magical-realistic, was interesting. The large cast of familial characters calls to mind A Hundred Years of Solitude with Naseem Aziz's uncanny assumption of the role of Ursula and Alia Amaranta (whereas Emerald reminds me of Lydia from Pride and Prejudice). Metaphors and symbols used to relate events surrounding Saleem and events surrounding India were used to good effect although I may have over/under-read the importance of some. Beyond the generic India facts (used to be a British colony, rich history/mythology, Bollywood - which I think contributes to some of the more soap-operatic storylines in the book - , etc), I profess my ignorance of the events the book covers but I enjoyed the history lessons as well as the impetus to research outside of the book. (half star on) ( )
  kitzyl | Dec 3, 2014 |
An absolute masterpiece.

http://wp.me/p20PAS-E2 ( )
  jll1976 | Nov 13, 2014 |
A bit slow but promising, of course it's way too long and I had other things to do at the time so I stopped at page 300. ( )
  Evalangui | Aug 22, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 149 (next | show all)
Midnight's Children is a teeming fable of postcolonial India, told in magical-realist fashion by a telepathic hero born at the stroke of midnight on the day the country became independent. First published in 1981, it was met with little immediate excitement.
added by mikeg2 | editThe Guardian, Lindesay Irvine (Jul 10, 2008)
 
"The literary map of India is about to be redrawn. . . . What [English-language fiction about India] has been missing is . . . something just a little coarse, a hunger to swallow India whole and spit it out. . . . Now, in 'Midnight's Children,' Salman Rushdie has realized that ambition."
added by GYKM | editNew York Times, Clarke Blaise (Apr 19, 1981)
 

» Add other authors (46 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Salman Rushdieprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Capriolo, EttoreTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Howard, IanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schuchart, MaxTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Versluys, MarijkeEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
For Zafar Rushdie
who, contrary to all expectations,
was born in the afternoon.
First words
I was born in the city of Bombay . . . once upon a time.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Please distinguish among:

-- Salman Rushdie's original 1981 novel, Midnight's Children;

-- Rushdie's 1999 screenplay adaptation (with introduction) of the novel, having the same title; and

-- The 2003 stage play, Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children, adapted for theater by Rushdie, Tim Supple and Simon Reade.

Thank you.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0812976533, Paperback)

Anyone who has spent time in the developing world will know that one of Bombay's claims to fame is the enormous film industry that churns out hundreds of musical fantasies each year. The other, of course, is native son Salman Rushdie--less prolific, perhaps than Bollywood, but in his own way just as fantastical. Though Rushdie's novels lack the requisite six musical numbers that punctuate every Bombay talkie, they often share basic plot points with their cinematic counterparts. Take, for example, his 1980 Booker Prize-winning Midnight's Children: two children born at the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947--the moment at which India became an independent nation--are switched in the hospital. The infant scion of a wealthy Muslim family is sent to be raised in a Hindu tenement, while the legitimate heir to such squalor ends up establishing squatters' rights to his unlucky hospital mate's luxurious bassinet. Switched babies are standard fare for a Hindi film, and one can't help but feel that Rushdie's world-view--and certainly his sense of the fantastical--has been shaped by the films of his childhood. But whereas the movies, while entertaining, are markedly mediocre, Midnight's Children is a masterpiece, brilliant written, wildly unpredictable, hilarious and heartbreaking in equal measure.

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

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:48:48 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

The life of a man born at the moment of India's independence becomes inextricably linked to that of his nation and is a whirlwind of disasters and triumphs that mirror modern India's course, in a twenty-fifth anniversary edition of the Booker Prize-winning novel.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 7 descriptions

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