Saturday, July 7, 2012

Magical Midnight's Masterpiece


FIRST PUBLISHED: 1980
ISBN: 978-0-099-52978-1
GENRE: Magic Realism, Historical Fiction


EXCERPT:
'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…..'
Saleem Sinai, Midnight’s Children.


REVIEW:

Midnight's Children, the 2nd book by Salman Rushdie, deals with India's transition from the holds of British Raj to post independence civil struggle, and build-up of the new Indian era—all with a dash of magic. The story revolves around children born at the exact time of India’s partition, during midnight. It has an interesting frictional climax as each and every child born is blessed with some magical power. Saleem Sinai is a brilliant protagonist, created by Rushdie, who is telepathic with a peculiar problem of a constantly running enormous nose and a very strong sense of smell. The story gradually progresses from realizing the powers of all kids like him to organizing the Midnight’s Children conference. He acts as a telepathic conduit, bringing the midnight’s children together and deciphering the meaning of each power.

The book holds you, as it is set amidst real life incidents. It is a journey to India’s past. Through a beautiful literary journey, the reader becomes a part of the making of Modern India. The narration is simple yet captivating. It has a perfect plot with a straight laced protagonist troubled by witty and cunning antagonists. There are a lot of instances where Rushdie skilfully camouflages his questions and conclusions of our nation, in Saleem’s simple thoughts and words. The story is intriguing as it weaves different facets of India as—a British colony; partition and war plagued country and Modern India—a puppet in Indira Gandhi’s political arena—all as important turning points in a common man’s life born with an uncommon fate. Also it successfully conjures a spell of the cultural and traditional diversity that India had and has to offer. The story is not only the sum total of Saleem’s life but is also metaphorically the sum total of India—as we know it today.

Rushdie with his literary brilliance manages to show India as a caged phoenix, pained, and tortured, that burns itself out and rises from the ashes—with not just memories of the past, but also the vision of a bright future. Stories written with the flare to entertain yet educate are the greatest works on literature. Midnight’s Children states the obvious with a new luminosity and a broad outlook. It makes people realize what past tried to teach and what present and future have in store, and also why they need to harness what they have with the right motive.

Pros:
1.      Brilliant narration by Rushdie with great eloquence that opens the bounds of imagery and vocabulary.
2.      The life-like events make you believe in this magical fictional tale.
3.      The simple characters with heterogeneous personalities show a vast range of feelings that make you cry, laugh, and sympathize with them.

Cons:
1.      Too many characters to remember, as the story develops.
2.      Use of too many non-English words would make people refer the glossary every now and then.

On the whole, the book creates a magical country alongside our real India, to help us see the difference yet satiate ourselves with what we are left with by the end of the novel. I see it as one of the most successful retrospections of post colonial India and thus a must read. Clearly a book with accolades of Booker Prize, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the "Booker of Bookers" makes Rushdie a deserving candidate of the Nobel Prize that has eluded him so far.

MY RATING:-4.7/5
PAGES: - 446 (hardback)
COST: - Rs. 399/- (hardback)


p.s.- the review is completely my own view about the book...vaisakhi mishra


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28 comments:

  1. Hey,
    My opinion has always been so, that if the review of a book intrigues your curiosity enough for you to want to read the book, then the review is a good one.
    For the sole reason that, how you judge a book is your perception, but a reviewer is only marketing it, a read = a sale.

    Naice one Vaisakhi.

    Regards,
    Eon...

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    Replies
    1. THANKU.....i guess at least i can convince some people to read a book....n glad u liked my 1st attempt...:)

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  2. Yes, I bought this book years back.
    Have I read it? No.
    Why?
    His writings lack a writer-reader connect.
    If I need to read facts, I have access to more authoritative works. And if I need to read something that dramatises or fictionalises those facts, there are a lot of options.

    I'll re-read this review and see if it inspires me enough to open this book again.

    Arvind Passey
    www.passey.info

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    Replies
    1. true a lot of people dont connct to his books...but i love the literature the wayhe writes a story unlike a lot of indian writes who have decent stories but lack in narrative skills...n the reason y i like the book is it has a lot of history hidden in the fictional story somethin similar to dan brown ways or writin....i hope u read the book the set up might drag a bit but 50 pages n on u might seriously like it...:)

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  3. A nice clinical review of a book I've been holding onto for long. There is a systematic measured approach to the analysis that appeals to the engineer in me and it intrigues me enough to go and see if the novel is what I think it is... Good work and best of luck!

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    Replies
    1. thanx....glad u liked it....n well only an engineer's ways appeal nothr engineer...:P...this was my 1st review ever so i tried to stick to a format...:)

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  4. Damn, the book on my shelf that I picked in a sale stares accusingly at me! I promised myself that this and Shantaram would be books I'd read sometime soon..........never happened. Guess I have a promise to keep....thanks to you reminding me of it with this wonderful review.

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    1. hehe dont make it vengeful pick it up frm the shelf or it might just erase itslf just to get back on u....its worth a read atleast n trust me u ll like it...:)....n glad u liked my review...:))

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  5. I agree with Arvind here. Salman Rushdie touches important subjects, but somehow I am never able to connect to his books :(

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    1. his books r diffrt n as i said not many enjoy his works but people who do connct 4 them he is like one of the best contmp writers...:)

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  6. I'll borrow the book from you, now that I know you have it.
    The review was nice and critical...lets see if the book is really as good as you say, at least for my tastes!

    All d best for IBL!

    Take Care

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    1. haha i dont have the book i took it frm my school library....but u can get it 4m univ lib...n read it its good....u like khalid hoseini u ll like him...:)

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  7. A nice review.....I generally don't read books :(....But, The story sounds different and interesting.....Will try to buy this book when I go out...

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    1. hehe thanx n do read its a nice book...:)

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  8. Hey ... It was so nice write up...

    I haven't read any of Rushdie ... Want to though

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    Replies
    1. thanku glad u liked my write up...n rushdie well i ve read just this book of his n i liked it go so read...:)

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  9. Rushdi is a good writer.But now after this review I will surely read the book

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    1. :)....like i ve been chanting "do read"...

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  10. I have yet to finish this book...
    Good review. :)

    Best of luck from Kolkata Knight Writers! :)

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    Replies
    1. thanx....n best of luck to u guys too...:)

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  11. This was a nice review Vaisakhi, but looks my comment was lost:(

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    1. koi nai....i m just glad u liked it...n my post was selected 4 the review round...:)....thanku uncle...

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  12. a good read :)
    i wrote a review of MC long time back on one of my blogs, but your seems to be better and more easily readable :)
    kudos and keep writing vaisakhi

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    1. thanku....n welcome to my blog...:)

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  13. Really a enchanting read :) I am willing to read his this book now :D :D

    Cheers,

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    Replies
    1. hehe glad u liked it....do read the book n lemme know if u like it...:)

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  14. I should have visited we have a story your other blog....I missed the wonderful writings even there... Damn! Anyway i hope i'll be able to take out time n my new academic session..

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    Replies
    1. lookin forward to ur visits n feedbacks dear...:)

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