…by Salman Rushdie.
(This a very vague summary of the story. There are too many characters and too many situations that it will take me forever to properly write a outline. So please forgive me.)
A story about the birth of India as a free nation and the political course that the country takes afterward. The novel is written from an autobiographical point of view by Saleem Sinai. The story walks you through 30 odd years of Saleem’s life. Saleem was born on 15th August 1947 at the stroke of midnight…along with the birth of the Indian nation. There is one other kid, Shiva, born right at midnight and thousand other babies born all over the country between midnight and 1 AM of the 15th of August 1947. Each of these kids are said to possess special powers. Saleem tells the story of his family, relatives, friends and how his life unfolds in the free country. Along the course of his narration, the readers get an idea of how his fate crosses path with India’s political development.
The idea behind the novel is intriguing – kids being born during the birth of their nation possessing special powers. But that’s all there is about the Midnight’s Children. The reference to them didn’t seem (to me) like the main theme in the greater scheme of the story. The children are discussed, their special powers are put forth, but there isn’t a big part that they play in the story as such (except for Saleem). Either the concept of Midnight’s Children shouldn’t have been the main theme or the story must’ve highlighted their importance better…half of this and half of that didn’t do much magic.
What I enjoyed though was reading all about India’s political scene after independence and the India-Pakistan relationship. The author has dived into it in quite a bit of details – all the facts combined with the fiction didn’t fail to impress me. It kept me going.
The author’s writing style is different and will definitely take a while to get used to (at least I took quite some time). But once you follow the rhythm of his prose, then reading the book is a piece of cake. If I were to divide the book into three parts…the first part took a long time to read because I was getting used to the author’s writing style, the second part was witty, fast paced, and a pleasure to read, and the third part, even though, interesting, it was dragged.
It took me weeks to finish this book because I had to spend time getting used to the writing, the book wasn’t faced paced throughout, it does leave you with a feeling of wanting to move forward, but it’s definitely not page turner, and it was stretched out towards the end. So, as for me, although it took me a long time to wrap this book, I will definitely read other works by this author because now I’m pretty used to (surely, not totally at ease with…not yet) his narrating style.
So, overall, if you have read the author and like his work, then go ahead…this is a good read. But if you aren’t used to his writing style, then do read a page or two before buying the book to get a sense of how you like it.
My rating: 3*.
*for the rating scale, click here.