Nathan's Reviews > Midnight's Children

Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
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Apr 08, 11

Recommended for: anyone with a bit of patience
I own a copy, read count: 3

"Midnight's Children" is the only book I've come across that actually made me feel privileged just having the opportunity to read it. It is, hands down, the best thing I have ever read.

This book actually ruined a lot of other literature for me—after reading "Midnight's," many author's descriptive phrases, their use of symbolism and allegory... well, they just seem contrived, even forced. Rushdie's prose is so sparkling and full of life, you can't help but smile. Even when you know he's being clever, it's not annoying as it can be with some authors—he, with few exceptions—pulls it off brilliantly.

Is "Midnight's" perfect? Well, no. There are a few history-heavy chapters that are difficult to get through; this is also somewhat true of the last third ("Book Three") of the novel in general. (It really helps to do some boning up on Indo-Pakistani relations on Wikipedia, if you're not familiar with that section of the world.) There is a very poignant and disquieting scene atop a minaret whose poignancy and disquietude are actually very easy to miss due to the way it is described (this is the one time I was glad I was using a Spark Notes reading guide!). Another thing: Rushdie spends so much time foreshadowing the Widow and the events connected with her that when the story finally gets to that point, it's hardly a revelation (although, here's a hint: don't read the Preface!) Also, about a third of the way through Midnight's Children, you get the feeling that the ending of the novel cannot possibly live up to the almost-ecstaticly-effervescent prose in Books One and Two. And this proves to be true. However, this didn't stop me from being genuinely sad when I had finished reading.

After I finished "The Satanic Verses" (an utterly disappointing mess of a book) I wanted to make sure that I hadn't just become jaded and used to Rushdie's style, and so I skimmed the beginning of "Midnight's Children" to quickly reaffirm that it was indeed as good as I remembered. Almost instantly, the joy of reading it came back, and I ended up re-reading "Midnight's" from start to finish. I highly recommend a second reading, as all of Saleem's references to future events will bring a smile to your face, and you will share in his reminiscences and his joyful retelling. It will all "click" in a way that is quite different from the first time through.

If you're new to Rushdie, do yourself a favor and start with "Midnight's Children." I really can't recommend it highly enough.
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Quotes Nathan Liked

Salman Rushdie
“Reality is a question of perspective; the further you get from the past, the more concrete and plausible it seems - but as you approach the present, it inevitably seems more and more incredible.”
Salman Rushdie, Midnight's Children

Salman Rushdie
“Everything has shape, if you look for it. There is no escape from form.”
Salman Rushdie, Midnight's Children

Salman Rushdie
“I have been a swallower of lives; and to know me, just the one of me, you'll have to swallow the lot as well.”
Salman Rushdie, Midnight's Children

Salman Rushdie
“I have been so-many too-many persons; life, unlike syntax, allows one more than three.”
Salman Rushdie, Midnight's Children


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