[ Read Online Midnight's Children Ú adult-fiction PDF ] by Salman Rushdie ✓ Midnight s Children is an absolute masterful piece of writing It is entertaining, intelligent, informative, progressive and even funny it is an astoundingly well balanced epic that captures the birth of a new independent nation I hold it in such high regard The children are all fractured and divided they are born into a new country that is yet to define itself in the wake of colonialism it has no universal language, religion or culture The children reflect this they are spread out and unconnected to each other As such Rushdie raises a critical question does India even exist These children are born on the night of India s independence, but what exactly are they born into The mass of land they occupy is yet to establish what it now is it is something new, a place with an internal battle raging between modernisation and tradition It s not the India it was the day before, and it s certainly not the India it was before the colonisers cameWhat s real and what s true aren t necessarily the sameSaleem, our narrator and protagonist, reflects this He is a hybrid, born into two worlds He has powers, powers that allow him to connect telepathically with the other children born into the new nation They all have their own gifts and they all represent an infectious optimism, a powerful hope that things will start to get better Their progress in the story, their successes and failures, reflect the development of the new India As Saleem begins to fall apart, as he begins to lose himself, the optimism begins to shatter and things go terribly wrong war approaches, death approaches Rushdie plays around with reality, warping it and twisting it to the point where its very nature becomes an allegory for the failings of society The India he has created is both removed and part of the real world He has used human terms, and human emotions, to personify a country Through this he demonstrates how it can waver and falter and how it can fail and become a victim to its own passions It s an exceedingly clever device Saleem is egotistical and unreliable, but his life is a physical manifestation of post independent India On a character level he actually thinks he is altering events, though he only ever mirrors itMemory s truth, because memory has its own special kind It selects, eliminates, alters, exaggerates, minimizes, glorifies, and vilifies also but in the end it creates its own reality, its heterogeneous but usually coherent version of events and no sane human being ever trusts someone else s version than his own All great literature should be subjective All great literature should have a multitude of ramifications If we go away with one single clean cut meaning or interpretation then the author has failed to some degree Literature needs to make us think it needs to make us question the world and our place within it And Rushdie certainly does that You may disagree with my reading I think Midnight s Children can be seen in a number of different ways, and I d love to hear what other people thought it all meant There s just so much going on in this book, I could literally write several essays on it Rushdie draws heavily on M rquez s One Hundred Years of Solitude by recreating the long drawn out family saga told in the magical realist mode to represent reality in a truthful way than standard story telling would allow however, Rushdie transcends it in so many ways I will be reading The Satanic Verses very soon I think, and I will definitely be writing on Rushdie for my university work This is clearly one of the most important novels written in the last fifty years.
To understand just one life, you have to swallow the worldSalman Rushdie, Midnight s Children For me, one of the most important books of our modern age.
I ADORE this playful, historical epic Salman Rushdie is a literary god in my eyes, and can do little wrong so I am biased.
Rushdie is one of the authors who has influenced my own style of writing, even though his overly descriptive approach is discouraged by publishing editors the world over.
The midnight s children of the story are those born in the first hour of India s independence from British rule.
It is true that the novel s digressive, meandering plot is as difficult to crack as the enigma code, but please do stick with it Midnight s Children is picturesque and read gasmic Rushdie s rascally mischievousness tickles each paragraph from start to finish, and his human imagery is second to none.
Herein is an India where streets abound with bicycle repair shops and itinerant snake charmers.
You could literally randomly poke a pin at any sentence in the book and witness flourishes of Rushdie s genius For each new reader, an abundance of chaotic brilliance awaits This is magical realism at its very best read it, please just read it Update Ben Blatt, in his recent book Nabokov s Favourite Word is Mauve, uses mathematical formulae to interpret literature Through this process he has discovered that Rushdie s book is the most ejaculative British novel of all time, racking up 2,131 exclamation marks per 100,000 words.
My reaction to that is, who cares Midnight s Children is one of the best books ever written and Rushdie can add as many exclamation marks as he likes This is my absolute favourite Rushdie novel Its background of the Partition of India and Pakistan after the disastrous and cowardly retreat of the British occupiers and the ensuing Emergency under Indira Ghandi provides a breathtaking tableau for Rushdie s narrative His narrator is completely unreliable and that is what makes the story so fascinating I lend this book out so many times after talking about it so much and never got my paperback copy returned that I had to buy a hardcover that I would no longer lend out so as not to lose it any It was the first time I read a book with this kind of narration mostly having had the omniscient, distant 3rd party narrator or the interior dialog or stream of consciousness 1st person narrator and this was a revelation for me which later led me to read DFW, Pynchon and other post modern writers with relish A fantastic 20th C masterpiece I used to talk about it all the time and lend it out and folks liked it so much that I kept having to replace my paperback copy At one point, I got fed up and bought a hardcover that I don t lend out any The 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 novel so fascinating for me is the unreliable narration It was the first book I read where the first person narrator was a known liar and so you could not always believe what he said In terms of writing and narration, this was quite a revelation to me who was used to the omniscient and neutral 3rd person narrator or the deep stream of conscious first person narrator I found it fast paced and extremely well written If you have never read Rushdie before, this is where I would suggest you start
What s real and what s true aren t necessarily the same Discard skepticism as you approach this epic Suspend disbelief Because myth and truth blend into each other imperfectly to spin a gossamer fine web of reality on which the nation state is balanced precariously And we, the legatees of this yarn, are caught up in a surrealist farce which plays out interminably in this land of heat and dust and many smells, our rational selves perennially clashing with our shallow beliefs but eventually succumbing to an incomprehensible love of the absurd Illusion has to offer than you think.
Approach this panorama with a sense of wonder This land of Sultunates of slave kings and Empires wrought by alien invaders, of manic religious ritualism, of a civilization which had co existed with Mesopotamia and Egypt, of most accomplished snake charmers of the world, of crushing poverty and staggering riches The peepshow man with his dugdugee drum beckons you to behold the images of Meenakshi temple and the Taj Mahal and the Bodhgaya and the holy Ganges streaming down from Lord Shiva s tresses to quench our mortal thirst And you cannot be a witness to the unfolding of a spectacle without awe.
Approach this homage to the spirit of a time and place with joined palms, head dipping mildly in reverence With palms bracing the earth, knees bent, forehead kissing the ground With a hand raised to the forehead then the heart and each shoulder With an erect palm, thumb and forefinger meeting in a circle Our pantheon of divinities will look down on you with displeasure otherwise But above all, approach this plenitude of tales within tales within tales with love Without love for the shared fantasy ofunity in diversity , this book would not have existed at allIf I seem a little bizarre, remember the wild profusion of my inheritance perhaps, if one wishes to remain an individual in the midst of teeming multitudes, one must make oneself grotesque O Swallower of Multitudes Bearer of Multiple Identities Assimilator of a million and one traditions 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 Saleem and India India and Saleem Not identical twins but twins bound to mirror each other s ambiguous trysts with destiny, twins doomed to share a love hate relationship Listen to vain, foolish, self deluded, cuckolded Saleem and his self aggrandizing story telling Awash in the glow of his Anglepoised pool of light as he is, fallacious and chutneyfied as his history is, I detect in his voice a quiver, a note of humble deference and endless love Love of lapiz lazuli encrusted silver spittoons, and perforated sheets, of the progress of a nation tied tragicomically with his own Love of flap eared Ganesh and a resolutely silent, flap eared son, love of Sunderbans phantasmal mangrove forests and Bombay s non conformity Love of the blue skies of Kashmir and the hubbub of old Delhi s slums and Amritsar s narrow, malodorous bylanes Love of people and places beyond bordersThere are as many versions of India as Indians Do you not make out the throbbing ache in his declamations, for historical compounds left bloodied by dastardly mustachioed brigadiers For a subcontinent trifurcated meaninglessly and wars waged without rhyme or reason Can you discern the tone of suppressed anguish and rage for the promise of midnight s children withering away under the harsh glare of an Emergency The grief for a broken republic and a flickering hope for regeneration and renewal Midnight has many children the offspring of Independence were not all human Violence, corruption, poverty, generals, chaos, greed and pepperpots I had to go into exile to learn that the children of midnight were varied than I even I had dreamed.
I can In Saleem s contrived cornucopia of stories leaking into each other, I sense his despondency and his joy, his pride and his guilt And in his implicit avowals of filial love, I find an expression of my own I had entered into the illusion of the artist, and thought of the multitudinous realities of the land as the raw unshaped material of my gift.
Midnight s Childrenmight be an overblown, unsubtle metaphor for India but it is also a celebration of multiplicity in a universal context Despite the narrative s flaws and the forced nature of the analogies in the latter half, I choose to honour Saleem Sinai s self professed intentions I choose to remember and cherish it as an act of love, as an act of faith.
The power of the storytelling left me speechless all the words were in the novel, and there were none left for me If there ever was a novel that changed the way I read, this is it I must have read each sentence several times, just to follow the thread of the confusing story, and I still got lost in the labyrinth of individual and collective history that unfolds on the stroke of Midnight, on the night of India s independence So completely taken in by the children who are born on that particular stroke of midnight, thus beginning their lives together with the state, I must have bought at least ten copies of it over the course of the years, to give to relatives and friends in different parts of the world It was not always a welcome present, and some people looked at me strangely after giving up on reading it They seemed to have come to the conclusion that my mind must be as confused as the novel if I was infatuated with it to the degree that I began to ramble when I talked about it.
But it is just such a perfect example of how literature transcends reality and stays true at the same time It is deeply connected to its roots in post colonial India, and yet universal in its idea of humanity.
Are we really who we think we are Does it even matter if we are who we think we are, or is it important that we are what we are meant to be What decides what we are meant to be then The sum total of what came before us and led to our being born constitutes the stage which we enter Then we act out the play which is co written by humanity, and it is definitely a tragedy, for we all owe death a life , which is what tragedy is all about life leading to death Whatever happens to us has the effect of a deus ex machina , and sometimes there are gods in machines than we can handle, keep track of, or even describe in a novel Sometimes the gods get stuck in their machines as well Anything is possible on the stage of life And it is always opening night, first performance, debut We forget our lines, and we ramble In life and in art In this novel, we stumble over words spoken too fast, as if the characters are afraid that the curtain will fall before they have had their fair share of the show.
How come it is so hopelessly funny then, this tragedy of India How come each story line makes me smile through tears In my memory, the novel grows to an explosion of the senses I hear a cacophony of voices chatting incoherently in my head, I see colours merge into fireworks of lametta, I feel the heat and cold and humidity and dryness of an India I have never been to, I taste the foods whose names I cannot pronounce, I touch and I am touched by the story which contains a truth deeper than reality It is funny in the exhilarating way a roller coaster is funny You slowly move upwards, seeing where you are heading, feeling your stomach react to the fall before it comes, hoping for it to end and to go on forever You feel dizzy and brave and alive, but confused.
Do I remember the plot correctly Well, memory itself is a tricky one Memory s truth, because memory has its own special kind It selects, eliminates, alters, exaggerates, minimizes, glorifies, and vilifies also but in the end it creates its own reality, its heterogeneous but usually coherent version of events and no sane human being ever trusts someone else s version than his own So I trust my own memory, and declare that what I remember is true This is a masterpiece It was written in 1981 Where s that Nobel Stuck in a broken god machine Nothing to be surprised at there the novel is about how such things happen.
Who what am I My answer I am the sum total of everything that went before me, of all I have been seen done, of everything done to me I am everyone everything whose being in the world affected was affected by mine I am anything that happens after I ve gone which would not have happened if I had 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, andMidnight s Childrenis a book that I lived rather than I read.
In deconstructing the concept of identity, Amin Maalouf tried to separate rootlessness from migration, the sense 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 way, applying the label of magic realism toMidnight s Childrenis a blatant simplification Do not misunderstand me, the narration fits the postmodernist tendency of Western metafiction, which includes abrupt changes in the chronological sequences told by an unreliable narrator that uses the language and spirit of a fairy tale Those are indeed undeniable elements that distinguish this novel from realistic and traditional approaches But Rushdie goes beyond the generalization and creates a sui generis style with harmonious dialogue and sumptuous lyricism that entices the mind and warms the heart, blending myth and fiction with grotesque reality, rising the resulting hotchpotch to the level of colossal epic Likewise, this is not merely a novel on the turbulent historical events regarding the independence of India and its later partition from Pakistan, it s the story of a 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 In his own wordsHistory is always ambiguous Facts are harsh to establish, and capable of being given many meanings 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 so 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 storyMemory has its own special kind It selects, eliminates, alters, exaggerates, minimizes, glorifies, and vilifies also but in the end it creates its own reality, its heterogeneous but usually coherent version of events and no sane human being ever trusts someone else s version than his ownWith that warning in mind, the reader is in for an intertextual journey where everything is loaded with allegorical gist Numbers and literary references A Thousand and One children born at midnight on the day that India proclaims its independence Symbolical characters a super snooted child of destiny that smells the future A vivid tapestry of religions, Asian ancestry and folklore a hit the spittoon heirloom as emblem of a vanishing era A perforated sheet as a token of stolen glimpses and love Salman Rushdie s spicy prose is the result of twenty six pickle jars, namely chapters, of specially blended ingredients, of which sarcastic humor is not the least important Fable, but never superstition, personal history, but never collective grievance, and a certain amount 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 Thus, Rushdie s novel emerges not only as a colorful allegory for the birth of a new India , but also as an iconic text that signifies the birth of a new world where literature brings cultures closer across borders and allows people to hold on to the optimistic belief that what we have in common will finally overweight what drives us apart Call me naive, but I think that s a beautiful dream to have Indeed.
Saleem Sinai Was Born At Midnight, The Midnight Of India S Independence, And Found Himself Mysteriously Handcuffed To History By The Coincidence He Is One Of , 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 Th Century Fantastic, intelligent, hilarious, profound, and historically illuminating And the narrator is deliciously unreliable too Need I say I will His sentences are the kind of energetic super charged masterpieces that I could quote endlessly Here s one plucked utterly at random Into this bog of muteness there came, one evening, a short man whose head was as flat as the cap upon it whose legs were as bowed as reeds in the wind whose nose nearly touched his up curving chin and whose voice, as a result, was thin and sharp it had to be, to squeeze through the narrow gap between his breathing apparatus and his jawa man whose short sight obliged him to take life one step at a time, which gained him a reputation for thoroughness and dullness, and endeared him to his superiors by enabling them to feel well served without feeling threatened a man whose starched, pressed uniform reeked of Blanco and rectitude, and about whom, despite his appearance of a character out of a puppet show, there hung the unmistakable scent of success Major Zulfikar, a man with a future, came to call, as he had promised, to tie up a few loose ends.
4 2008 1947 15 667 1947 2009