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Paperback Midnight's Children Book

ISBN: 0140132708

ISBN13: 9780140132700

Midnight's Children

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Book Overview

The iconic masterpiece of India that introduced the world to "a glittering novelist--one with startling imaginative and intellectual resources, a master of perpetual storytelling" ( The New Yorker )... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

4 ratings

Trust me, this book is worth reading!

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.

Smell the chutney.

Salman Rushdie's "Midnight's Children" appears to be an allegory, spiced with satirical commentary, on the political course of modern India and the in-fighting of its various social and religious factions. It is an endlessly inventive book with a cheeky sense of humor and wild, exotic imagery, but it does not eschew somber moments. Rushdie presents this novel as the autobiography of Saleem Sinai, writing from his current residence at a Bombay pickle factory under the critical eye of his frequently interruptive lover/fiance Padma. Saleem was born on the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947, the precise moment of India's independence from Great Britain and Pakistan's formation. He and one thousand other babies (the Midnight's Children) born in India throughout the hour each has some supernatural power such as witchcraft, time travel, gender alteration, etc., or otherwise is simply a mutant. Kind of like the X-Men, except they're too self-serving to band together and fight crime (and too bad, as there is a lot of narrative potential in this idea). Saleem routinely hides in a washing-chest in his house to find inner peace away from neighborhood kids who taunt him for his large misshapen nose and other odd facial features. One day in the chest, he has a strange accident -- he sniffs a pajama cord up his nose, triggering an effect which causes him to hear voices in his head and realize he has telepathic powers. By telepathy, he establishes communication with the (heretofore unknown to him) other Midnight's Children, but they prove unwilling to unite. An operation performed on his nose to stop his severe dripping snot problem clears his nasal passages to reveal an uncanny olfactory ability, enabling him to sniff out emotions and ideas as well as smells. Saleem also gives an extensive background on his family, beginning with how his maternal grandparents met, up to his pyromaniac-turned-singing-star younger sister. After his (Muslim) family relocates to Pakistan, almost all of them are killed in the 1965 India-Pakistan war, and in the 1971 war for the independence of Bangladesh, Saleem is conscripted in the Pakistani Army as a human bloodhound.Eventually, Saleem marries Parvati, one of the Midnight's Children, the witch, who bears a child fathered by his arch enemy Shiva, another of the Midnight's Children, whose special attribute is his ability to crush people with his overdeveloped knees. Shiva works as an agent for the government of India, who demand to know the indentities and whereabouts of all the Midnight's Children, and Saleem is the only one who can tell them...Like E.L. Doctorow's "Ragtime," "Midnight's Children" blurs the line between historical fact and fiction, weaving fantastic events against a realistic backdrop of a land in turmoil. Saleem is an extraordinary character, not a hero in the traditional sense but a deformed symbol, a vessel for carrying and displaying the problems and hopes of the people of India.

Detailed Tapestry

Towards the beginning of this book, there is a minor character who is an artist whose paintings have grown huge because he keeps trying to fit life into them. He mourns because he'd wanted to be a miniaturist, but instead has elephantiasis. Even though the character never recurs, I thought about him through the huge landscape of this book.Rushdie has the eye for detail of a miniaturist, but writes in epic sweeps, fitting in countless lives and actions. If done badly, this would have been nearly impossible to read, but the execution is brilliant and instead gives the impression of a huge rich tapestry running by like film.The book is about the Midnight's Children (children born in the first hour after the birth of India as a nation) and their erstwhile leader Saleem Sinai. It traces him (and them) through childhood, the creation of Pakistan, and beyond. Even though the events are crucial, to have an understanding of the plot won't give you any help with the book.My advice to people attempting Midnight's Children is to not worry too much about catching and understanding every detail. Yes, knowing more about Indian history will make certain things clear (although it may obscure others), but there's so much here that it isn't really necessary. I already know that this is a book I'm going to re-read, and that will be the chance to pick up missing pieces.One of the highest of recommends.

Empty Pickle Jar of Hope

Previously, during a scandal with 'The Satanic Verses' and Salmon Rushdie's death sentence, I tried to read his 'Shame' but was absolutely disappointed and stopped reading after first 100-150 pages. Now I discern at least two of my mistakes: I read Rushdie in Russian translation and not up to the end. 'Midnight's Children' was my second attempt to understand Rushdie, I was attracted by its Booker and Booker of Bookers. The book consists of three parts: at first I was tired with author's derisive style, then I became interested in the fate of its protagonist, only at the end I appraised author's intention and mastery of its realization.An undeniable strong point of the novel is its excellent language, a wonderful gallimaufry of indigenous words and such an amazing gamut of English that can do credit to every unabridged dictionary. Rushdie masterly wields his skillful pen, a reading of his phrases is a pure pleasure for a literary gourmet. His style is influenced by the Arabian tales of 1001 nights and - among modern writers- by famous 'magical realism' of Gabriel Garcia Marquez.The novel is an expression of author's genuine love to his native India. Rushdie weaves into the intricate lace of his story all important events in political, social and spiritual life of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh since the beginning of the century. But some of his interpretations are rather disputable (the reviews of readers from Eastern countries confirm this). In depiction of Indira Gandhi author's sharp mockery turns into blind hate, and the Prime Minister of India transforms into a real devil incarnate, a fiend that sterelizes midnight's children depriving them not only of their magical gifts but the hope itself. It is hard to understand such undisguised selective rage. The third part of the novel is the best one. Relating about the innumarable sufferings of his people in Indo-Pakistan conflicts and during formation of Bangladesh, Salman Rushdie reaches the highest and culminating point of his story.The novel is full of interesting images such as 'the perforated sheet', 'snakes and ladders' and - first and foremost - 'midnight's children'. All countries, that had passed through social disturbances and collisions, have known their midnight's children, a quixotic generation bestowed with their wonderful gifts but deprived of any possibility of their realization. Midnight's children dream that they are inseparably linked with the future of their beloved country, that they are its part and parcel with all its misfortunes and joys. They will be overcome by the persons without illusions but with hard elbows (or knees?) and jaws longing for power and money. The last chapter of the book gives the joyless and distressing picture of 'new' India after defeat of midnight children (one more image - "Abracadabra'). But the protagonist, ending his story, leaves one empty pickle jar - a symbol of hope: the children of the vanquished are al

Midnight's Children Mentions in Our Blog

Midnight's Children in The 2023 PEN America Literary Award Winners
The 2023 PEN America Literary Award Winners
Published by Amanda Cleveland • May 21, 2023
Since 1963, PEN America has honored writers of the US and across the world with grants and prizes. PEN America strives to celebrate the power writing has to change the world. Celebrating works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, science fiction, history, and more, here are this year’s winners of their major honors.
Midnight's Children in What We're Reading: 2018's Award-Winning Books!
What We're Reading: 2018's Award-Winning Books!
Published by Beth Clark • December 18, 2018

The Pulitzer. The Man Booker Prize. The National Book Awards. The Edgar Awards. All of them generally mean one thing: the books they're awarded to definitely don't suck. In fact, they're brilliant and incredible and moving and mesmerizing and disturbing and powerful and funny and,'ll just have and read them for yourself. Below are the winners of the most prestigious prizes, so enjoy.

Midnight's Children in The 2018 Man Booker Prize Winner is Milkman! Congrats to Anna Burns and the Other Shortlist Authors
The 2018 Man Booker Prize Winner is Milkman! Congrats to Anna Burns and the Other Shortlist Authors
Published by Beth Clark • October 16, 2018

The Man Booker Prize is one of the most prestigious awards for literary fiction written in English, and the list of winners over the last 50 years includes Ian McEwan, Margaret Atwood, Yann Martel, and Salman Rushdie, so the 2018 prize announcement is big! (Also, the shortlist has six brilliant and diverse novels you’ll want to read regardless of who wins.)

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