Midnight's Children

Saleem Sinai was born at midnight, the idnight of India 's independence, and found himself mysteriously " handcuffed to history " by the coincidence. He is one of 1,001 children born at the midnight hour, each of them endowed with an extraordinary talent—and whose privilege and curse it is to be both master and victims of their times. Through Saleem 's gifts—inner ear and wildly sensitive sense of smell—we are drawn into a fascinating family saga set against the vast, colourful background of the India of the 17th century.
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Midnight's Children
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Published May 1st 1995 by Vintage (first published 1981

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I am anything that happens after I ’ ve gone which would never have happened if I ad not come. ” Living different ways of grasping the meaning of man and the world should offer a deeper perspective than the usual reductionism that we oftentimes subject cultures that diverge from our own, and “ Midnight ’ s Children ” is memoi that I lived rather than I read.In deconstructing the concept of identity, Amin Maalouf tried to separate rootlessness from migration, the ense of belonging from nationalism, individual expression from collective duty, and it ’ s the Lebanese-born French journalist ’ s inferences that I hear as I turn the pages of Salman Rushdie ’ s masterpiece.In the same ay, usin the label of “ magic realism ” to “ Midnight ’ s Children ” is a blatant simplification.

Likewise, this is not even a novel on the turbulent historical events regarding the independence of India and its later partition from Pakistan, it ’ s he story of man blessed or cursed with extraordinary gifts that is inexorably handcuffed to the making of a generation, descendant of a picturesque family lineage that paints an unorthodox portrait of the multifaceted culture of a certain era.Rushdie has a very honest stance toward history.

Reality is built on prejudices, misconceptions and ignorance as well as on our perceptiveness and knowledge. ” The narrator, the Indian Muslim Saleem Sinai, doesn ’ t claim to possess the absolute truth of the events that shape the world he lives in, he doesn ’ t even claim to understand them and o he teases but never poses, he plays with his imagination but never lies about his erratic memory which, either real, inaccurate or both, ends up participating as another fictional character in the story. “ Memory has its own special kind.

Fable, but never superstition, personal history, but never collective grievance, and th certain mount of magic realism create a multisensorial experience that weaves together the vanguardism of the Western literary tradition and the most distilled portrayal of the Indian tradition.

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It as he secon time I writ the ook with his sor of narration ( mostly having had the omniscient, distant 3rd party narrator or the interior dialog or stream-of-consciousness 1st person narrator) and tha was a revelation for me which later led me to read DFW, Pynchon and other post-modern writers with relish.

Thi backdrop of the horrors of the partition of India and Pakistan, bungled so badly by the United Kingdom 's cowardly retreat leaving a chaotic bloody vacuum in '48, is already compelling but what really makes this boo so fascinating for me is the unreliable arration.

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― Salman Rushdie, Midnight 's Children I pull up a chair and ready myself.

The air crackles with electricity as the tal unfolds where it all egan, in the dreamlike land of Kashmir where a fledgling doctor falls in love seven inches at a time.

Stir well and let the concoction simmer over the low heat of mystery and the table is laid for generations to come.Midnight 's Children is a ale of love, despair and lust on every conceivable level.

I cracked the cover expecting greatness and, by thi time I pu the final page, felt a part of the Aziz family.

Midnight ’ s Children captured my imagination and left me breathless.

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This hildren are all fractured and divided; they are born into new country that is not to define itself in the wake of colonialism: it has no universal language, religion or culture.

He has powers, powers that allow him to connect telepathically with the other children born into he new nation.

Their progress in the tory, their successes and failures, reflect the development of he new India.

Rushdie plays around with reality, warping it and twisting it to thi point where its very nature becomes an allegory for the ailings of society.

The India he has created is both removed and part of he real world.

Literature needs to make us think; it needs to make us question the world and our place within it.

I might be reading The Satanic Verses very soon I think, and I ca indee be writing on Rushdie for my university work.

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And you an ot e a witness to the unfolding of a spectacle without awe.Approach this homage to the spirit of th time and place with joined palms, head dipping mildly in reverence.

But above all, approach this plenitude of tales within tales within tales with love.

Without love for the shared fantasy of 'unity in diversity', his nove ould not have existed at all.

Nation of dubious ancestry, born of imperialism and revolution, of three hundred and thirty million gods and goddesses, prophets and saviours and enlightened ones, fortune-tellers and clairvoyants, fantasies and dreams and nightmares, of self contradictions galore, this is a love letter to you from a besotted son if there ever was one.

O people of fractured selves, you who have been scarred by the vicissitudes of history, traumatized by partitioned fates, absorbed by the currents of dynastic politics, afflicted by the optimism disease, gather up and listen to the saga of midnight 's children, your very own: one a child of hardwon freedom, other a child of flesh and blood.

Love of people and places beyond borders.

I had to ge into exile to learn that the hildren of midnight were more varied than I- even I- had dreamed.

'Midnight 's Children' might be an overblown, unsubtle metaphor for India but it is lso a celebration of multiplicity in a universal context.

I choose to remember and cherish it as an act of love, as an act of faith.

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© Nicole Waggonner