Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie

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30 de novembre a les 19 h a la Biblioteca Mestra Maria Antònia.

A story of India’s coming of age.

Excerpt of a review from The New York Times (04/19/1981) by Clark Blaise:

What this [Indian] fiction has been missing is a different kind of ambition, something just a little coarse, a hunger to swallow India whole and spit it out. It needed a touch of Saul Bellow’s Augie March brashness, Bombay rather than Chicago-born, and going at things in its own special Bombay way. Now, in Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie has realized that ambition.

Midnight’s Children is about the narrator’s growing up in Bombay between 1947 and 1977 (and about the 32 years of his grandparents’ and parents’ lives before that). It is also a novel of India’s growing up; from its special, gifted infancy to its very ordinary, drained adulthood. It is a record of betrayal and corruption, the loss of ideals, culminating with The Widow’s Emergency rule. As a growing-up novel with allegorical dimensions, it will remind readers of ”Augie March” and maybe of Gunter Grass’s The Tin Drum, Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy, and Celine’s Death on the Installment Plan as well as the less-portentous portions of V.S. Naipaul. But it would be a disservice to Salman Rushdie’s very original genius to dwell on literary analogues and ancestors. This is a book to accept on its own terms, and an author to welcome into world company.

The ‘midnight’s children’ of the title are the 1,001 children born in the first hour of Indian independence, Aug. 15, 1947. Two of these babies are born in the same Bombay nursing home on the very stroke of midnight: a boy born to wealth and a boy born to the streets. And, of course, a nursemaid switches babies: a street singer cuckolded by a departing Englishman is given the aristocratic Muslim infant and names him Shiva; a wealthy Kashmiri-descended family, the Aziz/Sinais, is given the ”cucumber-nosed” English-Hindu and names him Saleem. Shiva and Saleem (the narrator) are destined to be mortal enemies from the stroke of midnight.

Read the rest here.

A movie based on this novel has recently been released.

Other books by the same author that you can find in English at the Public Libraries of Catalonia (link):

  • The Courter
  • The Enchantress of Florence
  • Fury
  • Grimus
  • The Ground Beneath her Feet
  • Haroun and the Sea of Stories
  • The Moor’s Last Sight
  • The Satanic Verses
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