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122 of 128 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book to live with...
Like many, I intially read this at University and didn't really enjoy it, but there is a huge gulf between reading and studying and when I came across it again on a forgotten book shelf I thought, "Well, it won the Booker of Bookers, I must've missed something." With this in mind, I read it again and oh, my goodness, I'm glad I did. I certainly missed something...
Published on 18 May 2007 by Neil Kealey

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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Difficult, but Im glad I stayed with it
Im only 16 and wanted to see if I would handle a Rushdie piece of work. I grabbed this book at the airport before a trip to India and was at once surprised and exasperated. I did find it difficult and had to re-read many passages to try and comprehend what Rushdie was saying. But the idea, writing and ending were superb and Im glad I stayed with it, although as this has...
Published on 14 April 2001


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An extraordinary book, 11 Jan 2014
This review is from: Midnight's Children (Paperback)
This is one of the most extraordinary books I have ever read. I had never read any Salman Rushdie and suspected that I might find it a difficult read. It is in fact an utterly entrancing book. A book I just couldn't put down. Beautifully written, gripping and impossible to classify. Now I can see why it won the Booker of Bookers! Plus I learned a great deal about the history of India since independence. It is a very special book and one that lives up to all the hype. I would say that it is one of the best novels I have ever read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars envy, 30 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Midnight's Children (Kindle Edition)
This book is the type that is liable to wind up on your public view bookshelf but not on your bedside table. Many people I know have a copy of Moby Dick or The Mayor of Casterbridge or even War and Peace but they've never been opened. Don't do this to Midnight's Children. It's not as easy read but as long as you don't mind being a little tied in knots (I loved the twists and turns) you will come to recognise the genius of Mr. Rushdie. I've got a degree in English Lit and am a lightly published writer. This, I'm sorry to say is the first Rushdie I've read. I don't intend it to be my last. I am in envy of his talent,
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars makes huge demands on the reader, 13 Sep 2013
This review is from: Midnight's Children (Paperback)
I really wanted to enjoy and be impressed by Midnight's Children, as it won so many plaudits and literary prizes when it was published in 1981 (for example, it was named the Best of the Booker in 1993). A friend also enjoyed it and recommended it.

But overall, I found it too long and meandering and it was an effort to finish it. The narrative lacked pace and it just got dull in parts. Salman's vivid imagination made it difficult to keep up with the story. I was disappointed as it is a highly original and creative piece of fiction with flashes of wit which made me laugh.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hugely chaotic, gives new meaning to the word perseverance but well worth the effort, 11 Sep 2013
This review is from: Midnight's Children (Paperback)
There is no getting away from the fact that this is a huge book - huge in its word volume, huge in its wonderful use of the English language, huge in its scope, huge in its characters, in its styles of writing, huge in its diverse use of magic realism, and just like the huge country of India - completely chaotic. For all these reasons this has to be one of the most frustrating, difficult, annoying and crazy books I have ever read. I never thought about giving up, but I did have to relook at how I was to read and absorb this thing. After taking about 2 weeks to read about 100 pages I decided I had to treat this tome like a project. So I found some study notes on line - good old Sparks - and set myself the target of doing the thing chapter by chapter. It worked - nothing like taking small steps to achieve the end goal, and I am pleased that I saw it out to the end. But definitely not a book for the faint hearted.

So why did I persevere? Having lived in India for a short period of time, and being there when it celebrated 60 years of independence, this book has been on my very long list of must reads. And Salman Rushdie, as the winner of two Booker Prizes, as well as the Booker of Bookers, plus being considered one of the most influential and controversial writers of the twentieth century, is an author I felt I should read. When in India I had read the really quite amazing book he wrote for his young son from whom he was separated while in hiding after the fallout from 'The Satanic Verses'. 'Haroun and the Sea of Stories' is one of the most stunning stories I have read - it really is magical and an absolute gem to read with a child.

So I thought 'Midnight's Children' - should be a doddle. Oh no, how wrong I was! There is so much of 'Haroun' in 'Midnight's Children' - the guy is a genius with his word pictures and his captivating writing. It is mesmerizing to read. But there is just so much of it that it is hard at times to keep track of the story, or where the characters are, even who they are and what they are doing.

Midnight's Children are the children born between midnight and 1am on the night of 15 August 1947. (Salman Rushdie himself was born in 1947.) The first born baby was Saleem Sinai who is the main character, either as the narrator or being narrated about. There were 1001 (as in the Arabian Nights - the book is a tsumami of symbolism, drawn from the 300 million Hindu Gods, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Jainism, Indian mythology) babies born during this hour who are all blessed with some sort of magic power. Saleem, being the closest to midnight has the greatest powers of all - the ability to reach into the minds of all the others and communicate with them. The story of Saleem and his family parallels the story of modern India/Pakistan/Bangladesh from the end of World War I until the 1980s. It also traverses huge portions of the India subcontinent beginning in Kashmir, moving to Delhi, Agra, Bombay, Pakistan, Bangladesh and various other places. The transition from British colony to fully independent and functional democracy has not been easy or straightforward, and the book is full of the darker chapters in modern India's history - Partition itself, ongoing Muslim/Hindu conflict especially in Kashmir, the Bangladeshi war, Prime Minister Ghandi's sterilization programmes and suppression of opposition elements.

It is not a pretty story. But nevertheless I am glad I have read it, it has further broadened my understanding of this extremely complex region and population known as the Indian sub continent. If you decide to read this - take some notes with you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Glorious language but a difficult to read, 2 May 2013
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This review is from: Midnight's Children (Paperback)
Oh dear - I had to give up on this novel - I so desparately wanted to read it - I loved the descriptions of the family members and the saga-ness of the novel, but the story is so slow to develop. This is reflective of the main character, who is continually destracted and diverting. The magic and mystery is wonderful and the author has a wonderful imagination and writing style. I just wish I could have got further with this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars not for me, 12 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Midnight's Children (Paperback)
found this book incredibly difficult to read as it made no sense to me, had to keep rereading chapters to understand what was going on. the story line could have been a whole lot better and considering the story was all about a boy who had telepathic powers who had been switched at birth who was in touch with all the other midnight children, very little was written about them or the other so called main character who he had been swapped with. i wouldnt recommend this book but for some people they might think this book is fantastic. sadly, i thought it was a let down.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remaking the "imaginary homelands", 4 April 2012
This review is from: Midnight's Children (Paperback)
This is a very challenging book for the every day reader, definitely not an airport novel to skim through pleasantly. Oh no. It tells the story of Saleem Sinai, born at the stroke of midnight on the exact moment when India gained her independence from the British Empire.

The whole novel is a long winding story of his life, but going back to his ancestors and their pasts, trying to explain all his misfortunes and personal events by means of a higher meaning, with his existence bound to that of the country, the newly born country. His adolescence shares the same turmoil as India, his life the same sorrows and intricate events.

The book reads like Arabian Nights, the act of story-telling being more important than the story itself and the finality.

What gave birth to the novel is explained by Rushdie in an essay called Imaginary Homelands. Basically, Midnight's children is a reflection of his attempt to recreate his own Indian heritage, as distorted and fragmented as it is.

A fascinating read, which challenges the mind, the vocabulary and the imagination. Go for it and conquer it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Midnight's Children Review, 1 April 2012
By 
Mr. Dean Evans (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Midnight's Children (Paperback)
You could call this novel hardwork and the sheer volume of observed/researched data from India's historical landscape can be cumbersome and the language felt overly parochial at times. That said, a stand out novel all in all with the sheer complexity of topics addressed and skillfully woven into one story. The way the many charming mini stories unfold and weave is a rare find in a novel and one that is hard to plan giving the book it's famed slightly magical or unusual tone. Though how magical or unbelievable is a plot line involving a small group of gifted citizens linked by telepathy that the State then becomes paranoid at their potential power and resorts to their secret police's sinister ways to handle them. Maybe realism obscurred in a magic realism veil, thus the style of the book a cover as much as that perforated sheet ever was to the truth that lies behind it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I think needs to be read twice to fully appreciate it, 29 Nov 2011
By 
J. Willis (London) - See all my reviews
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Once I downloaded the book and I started to read it my heart sank when I realised the novel was an example of 'Magic Realism'. The only other book I've read which contained Magic Realism elements is One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez which I gave up on as my brain seemed to do a mental block when anything which I deemed 'weird' happened, which was a lot.

For some reason though I was perfectly fine with the Magic Realism elements in Midnight's Children and in fact I rather enjoyed them. I have no idea why I couldn't get to grips with the Magic Realism in García Márquez's writing as I haven't read enough of it to tell the difference, but for whatever reason, with Rushdie I was completely on board.

The novel follows the life of the narrator Saleem Sinai who was born at midnight at the exact time that India gained independence. The story has a political thread as India's history and emotional stances speed by (and clashing) with Saleem's own life. The history in the book is not entirely accurate as the book has not been researched. It is instead written from Saleem's own memories, so parts are in the wrong order or plot elements are given away far to early or late. This may give you the impression that there is no structure to the novel but there is, an almost rigid one.

Most chapters (if not all?) start with Saleem in the present who gives an introduction/update on his present life to the reader. His lover Padma will often intervene here asking questions and instructing Saleem to stick to the point. I can't say I particularly connected with any of the characters unfortunately but I was willing to stick with the novel and the overall story, it didn't at any point occur to me to stop reading.

The biggest thought that sprang to my mind while reading Midnight's Children was 'where the heck is this all going'. Most of the novel just seemed to meander through different places, plot lines and themes. I had no idea if there was a point to it all as I just could not see where it was all leading to. Normally this wouldn't bother me but at over 650 pages I wanted something other than a fizzled out ending to all this.

I should have had more faith in Rushdie as 96% of the way through (I made a note of the % on my kindle) suddenly everything slotted into place and as everything came round full circle I realised that Rushdie had had a plan all along so I was left feeling a happy reader.

Reading Midnight's Children has certainly been an experience and while large parts of it went right over my head or I lost it completely this didn't seem to matter as I always managed to keep up with the story and the unbelievably layered writing. This novel would certainly benefit from a couple of re-reads and I can see myself doing this in a couple of years time.

While I would describe the novel as a challenging read I never found it a chore but it is unlikely I would read another book by this author..
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece?, 5 Dec 2010
By 
Donald Hughes (Ruislip) - See all my reviews
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There is a great diversity of opinion among the many reviewers of this book: some regard it as a great masterpiece; others as grossly over-rated. There were many times, as I ploughed through this over-long offering, when I vacillated between these extremes! The main problem is that I do not like allegories, the so-called magic realism, having already failed to finish One Hundred Years of Solitude.

Rushdie is a natural story-teller and this is a good, imaginative story: at times, his writing is vibrant and sparkles- and is funny; at other times it drags, irritates and nothing happens for many pages. I was particularly annoyed by his "yes.....no" and "will I.....won't I" phases. I thought his characterisations were poor- I had no feeling of or for Saleem, knew next to nothing about Parvati the Witch or, for that matter, Padma. Saleem is a cold fish, with no human feelings of sadness for the many family deaths. Also, sometimes I felt the author was showing off, merely trying to impress the reader rather than tell the story.

Overall, I think this is a good book, but no masterpiece, and I am glad to have read it. I would not read it again.
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Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
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