- Paperback: 672 pages
- Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (18 May 1995)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0099578514
- ISBN-13: 978-0099578512
- Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 13 x 3.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 225 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 191,106 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Midnight's Children Paperback – 18 May 1995
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Before Salman Rushdie had that problem with a certain religious-political figure with a serious need to chill out, he'd already shown he was an important literary force. Quite simply, Midnight's Children is amazing--fun, beautiful, erudite, both fairy tale and political narrative told through a supernatural narrator who is caught between different worlds. Though it's a big book, with big themes of India's nationhood and of ethnic and personal identity, it's far from a dry history lesson. Rushdie tells the story in his own brand of magical realism, with a prose of lyrical, transcendent goofiness.
"A magical-realist reflection of the issues India faced post-independence including culture, language, religion, and politics… It’s a truly incredible work." (Jack Rear Verdict)
"The extraordinary alchemy of Midnight’s Children was its miraculous fusion of the fantastical and the historical." (Jereme Boyd Maunsell Evening Standard)
"A wonderful, rich and humane novel that is safe to call a classic." (Sam Jordison Guardian)
"Rushdie’s novel took a post-colonial “empire fights back” spirit, and a deep personal understanding of the politics of Indian partition, and exploded them into something teeming with imaginative life… He inhabits a hybrid consciousness, with a telepathic connection to the other children of midnight, and tells its stories for all he is worth." (Tim Adams Observer)
"'Salman Rushdie has earned the right to be called one of our great storytellers.' Observer"
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It took me about a year on and off to actually get through this monster of a book.
However, the magical realism portrayed through this book is wonderful. I found it so interesting to learn about India's (and Pakistan and Bangladesh) indecent history intertwined with this story.
I'm glad I got to the end of the book as it felt like a marathon. A marathon that unfortunately I didn't enjoy
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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