Midnight’s Children

Posted: December 6, 2011 in Uncategorized
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Just a post on what I’m currently reading… I’m about halfway through Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie and it’s amazing. I’ve never read anything like it before.

I was mostly unfamiliar with Rushdie’s work until I read Christopher Hitchens’s memoir Hitch-22. Hitchens spoke highly of Rushdie. They have been close friends since the eighties. I have immense respect and admiration for Hitchens (and I’m sure I’ll have at least one post about him in the near future). I’m guessing (I may be wrong) that most people like me who know the name Salman Rushdie know it from his 1988 work The Satanic Verses and the controversy and violent protests that erupted because of it. Muslims in several countries issued death threats and the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini, issued a fatwa against Rushdie, calling for his death. In Hitch-22 Hitchens devotes a chapter to Rushdie simply entitled “Salman” and he tells of the time he put Rushdie up at his apartment after the fatwa. I had to learn more about this guy.

Rushdie joined twitter on September 14, 2011 and I’ve been following him since then (@SalmanRushdie). I soon learned that he had been working with director Deepa Mehta (@IamdeepaMehta) on a cinematic production of Midnight’s Children. I wanted to know more. Midnight’s Children was his second novel. He was younger than I am now when he wrote it. From his Wikipedia entry:

This work won the 1981 Booker Prize and, in 1993 and 2008, was awarded the Best of the Bookers as the best novel to have received the prize during its first 25 and 40 years. Midnight’s Children follows the life of a child, born at the stroke of midnight as India gained its independence, who is endowed with special powers and a connection to other children born at the dawn of a new and tumultuous age in the history of the Indian sub-continent and the birth of the modern nation of India. The character of Saleem Sinai has been compared to Rushdie.

I’m nearly 300 pages into it and I can’t put it down. Before starting it I read (okay, listened to on audio book) his Step Across This Line: Collected Nonfiction 1992 – 2002. I felt I had gotten to know Rushdie a bit and was ready to dive into Midnight’s Children. Now I only wish I could get more pages in at every opportunity I have to sit down and read. Last week I spent every lunch hour alone with the book.

Okay, writing this is keeping me from reading. I will queue up some more on the book to post at a later date. Please, if you’ve read any Rushdie, let me know in the comments.

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