Midnight's Children

Midnight's Children

A Novel

Book - 1981 | First American edition.
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Saleem Sinai is born at the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947, the very moment of India's independence. Greeted by fireworks displays, cheering crowds, and Prime Minister Nehru himself, Saleem grows up to learn the ominous consequences of this coincidence. His every act is mirrored and magnified in events that sway the course of national affairs; his health and well-being are inextricably bound to those of his nation; his life is inseparable, at times indistinguishable, from the history of his country. Perhaps most remarkable are the telepathic powers linking him with India's 1,000 other "midnight's children," all born in that initial hour and endowed with magical gifts.

This novel is at once a fascinating family saga and an astonishing evocation of a vast land and its people-a brilliant incarnation of the universal human comedy. Midnight's Children stands apart as both an epochal work of fiction and a brilliant performance by one of the great literary voices of our time.
Publisher: New York : Knopf, 1981.
Edition: First American edition.
Copyright Date: ©1980
ISBN: 9780676970654
Branch Call Number: RUS
Characteristics: 446 pages ;,25 cm


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Midnight's Children won the Man Booker Prize in 1981

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May 11, 2019

I slogged through "Midnight's Children" for a book group assignment. It's not an easy read, nor did I enjoy it; though some of the passages are funny, like his mom's "wrong number" phone calls, others such as the war section are horrifying. I can't explain why this book won any awards or acclaim. None of the characters are at all likable or sympathetic, the female characters are either hapless or just evil, and the main emotion the book evoked for me was disgust. In brief, I was glad when it was over!

Jul 03, 2017

This book is heavy going. I don't mean dark and disturbing, although there are parts that make you shudder. The language is complex; there are numerous characters, some of whom change their name just to confuse you; you need an atlas to keep track of where you are; and mostly, you need a bit of knowledge of the history of the independence and partition of India that created the new Moslem country of Pakistan. I did enjoy the book as I tried to keep up with Saleem and his account of his life as one of the 1001 children born at midnight on India's independence day. These children represented the new India and all the possibilities that flowed from the new freedom. Each had special powers, Saleem's being the ability to communicate with all of them at a distance through his mind. He had hopes that the group would work for a better India, but of course not all the children were of like mind, especially Shiva. Reading this novel is challenging and not for everyone's taste, but I felt the effort, and the four weeks I put in, were worth it.

Nov 02, 2016

I would recommend this book to people with a high reading level. Great vocabulary and a great story line. it took me a couple of chapters to understand the book, but after that, amazing. Award winning literature!

Jul 30, 2016

If you can get past the premise of this story (which is rather ridiculous), you'll be rewarded with a wonderfully engaging tale that both entertains and teaches something of India's history.

kevinpaul Oct 21, 2014

I have just had to put a second hold on this gem so I can finish it. I've complained about how difficult it is. At times I felt like I was making to progress. But it is wonderful and I cannot stop until I finish. It's not for everybody, but many will fall in love with it.

Feb 01, 2014

Gail Von Oxlade's Favourite Book

geezr_rdr Jun 24, 2013

Maybe this is supposed to be a Catch-22 style description on India's history and partition, but I did not enjoy the prose style and totally missed any insight by this (revierered) author. Very hard to get through and definitely not worth the effort.

Mar 05, 2013

This is one of the most difficult yet satisfying reads i have had in years. Its layer upon layer of metaphors to represent the rise and fall of the main character Saleem as compared to his twin sister, the country of India itself, who were both born on midnight aug 15, 1957. The turbulent times is reflected in Saleems life. Themes of sound, exile, mirror actions, the family nucleus, parts being broken, and parts seen to represent the whole person enterweve between the two. Its a story about a boy growing with the story of India written on his face... literally. While reading this novel keep a note pad available and write down characters names or else you will get lost. There is some 100 plus characters that move the plot along, and some of these characters change their name along the way to further confuse you. The main story is 1000 people born the hour India gets its independance from England, and each has their own power or magic that sets them apart from normal people. Saleems power is to be able to talk to anyone at a distance... even thousands of miles away. It explores the possibility of these new breed of people and what they can do to make a better India, but will India let them. If this book is too much for you then try reading JOHN WYNDHAM - THE CRYSALIDS. Rushdie actually took his initial idea for this novel from that one, a 1950 sci-fi novel about kids growing in a post apocholypse society where anyone who is different if ostricized (ie.. kill the mutant). Its on the grade 9 reading list so is a light read. Rushdie is too much for the average reader, but is still an excellent book that i highly recommend.

Sep 21, 2012

i found it just to into details, minute details. it bogged me down to quickly to want to continue reading

Jun 23, 2012

Midnight's Children Starts out as one of those books that is so good, that I can't really explain why. In many ways, it defies story telling conventions and yet manages to be extraordinarily captivating. I just want to hear all the vignettes about the Aziz-Sinai family. I am charmed by the self conscious use of language and story telling.

The problem is that for a large stretch of the second half of the book, I wasn't captivated. I didn't care as much.

I have a few ideas why. Maybe this is the kind of book that needs to be read slowly (it is a long! book), taken section by section. Maybe I suffered from overload. On the other hand, I get the feeling that Rushdie might have gotten fatigued; he was writing a long book and wanted to get to the end (where it once again became enthralling), but he couldn't skip over important sections of his main characters biography.

Anyway, as there was a hole that defined many of the characters lives, so I felt there was a hole in this book that made it somewhat less than it could have been.

And one final thought: I know Rushdie is most known for the controversy he caused with Satanic Verses, but I am impressed by the guts that he showed her, almost begging for controversy with his intense criticism of on again off again prime minister Indira Gandhi, who becomes a fictionalized villain in the story; he goes beyond any allegorical criticism of her regime to actually having her oppress the main character and his friends.

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