Publisher: Jonathan Cape
Length: 672 pages
About: Gifted child born at time of Indian independence
Style: 1st & 3rd person
Born at the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947, at the precise moment of India’s independence, the infant Saleem Sinai is celebrated in the press and welcomed by Prime Minister Nehru himself.
But this coincidence of birth has consequences Saleem is not prepared for: telepathic powers that connect him with 1,000 other “midnight’s children” – all born in the initial hour of India’s
independence – and an uncanny sense of smell that allows him to sniff out dangers others can’t perceive. Inextricably linked to his nations, Saleem’s biography is a whirlwind of disasters and
triumphs that mirror the course of modern India at its most impossible and glorious.
My grandfather peered around the room. “But where is she, Ghani Sahib?” he blurted out finally. The lady wrestlers adopted supercilious expressions and, it seemed to him, tightened their
musculatures, just in case he intended to try something funny.
“Ah, I see your confusion,” Ghani said, his poisonous smile broadening. “You Europe-returned chappies forget certain things. Doctor Sahib, my daughter is a decent girl,
it goes without saying. She does not flaunt her body under the noses of strange men. You will understand that you cannot be permitted to see her, no, not in any circumstances….”
A frantic note had crept into Doctor Aziz’s voice. “Ghani Sahib, tell me how I am to examine her without looking at her?” Ghani smiled on.
“You will kindly specify which portion of my daughter it is necessary to inspect. I will then issue her with my instructions to place the required segment against that
hole which you see there. And so, in this fashion the thing may be achieved.”
The flow of the book is toward the integration of a dozen strongly developed narratives, and in ways that are marvelous to behold, integration is achieved. The myriad personalities of Saleem,
imposed by the time, place and circumstance of his extraordinary birth (''So much, yaar, inside one person,'' remarks a Pakistani soldier, of the Saleem then known as Buddha, the tracker, ''so many
bad things, no wonder he kept his mouth shut!''), are reduced to a single, eloquent, ordinary soul. The flow of the book rushes to its conclusion in counterpointed harmony: myths intact, history
accounted for, and a remarkable character fully alive.
The New York Times, Clark Blaise, April 19th 1981 for full review click here
Not so good:
As must be clear by now, no one should pick up Midnight’s Children in the expectation of a rousing good story, Western-style. Whatever larger narrative movement it possesses is constantly
impeded, dammed up, clogged.
The New York Book of Reviews, Robert Towers, September 24th 1981 for full review click here
About the author
Salman Rushdie was born in Bombay in June 1947. His fourth novel, The Satanic Verses (1988), lead to the Iranian leadership issuing a fatwa against him. Despite the fatwa the novel was shortlisted
for the Booker Prize and won the Whitbread Novel Award in 1988. Salman Rushdie continued to write and publish books, including a children’s book, Haroun and the Sea of Stories (1990). Salman Rushdie
became a KBE in 2007.