Midnight's Children
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Midnight's Children

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  57,077 ratings  ·  3,534 reviews
Born at the stroke of midnight at the exact moment of India's independence, Saleem Sinai is a special child. However, this coincidence of birth has consequences he is not prepared for: telepathic powers connect him with 1,000 other 'midnight's children' all of whom are endowed with unusual gifts. Inextricably linked to his nation, Saleem's story is a whirlwind of disasters...more
Paperback, Vintage Classics Edition, 647 pages
Published April 3rd 2008 by Vintage Books (first published 1980)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Shayantani Das
If beating around the bush was a crime; then, Salman Rushdie would be charged with aggravated assault and attempt to murder of that bush.

If there was of contest of master of digressions; he would emerge as the undisputed winner.

And, if any novel could even come close to portraying India’s vast cultural identity;that novel would be Midnight’s Children .


Salman Rushdie is a wicked, WICKED author. In this booker of booker’s novel, he has given us one of the most unreliable, irritating, annoying, cl...more
Turhan Sarwar
Midnight's Children is not at all a fast read; it actually walks the line of being unpleasantly the opposite. The prose is dense and initially frustrating in a way that seems almost deliberate, with repeated instances of the narrator rambling ahead to a point that he feels is important--but then, before revealing anything of importance, deciding that things ought to come in their proper order. This use of digressions (or, better put, quarter-digressions) can either be attributed to a charmingly...more
Whitaker
Have you ever been to a Hindu temple? It’s a riotous mass of orange, blue, purple, red, and green. Its walls seethe with deities. In one corner, Ganesha--the god with a human body and elephant head--sits on his vehicle, a rat. In another, a blue Krishna sits on a cow wooing cow girls by playing his flute. Durgha wearing a necklace of skulls kills a demon in another corner. Jasmine-decorated devotees stand around chanting. The press of people, the incense and the noise all combine and you lose yo...more
Taylor K.
Jul 22, 2014 Taylor K. rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Rushdie newcomers, the ambitious, people who love their hometown
Back in 2000, lit critic James Wood wrote a huge manifesto on the problem of "the 'big' novel" for the New Atlantic (disguised as a review of Zadie Smith). He basically attacked quirky novels like Underworld, Infinite Jest & White Teeth. There were a lot of things about it that I agreed with - particularly his point that a lot of cutesy things some writers tend towards are in place of good structure. One major thing I didn't agree with was his inclusion of Rushdie in this lot of wacky writer...more
Steve
I truly am sorry, Salman. It’s trite to say, I know, but it really wasn’t you, it was me. I take all the blame for not connecting, ignorant as I am about the Indian subcontinent’s history, culture, and customs. I’m sure your allegories were brilliant and your symbolism sublime, but it was in large part lost on me. At least I could appreciate your fine writing. You were very creative in the way you advanced the story, too — nonlinearly, and tied to actual events. Your device that allowed narrator...more
Ben
Dec 02, 2007 Ben rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who reads fiction written after 1965
This was an extremely good book; one which, for some reason, I couldn't quite fall in love with. I was, however, more and more impressed with Rushdie's mastery over his novel as I made my way through it.

Midnight's Children is as much a tale of history and nationhood as it is of a person. I think, in some sense, the book was a sort of authorial attempt to bring into the realm of substantial palpability everything that had happened to the Indian subcontinent since Independence in '47 (or thereabou...more
Marieke
PART 1

I finished the book yesterday--but before I describe my overall response I have to start with this entry I wrote in my notebook while I was partway through.

I last opened this book ten years ago. This was the book that destroyed our little book club in college, my first year. A small group of avid readers, aspiring to read high and mighty works of literature. We made it through Snow Falling on Cedars successfully--I don't remember any discussion we had about it, but I liked the book.

Midnig...more
Paul
Update:

Just back from watching the movie and.... well... it kind of highlights the less great parts of the book, just because it's a movie. You notice the non-plot, you notice that the characters get dragged around from India to Pakistan to Bangladesh depending which big political event or war is happening as we make our way from 1947 to 1977; and we really notice how gushingly sentimental it all turns out in the end. All of these problems are there in the book but are melted, dissolved, and ble...more
Andrea Schweiger Bregman
It doesn’t happen often, but from time to time after I finish a work of literature, I wonder, “What just happened?” In an effort to answer that question, my brain attempts to turn itself inside out to make sense of it all. This time that torture came from Rushdie’s Midnight Children. This novel is my first experience reading Rushdie’s work, so I am not sure if the writing style of this book is typical of the author, but I am not in any hurry to find out.

Being an English Literature student and an...more
K.D. Absolutely
Aug 06, 2010 K.D. Absolutely rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Joselito, Jzhunagev and all the other brilliant people who appreciate great literary works
Recommended to K.D. by: TIME Magazine's 100 Best Novels, Man Booker, Best of Booker, 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006 to 2010)
Shelves: 1001-core, booker, india
Now, I am beginning to like Salman Rushdie.

Last year, I read his controversial novel The Satanic Verses and I hated it so I gave it a lone star.

Here in Midnight's Children, his playful and I-don't-care-if-you-like-me-or-not writing style is still very much around. This is a long read and it took me the whole week to reach up to its last word on page 647. It started strong, interesting and clear. Once details, too much of them, are introduced, I dazed off and became an outsider watching the pass...more
mai ahmd


إن قراءة سلمان رشدي في هذه الرواية لم تكن سهلة يجب على القارىء أن يمسك خيوطها منذ البداية فإن أفلتت منه سيكون من الصعوبة الإمساك بها من جديد ..شخصيا وصلت إلى أعلى قمة للمتعة تلك الحالة التي أشعر بها بالرضا الشديد بالإعجاب والإنذهال والتساؤل كيف يتأتى لكاتب أن يكتب بهذا الإحتراف أن يطلق بندقيته في وجه التاريخ دون وجل أن يخترع أفكارا وشخصيات خرافية لها صلة بشخصيات حقيقية كانت صانعة ومؤثرة.. تبدو لي أن الكتابة عنها ليست أيضا بهذه السهولة سأبدأ في اقتباس لفت نظري جدا لأنه يبدو لي لا يلخص السبب بل ال...more
Dusty Myers
An important novel. Rushdie's narcissistic narrator, Saleem Sinai, achieves this narcissism from being the first child born on the day India won its independence from Britain. He got a letter from the prime minister making it official, and from this momentous, synchronous birth, the history of Saleem is twinned step-by-step to the history of India. This is what makes it An Important Novel, and I don't much care for Important Novels.

Saleem's point of view is a slippery, deceptive thing throughout...more
Algernon

I tried tackling this "sacred monster" of a book twenty years ago, and I was defeated - neither my English skills, nor my cultural background were up to the task, and I had to return it to the library only a third of the way in. In a way I'm glad I've waited so long to come back, because Midnight's Children is still a difficult book, but worth all the effort on my part and all the critical praise it received from the Booker Prize crowd.

It was from the start a most ambitious project - the Indian...more
Lona
منذ الصفحات الأولى شعرت أنني موعودة بقراءة نص غير اعتيادي، وقعت تحت سطوة سحره فوراً، أسلوب الكتاب، المحتوى، طريقة السرد كانت مميزة بشكل لافت


نص الرواية خرافي وكأن كاتب الرواية أصيب بالبكم وبداخله الكثير الذي لم يبح به بعد، وعندما منحوه ورقة وقلم، تفجَّر القلم و خطَّ على الورق ما تضخم بداخله ليصنع لنا هذه التحفة الفنية من "الثرثرة اللامتناهية" .. .. نعم ثرثرة ولكنها ليست فارغة


ما هذه الثرثرة؟!! طوال 667 صفحة لم أشعر أبداً أن هناك حشواً زائداً يُثقل كاهل النص، بل كانت ثرثرة من الطراز الرفيع، ثرثرة ف
...more
Rebecca
Reading Rushdie's Midnight's Children is like listening to someone else's long-winded, rambling re-telling of a dream they had. And like all people who describe their dreams -- especially those who do so long past the point where their listeners can believably fake interest or patience -- Rushdie is inherently selfish in the way he chose to write this book. Midnight's Children is one of those novels that are reader-neutral or even reader-antagonistic -- they seem to have been written for the sol...more
Sarah Keliher
This year I pretty much stopped reading. Instead I watched hundreds of Bollywood movies. This is no exaggeration: I ran through the netflix offerings, found them on youtube, bought them in little Indian markets, and ordered them online. I was partly enthralled by the things that enthrall westerners about Bollywood - the colors! the music! the mashed-together plots! the crazed optimism! - but also by the sheer sweep of history revealed by these light-hearted movies. In school, I think our teacher...more
David
Salman Rushdie's narrative tone in this book is jovial and humorous, even when he's describing pretty horrific things. It sneaks up on you that the first-person narrator, Saleem Sinai, is not just a little unreliable, but also whiny, self-justifying, and arrogant. In the end, it's hard to tell how much of the "magic" in this novel of magical realism was real and how much was the narrator's own megalomania. The history of India ran parallel to his own personal history, with events happening in sy...more
Pete
There is a quote in Salman Rushdie's "Midnight's Children," spoken by the protagonist and narrator Saleem Sinai: "To understand just one life, you have to swallow the world."

This is one of those brilliant books that is easier to appreciate than enjoy. It is an allegory about India's history around the time of independence and partition, told through (and explained by) the life and ancestry of Saleem, who was born at exactly midnight of India's independence day in 1947.

Rushdie's prose is dialed...more
Rowena
Salman Rushdie definitely enjoys beating about the bush! I come from a culture that's the same way so I wasn't too bothered by it, and quite enjoyed it, but I can see why some people may dislike his writing style. Not I! This is one of the best books I've read this year and makes its way onto my coveted "favourites" shelf.

The story transfixed me most of the way through, though my attention did start to waver towards the end. The way Rushdie intertwines Indian culture and history into a magical s...more
Erik Simon
This book is so good that as I was reading it, I couldn't believe how lucky I was to be reading it. I've not been able to like much of anything else Rushdie has written, but this one sang to me like few books have. And it's not for nothing that of all the books that have won the Booker, this was voted the best of the Bookers. One of my favorite quotations in the book went something like this: "In order to understand just one human life, you sometimes have to swallow the entire world." My quote i...more
Madeline
"Please believe that I am falling apart.
I am not speaking metaphorically; nor is this the opening gambit of some melodramatic, riddling, grubby appeal for pity. I mean quite simply that I have begun to crack all over like an old jug - that my poor body, singular, unlovely, buffeted by too much history, subjected to drainage above and drainage below, mutilated by doors, brained by spittoons, has started coming apart at the seams. In short, I am literally disintegrating, slowly for the moment, al...more
Ellie
After several months of reading, I have finally finished Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie. I gave it 5 stars because the book demands it, even though I can't quite tell how much I myself did or did not like it. It's nothing less than the history of India since its independence in 1947 as reflected in/by the life of Saleem Sinai. The book is a blend of magical realism and historical fiction and at times is so heavy-handed I cringed. At the same time, I was awed by the book's gusto and lingui...more
miaaa
Aug 12, 2009 miaaa rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: echa, dahlia
Recommended to miaaa by: prima, icha, vashti
I should not even dare to write a review about this book. It's crazy, emotionally challenging, and able to bring you down and up, loving and hating the protagonist, Saleem Sinai, at the same time. But by recounting his story, no not just recount but Saleem did take me to India, to watch and experience the frenzy of the Independence, to the Midnight Children, to a bloody separation of Pakistan, to a 'meat versus vegetable' war which actually the Bangladesh separation from Pakistan. You know as a...more
James
I have mixed feelings about this, and the whole project is so huge that I don't know what to say -- the closest analogue is probably "One Hundred Years of Solitude", and I definitely liked it better than that. It's a big national epic, and so on, and it has all sorts of crazy magical happenings. "The Tin Drum" is the same -- any novel with pretensions to "epic" status in the twentieth century has to resort to magic, I guess, because "realism" defines itself consciously against the very project o...more
Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

The CCLaP 100: In which I read for the first time a hundred so-called "classics," then write reports on whether or not they deserve the label

Essay #58: Midnight's Children (1981), by Salman Rushdie

The story in a nutshell:
The second novel of this young cosmopolitan's career, after a science-fiction debut th...more
Weinz
Jun 11, 2009 Weinz rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: David (you'll have to wait for 2010 though)
Shelves: favorites
You know that feeling when you see a mosquito and all of a sudden you feel little might-be-bites on your skin? Just the sight of the blood sucking insect and your body automatically reverts back to that familiar feeling of intrusion and betrayal as that little flying nothing starts sucking and taking what is yours.

That is what reading this was like. Kinda sorta.

I loved it. Rushdie can definitely spin a tale. As JKB would say, this guy is going places. He was able to pull you into his story and...more
Megha
This was awarded the "Booker of Bookers". For me, Midnight's Children is my "Favorite of Favorites". Pure Gold.
Mikela
Synopsis: "Saleem Sinai was born at midnight, the midnight of India's independence, and finds himself mysteriously 'handcuffed to history' by the coincidence. He is one of 1,001 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 voices and a wildly sensitive sense of smell -- we are drawn into a fascinating family saga set against the vast, colou...more
Michael Preston
The best of Salman Rushie's novels, in my opinion. Sort of autobiographical, and sort of the story of Indian independence (and partition). The fifth paragraph is one of my favorites in English literature:

One Kashmiri morning in the early spring of 1915, my grandfather Aadam Aziz hit his nose against a frost-hardened tussock of earth while attempting to pray. Three drops of blood plopped out of his left nostril, hardened instantly in the brittle air and lay before his eyes on the prayer-mat, tr...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • Something to Answer For
  • Saville
  • Holiday
  • A Dance to the Music of Time: 1st Movement
  • Under the Net
  • A House for Mr Biswas
  • The Famished Road
  • The Death of the Heart
  • Rites of Passage (To the Ends of the Earth, #1)
  • Studs Lonigan
  • Staying On
  • The Golden Notebook
  • Loving
  • The Shadow Lines
  • The Siege of Krishnapur (Empire Trilogy, #2)
  • The Great Indian Novel
  • Heat and Dust
  • Such a Long Journey
3299
Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie is a novelist and essayist. Much of his early fiction is set at least partly on the Indian subcontinent. His style is often classified as magical realism, while a dominant theme of his work is the story of the many connections, disruptions and migrations between the Eastern and Western world.

His fourth novel, The Satanic Verses, led to protests from Muslims in several coun...more
More about Salman Rushdie...
The Satanic Verses Haroun and the Sea of Stories The Enchantress Of Florence Shalimar the Clown The Moor's Last Sigh

Share This Book

“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'm gone which would not have happened if I had not come.” 397 likes
“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 more than his own.” 203 likes
More quotes…