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Midnight’s Children by Sir Salman Rushdie is all about the children born in the first hour after the birth of India as a nation – at midnight on 15th August, 1947. It is interesting to know that Rushdie himself was born in the year 1947, on 19th June.
Rushdie has an eye for detail like a miniaturist and weaves a magnificent tapestry and the book spreads out before you like a sweeping landscape with countless lives and actions.
About the author
There is nothing much I can tell about Sir Salman Rushdie, that you wouldn’t know. Sir Rushdie is a British Indian novelist and essayist. He was appointed a Knight Bachelor for "services to literature" in June 2007. His fourth novel, The Satanic Verses written in 1988 invited protests from Muslims in several countries. Rushdie spent nearly a decade, largely underground, as he faced death threats and a religious edict from them.
Synopsis of the story
The book, as I had mentioned, is all about children born in the first hour after India’s independence and their erstwhile leader Saleem Sinai. 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. Rushdie presents this novel as the autobiography of Saleem.
Saleem, the hero has telepathic powers and an operation performed on his nose gives him an uncanny olfactory ability, enabling him to sniff out emotions and ideas as well as smells.
Full of a mischievous sense of humour and wild, mysterious imagery it is a book you would love to read and re-read.
Theme of the story
As you turn every page, Saleem’s life unfolds before you, each line spiced with satirical commentary on the political course of modern India. It reveals the in-fighting of its various social and religious factions. The novel divulges itself in layers, with recurring themes and designs that grow in enormously deep and powerful meanings.
Saleem, a character you may not learn to love, but definitely is one you will not forget in haste. I would say, he is one of the most unforgettable characters who has been etched on the pages of a novel. Midnight's Children weaves an interesting tale of fantastic events against a realistic backdrop of a land in turmoil blurring the line between fact and fiction.
Awards received by the book
» Midnight's Children (1981) won the Booker Prize for the year 1981
» In July 2008, it won a public vote to be named the Best of the Booker(best novel to win the Booker Prize in the award's 40-year history)
Other books by Sir Salman Rushdie
The Firebird's Nest (1997)
Shalimar the Clown (2005)
The Enchantress of Florence (2008)
Forget the details, just read the book for its humour and breath –taking narration, you’ll love it and want to read it again, a perfect novel in my opinion.