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Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
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Midnight's Children (original 1981; edition 1991)

by Salman Rushdie

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
10,243187281 (4.05)1 / 820
Member:HelenGress
Title:Midnight's Children
Authors:Salman Rushdie
Info:Penguin Books (1991), Paperback, 552 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:India, Pakistan, civil war, mystery, Saga

Work details

Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie (1981)

  1. 100
    One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Nickelini)
  2. 71
    The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (GoST)
  3. 51
    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. 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.
  5. 10
    Train to Pakistan by Khushwant Singh (pamelad)
    pamelad: Also set during Partition.
  6. 21
    The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie (BGP)
  7. 00
    My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk (BGP)
  8. 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.
  9. 11
    The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov (BGP)
  10. 01
    Island of a Thousand Mirrors: A Novel by Nayomi Munaweera (evilmoose)
  11. 03
    The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende (amyblue)
1980s (9)
1960s (139)
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English (176)  Spanish (2)  French (2)  Dutch (2)  Czech (1)  Danish (1)  Finnish (1)  Hebrew (1)  Polish (1)  All (187)
Showing 1-5 of 176 (next | show all)
Set in India the is an intriguing story of the connections of a uniques group of children from a range or areas in India and who have magical powers. Also made in to a film
  Annabel1954 | Nov 20, 2016 |
I heard about Salman Rushie when a death sentence was announced for him, and I just never could get interested in him. However, this book was really incredibly good and I highly recommend. The style, the words, just reading it was a treat. There were parts i couldn't totally follow and got too complex for an audiobook (it's hard to go back and reread a section when you're in the middle) but, other than that, was a pleasure to read. ( )
  marshapetry | Oct 14, 2016 |
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. ( )
  askajnaiman | Jun 14, 2016 |
Didn't finish
  TheDenizen | May 31, 2016 |
Midnight’s Children - Rushdie - Published 1981
audio performance by Lyndam Gregory
4 stars

Saleem Sinai is born, in Bombay, on the exact stroke of midnight of August 15, 1947. The story of his life parallels the birth and growing pains of independent India. As he tells the convoluted story of his life, Saleem takes great care to emphasize his connection to the history of his country. And if Saleem is to be believed, we see how the timing of his birth endows him with unique powers to influence events.

The question is whether Saleem is to be believed. The title Midnight’s Children derives from Saleem’s belief that he is in telepathic communication with every Indian child born during the midnight hour of August 15,1947. Each of the ‘children’ has a particular magical gift; gifts which are described, but which, for the most part, play little part in the actual story. If Saleem is a reliable narrator, this book is a masterpiece of magical realism. That is what I thought it would be when I started reading it. More than 600 pages later, I have a different opinion. I think, Saleem is insane. He is traumatically damaged, manic, and schizophrenic. In his madness he sees every aspect of his life directly impacting events. He sees the symbolic nature of his own existence. And his madness is the overriding metaphor of an independent India.

I had both audio and printed versions of this book. Either way, I found it exhausting to ‘listen’ to Saleem expound on the events of his life. His voice is very strident; ‘See,see,see, this is how these things are connected, this why that small event is so important.’ Sometimes I felt like he was beating me over the head. Delusional, manic, pressured speech; I felt like he needed to be medicated.

On the other hand, he was a great storyteller. There are over 100 vibrant characters, described in humorous detail (with a great deal of symbolic attention paid to body parts and body secretions). These characters encompass India’s many castes, economic classes, religions, and political parties. There are many farcical, almost slapstick events, to counterbalance the personal and national tragedies that occur in Saleem’s story. I enjoyed these characters. If Rushdie creates them with cynical satire, there is also affection. Rushdie also uses Saleem’s voice to make some brilliant, biting, social commentary. This book wasn’t what I expected, magical realism in an exotic setting. That doesn’t make it less impressive. This story is insanely surreal. Although I like straightforward historical fiction better, this may be the best way to tell the reality of 20th century India.
( )
  msjudy | May 30, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 176 (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 editionscalculated
Capriolo, EttoreTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davidson, AndrewCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Howard, IanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schuchart, MaxTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Versluys, MarijkeEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
For Zafar Rushdie
who, contrary to all expectations,
was born in the afternoon.
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I was born in the city of Bombay . . . once upon a time.
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(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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:44 -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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