Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Midnight's Children 2/100

by Salman Rushdie
Vintage Canada Edition - 2006
533 pages - 22 $

En Français ici

Why this book

I wanted to read at least one book by this great author I've heard about at the exit of The Satanic Verses thanks to the scandal it generated. I said to myself "I should read an author who unleashed such passion, be it for whether he is worth it." And most importantly, the Satanic Verses not tempted me a lot... the story of a guy who flies and turns to end up with horns and hoofs ... how to say: too metaphorical for me? Anyway, I decided to try this author with Midnight's Children whose summary tempted me more.


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. Twenty-five years after its publication, 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.

What I think about it

Rushdie is undoubtedly a master in the art of carrying us into a world of magic and poetry. He is capable of creating a world full of color, brilliance and magic. Reading the book I had the impression of being in a setting of the Thousand and One Nights and for that alone, it's worth it. It is rare that a book enchants me by his descriptions and settings. As for the story, it is also powerful and for who knows or loves India, it's parallel with the history of this country and Pakistan is not to be underestimated. I also liked to see what I enjoyed in India: that every action, every gesture, every adventure is fraught with meaning. Nothing is left to chance and the rich context of this country is an endless source of discoveries. Midnight's Children is no exception and everything that happens there makes sense.

For cons, I found some passages a little too long - euphemism: I was bored - especially the chapter in the forest. I also had trouble with the multiple metaphors the author uses, resulting in completely fantastical scenes - in my case - hard to understand, but as I said earlier: metaphors and me ...

Let's be brief
A book to read for its magic and richness of imagination in which we are transported - even imported - but that's also serious and concrete. After all, it's not every day that a country political history is also written in such a pretty way!

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