Monday, March 17, 2008

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 647
Reason for Reading : Book Awards Reading Challenge, Man Booker Challenge, TBR 2008 Challenge, Guardian 100 Greatest Books of All Time

The tale of Saleem Sinai who is born at midnight on August 15th, 1947 at the precise moment of India's Independence linking his fate forever with his country's. The story begins with Saleem's grandfather and how he met his grandmother and continues until the beginnings of the generation after Saleem. As Saleem was born at midnight, he has been given special powers which he shares with his nemesis born at the same time in the same hospital. The other children born throughout India born in the midnight hour also have powers and they come together to form the Midnight Children's Conference which Saleem hopes will better the world.

The story is epic covering so much history and it becomes even more soas events unfold and small incidences come back to haunt Saleem and lead to much bigger events. It is very hard to review this book without giving much of the plot away so I appologise that this is a little vague. It did take me a little while to get into Rushdie's writing style as it is very disjointed with the narrator (Saleem) skipping forwards and backwards in time often within the same sentence. Once I got into it, I really enjoyed it and loved the language and style. I warmed to many of the characters despite their many flaws which are discussed at length in the story.

Just to give you a little taste of his writing style here are a couple of extracts:

"I was born in the sity of Bombay... once upon a time. No, that won't do, there's no getting away from the date: I was born in Doctor Narlikar's Nursing Home on August 15th, 1947. And the time? The time matters, too. Well then: it was at night. No, it's important to be more... On the stroke of midnight, as a matter of fact. Clock-hands joined palms in respectful greeting as I came. Oh, spell it out, spell it out; at the precise moment of India's arrival at Independence, I tumbled forth into the world."

"No colours except green and black the walls are green the sky is black (there is no roof) the stars are green the Widow is green but her hair is black as black. The Widow sits on a high high chair the chair is green the seat is black the Widow's hair has a centre-parting it is green on the left and on the right black. High as the sky the chair is green the seat is black the Widow's arm is long as death its skin is green the fingernails are long and sharp and black."

I do recommend it if you can get past the first 50-100 pages and I will definitely be reading more by Rushdie in the future. I can see where Zadie Smith gets some of her inspiration after reading this novel.


Ana S. said...

I'm reading this right now and I'm enjoying it a lot :)

I really recommend his YA book "Haroun and the Sea of Stories" - I'd be very surprised if you didn't love it!

Rhinoa said...

Cool I am glad you are enjoying it so far. I will keep a look out for the one you recommended and I think I have The Satanic Verses somewhere as well to read.

Literary Feline said...

I've been wanting to try something by this author and this one does sound good. I am glad you enjoyed it!

Anonymous said...

I read this once as a duty read, because it was the only Salman Rushdie book in at the library, and I was surprised by how much I loved it. So I checked out The Ground Beneath Her Feet and read that and loved it even more; and then I was all, YESSS a new favorite author! so I checked out all his books and read Fury and then Shame and hated them both.

So oh well. I haven't read anything else by him since. I'm gearing up for it.

But do read The Ground Beneath Her Feet; it's excellent. I actually liked it even better than Midnight's Children.

Nyssaneala said...

I love Rushdie, but I haven't read this one yet, although it is on my bookshelf. My favorite is the first one of his I ever read, Satanic Verses. Great review!

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

I read this for a post-colonial course a few years ago and really enjoyed it. However, I did have to re-read the first 50 or so pages because my mind wandered. But like you I really grew to love the language and characters.