Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie

Back blurb: 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 cannot perceive. Inextricably linked to his nation, Saleem's biography is a whirlwind of disasters and triumphs that mirrors the course of modern India at its most impossible and glorious.

My take: Half fiction and non-fiction (or some would believe otherwise), a prophecy of the life of our lead character, Saleem Sinai, sums up how his life is inevitably entwined with the turbulent history of India.

There will be two heads but you will see only one - there will be knees andnose - a nose and knees. ... Newspaper praises him, two mothers raise him! Bicyclists love him - but crowds will shove him! Sisters will weep, cobra will creep ...

Spittoons will brain him - doctors will drain him - jungle will claim him - wizards reclaim him! Soldiers will try him - tyrants will fry him ...

He will have sons without having sons. He will be old before he is old! And he will die ... before he is dead!


Saleem narrates the events of his own life to his lover Padma, a first person account of his own life. While the title would lead us to believe that it is about the super powers of this elite group of midnight's children, the book bespeaks of a generation struggling to shape the world into a better place and at the same time, they becoming a product of the very environment they aim to change.

Hop on over to my blog to read this in full.


  1. Great review! I actually have this one sitting on my shelf at home. Now it might just be the next Booker that I read.

    I read somewhere that when the Booker Prize was 25 years old, Midnight's Children was named "The Booker of Bookers" i.e.; the best of the past 25 years. That piqued my interest as well.

  2. Yes it's the Booker of Bookers. I have the 25the anniversary edition! Hope you enjoy it too ...