Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Midnight's Children

Rate this book
Saleem Sinai is born at the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947, the very moment of India’s independence. Greeted by fireworks displays, cheering crowds, and Prime Minister Nehru himself, Saleem grows up to learn the ominous consequences of this coincidence. His every act is mirrored and magnified in events that sway the course of national affairs; his health and well-being are inextricably bound to those of his nation; his life is inseparable, at times indistinguishable, from the history of his country. Perhaps most remarkable are the telepathic powers linking him with India’s 1,000 other “midnight’s children,” all born in that initial hour and endowed with magical gifts.

This novel is at once a fascinating family saga and an astonishing evocation of a vast land and its people–a brilliant incarnation of the universal human comedy. Twenty-five years after its publication, Midnight’ s Children stands apart as both an epochal work of fiction and a brilliant performance by one of the great literary voices of our time.

647 pages, Paperback

First published March 12, 1981

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Salman Rushdie

130 books11k followers
The Satanic Verses (1988), novel of Indian-born British writer Salman Rushdie led Ruholla Khomeini, the ayatollah of Iran, to demand his execution and then forced him into hiding; his other works include Midnight's Children (1981), which won the Booker prize, and The Moor's Last Sigh (1995).

Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie, a novelist and essayist, set much of his early fiction 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 led to some violent protests from Muslims in several countries. Faced with death threats and a fatwa (religious edict) issued by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, then Supreme Leader of Iran, which called for him to be killed, he spent nearly a decade largely underground, appearing in public only sporadically. In June 2007, he was appointed a Knight Bachelor for "services to literature", which "thrilled and humbled" him. In 2007, he began a five-year term as Distinguished Writer in Residence at Emory University.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
46,307 (38%)
4 stars
40,503 (33%)
3 stars
22,395 (18%)
2 stars
7,800 (6%)
1 star
3,541 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 8,065 reviews
Profile Image for Turhan Sarwar.
2 reviews98 followers
June 10, 2008
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 distractable narrator or a vehicle for (perhaps cheaply) tantalizing the reader... or both.

I'll admit that at first I didn't appreciate being so persistently manipulated. Many times in the first few chapters I found myself closing the book in anger, thinking to myself "If the story is worth it, this tactic is utterly unnecessary."

The tactic, it turns out, is unnecessary. The book--the story--is stunning. It's stunning enough that the frustrating aspects of the telling are forgivable and actually retrospectively satisfying (which I suspect is what the author wanted). While the fractional digressions, on the one hand, can have you groping around for a lighter--they, on the other hand, work to accustom you to the novel's epically meandering pace. Also, they effectively allow you to feel a certain urgency near the end of the book, as the narrator "runs out of time."

The imagery is lush; the characters are curiously, magically lopsided; the language is complicated and beautiful; the chapters are nicely portioned despite the initial plodding pace; the narrative is deliberately allegorical, which perhaps suggests an enhanced enjoyment of the work after studying a bit of Indian history. Elements of the story's frame (the narrator writing in a pickle factory with sweet Padma reading along) are particularly amusing, and the chapter entitled "In the Sundarbans" is nothing short of breathtaking.

The book will go slow in the beginning; the book means to; give it patience--it's worth it, I think.
Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,119 reviews44.8k followers
December 7, 2020
Midnight’s Children is an absolute masterful piece of writing.

It is entertaining, intelligent, informative, progressive and even funny: it is an astoundingly well balanced epic that captures the birth of a new independent nation. I hold it in such high regard.

The children are all fractured and divided; they are born into a new country that is yet to define itself in the wake of colonialism: it has no universal language, religion or culture. The children reflect this; they are spread out and unconnected to each other. As such Rushdie raises a critical question: does India even exist? These children are born on the night of India’s independence, but what exactly are they born into? The mass of land they occupy is yet to establish what it now is: it is something new, a place with an internal battle raging between modernisation and tradition. It’s not the India it was the day before, and it’s certainly not the India it was before the colonisers came.

“What's real and what's true aren't necessarily the same.”

Saleem, our narrator and protagonist, reflects this. He is a hybrid, born into two worlds. He has powers, powers that allow him to connect telepathically with the other children born into the new nation. They all have their own gifts and they all represent an infectious optimism, a powerful hope that things will start to get better. Their progress in the story, their successes and failures, reflect the development of the new India. As Saleem begins to fall apart, as he begins to lose himself, the optimism begins to shatter and things go terribly wrong: war approaches, death approaches.

Rushdie plays around with reality, warping it and twisting it to the point where its very nature becomes an allegory for the failings of society. The India he has created is both removed and part of the real world. He has used human terms, and human emotions, to personify a country. Through this he demonstrates how it can waver and falter and how it can fail and become a victim to its own passions. It’s an exceedingly clever device. Saleem is egotistical and unreliable, but his life is a physical manifestation of post-independent India. On a character level he actually thinks he is altering events, though he only ever mirrors it.

“Memory's truth, because 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.”

All great literature should be subjective. All great literature should have a multitude of ramifications. If we go away with one single clean cut meaning or interpretation then the author has failed to some degree. Literature needs to make us think; it needs to make us question the world and our place within it. And Rushdie certainly does that. You may disagree with my reading. I think Midnight’s Children can be seen in a number of different ways, and I’d love to hear what other people thought it all meant.

There’s just so much going on in this book, I could literally write several essays on it. Rushdie draws heavily on Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude by recreating the long drawn out family saga told in the magical realist mode to represent reality in a more truthful way than standard story telling would allow; however, Rushdie transcends it in so many ways. I will be reading The Satanic Verses very soon I think, and I will definitely be writing on Rushdie for my university work.

This is clearly one of the most important novels written in the last fifty years.
Profile Image for Dr. Appu Sasidharan (Dasfill).
1,265 reviews2,439 followers
July 29, 2022
"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."

The story of Saleem Sinai's life, born at the midnight of India's independence, can be construed as India's story after independence with the sublime intertwining of the protagonist's emotions with that of the country.

The violence and callousness are corollaries to any colonial rule. The author intricately portrays the quandaries of the denizens and their children born at midnight in the new India amid the ebullience of independence and the dolors of the partition. It is riveting to see, despite the controversies, how the characters' countenance convinced even the not so gullible Indian Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi. Not even Rushdie's harshest critic can say that this novel seemed contrived to them.

The interplay of reality and magical realism makes this novel as gratifying as its kindred congenial companion, One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez. There is no wonder that this book won the Booker Prize (1981), Booker of Bookers prize (1993), and The Best of the Booker prize (2008).

"Because silence, too, has an echo, hollower and longer-lasting than the reverberations of any sound."
Profile Image for Kevin Ansbro.
Author 5 books1,469 followers
August 15, 2022
To understand just one life, you have to swallow the world."
—Salman Rushdie, Midnight's Children.

For me, one of the most important books of our modern age.
I ADORE this playful, historical epic: Salman Rushdie is a literary god in my eyes, and can do little wrong - so I am biased.
Rushdie is one of the authors who has influenced my own style of writing, even though his overly-descriptive approach is discouraged by publishing editors the world over.
The 'midnight's children' of the story are those born in the first hour of India's independence from British rule.
It is true that the novel's digressive, meandering plot is as difficult to crack as the enigma code, but do please stick with it.
Midnight's Children is picturesque and read-gasmic. Rushdie's wascally wabbit mischievousness tickles each paragraph from start to finish, and his human imagery is second to none.
Herein is an India where streets abound with bicycle-repair shops and itinerant snake charmers.
You could literally randomly poke a pin at any sentence in the book and witness flourishes of Rushdie's genius. For each new reader, an abundance of chaotic brilliance awaits.
This is magical realism at its very best.
If you are in love with the alchemy of words and are able to luxuriate in them, then read it, please just read it!

Ben Blatt, in his recent book Nabokov's Favourite Word is Mauve, uses mathematical formulae to interpret literature. Through this process he has discovered that Rushdie's book is the most ejaculative British novel of all time, racking up 2,131 exclamation marks per 100,000 words.
My reaction to that is, who cares????
Midnight's Children is one of the best books ever written - and Rushdie can add as many exclamation marks as he likes!!!!!!!!!!!!

Second update:

"Free speech is the whole thing, the whole ball game. Free speech is life itself."
—Sir Salman Rushdie
Profile Image for Michael Finocchiaro.
Author 3 books5,633 followers
December 19, 2020
This is my absolute favourite Rushdie novel. Its background of the Partition of India and Pakistan after the disastrous and cowardly retreat of the British occupiers and the ensuing Emergency under Indira Ghandi provides a breathtaking tableau for Rushdie's narrative. His narrator is completely unreliable and that is what makes the story so fascinating. I lend this book out so many times after talking about it so much (and never got my paperback copy returned) that I had to buy a hardcover that I would no longer lend out so as not to lose it anymore. It was the first time I read a book with this kind of narration (mostly having had the omniscient, distant 3rd party narrator or the interior dialog or stream-of-consciousness 1st person narrator) and this was a revelation for me which later led me to read DFW, Pynchon and other post-modern writers with relish. A fantastic 20th C masterpiece!

I used to talk about it all the time and lend it out and folks liked it so much that I kept having to replace my paperback copy. At one point, I got fed up and bought a hardcover that I don't lend out anymore. The backdrop of the horrors of the partition of India and Pakistan, bungled so badly by the United Kingdom's cowardly retreat leaving a chaotic bloody vacuum in '48, is already compelling but what really makes this novel so fascinating for me is the unreliable narration. It was the first book I read where the first person narrator was a known liar and so you could not always believe what he said. In terms of writing and narration, this was quite a revelation to me (who was used to the omniscient and neutral 3rd person narrator or the deep stream-of-conscious first person narrator). I found it fast-paced and extremely well-written. If you have never read Rushdie before, this is where I would suggest you start!
Profile Image for Vit Babenco.
1,464 reviews3,615 followers
August 19, 2022
Midnight’s Children is panoramic and complex and rich in events and thoughts.
Well then: at night. No, it’s important to be more… On the stroke of midnight, as a matter of fact. Clock-hands joined palms in respectful greeting as I came. Oh, spell it out, spell it out: at the precise instant of India’s arrival at independence, I tumbled forth into the world. There were gasps. And, outside the window, fireworks and crowds. A few seconds later, my father broke his big toe; but Ms accident was a mere trifle when set beside what had befallen me in that benighted moment, because thanks to the occult tyrannies of those blandly saluting clocks I had been mysteriously handcuffed to history, my destinies indissolubly chained to those of my country.

Time, history, nations – those are tremendous… A single human life – it’s a mote of dust dancing in the ray of sunlight and blown by the wind…
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.

Our memory is our past – what we do not remember, didn’t happen.
Profile Image for Adina .
889 reviews3,539 followers
October 13, 2019
It was more of a 3* experience but I know it would have been a 5* if I had read this book when I was younger and in love with magical realism. Unfortunately, there is a timing for everything and the genre does not appeal to me anymore. There are exceptions such as Junot Diaz's Oscar. It took me a while to finish as I read a couple of other books in between but I am glad I did. I liked it, it is a masterpiece of the genre and I recommend it to anyone who wants to try magical realism . It is the "IT" book together with Marques's 100 years of solitude.

There are so many excellent reviews to this novel that I am not going to write one.
Profile Image for Rebecca.
308 reviews170 followers
December 11, 2011
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 sole purpose of letting a writer wallow in their own history, their own problems, their own pet concerns, desires, and childhood hangups. Books like this are not mirrors of the world, or even mirrors of the author, but mirrors of how the author wants to be seen by the world.

There are patches of writing in this book that startle, amuse, and tantalize the reader, but the story is not as interesting as the narrator or the author seem to think it is; in fact, the narrator's constant references to the depth/difficulty/complex interconnectedness of his story all rang false to me. The narrator constantly tried to impress the reader with the gravity, absurdity, necessity, etc. of the story he was telling: there were lots of annoying, melodramatic asides to the reader along the lines of "O, this!" "O, that" "If only--" "But I must wait to get to that later!", which only served to distract from a story that should have just been left to stand on its own.

I'm not necessarily the type of reader who wants concrete, literal, plot-driven stories, but I'm also not the type of reader who has infinite patience for postmodern, self-inflated authors who either have a degree in literature and waste no time bludgeoning you with that fact, or don't have a degree in literature and waste no time in showing you just how good they are despite it all.

And, lastly, above and beyond the annoying narrator, the rambling story that went on for about 200 too many pages, and the author's disrespect (or at least disregard) for the reader, the last and crushing blow I can deliver to this book is that it was boring. The narrator – who, by the way, is a fairly flat character despite having over 500 pages to develop himself -- went to great pains to convince us otherwise, with constant reminders of how "epic" and "interconnected" his life was and how it resonated with the history of modern India, but in my opinion, a truly interesting story wouldn't need an obsequious narrator to constantly remind us how interesting it was.

I realize I'm in a minority in my dislike of this book; after all, it won the Booker Prize and is widely regarded to be one of the most important novels in English-language literature. I also realize I haven't said anything about what the book is actually about (in a nutshell: a coming-of-age story with a heavy dollop of magical realism and self-pity, with doses of Indian life scattered throughout) -- but all I felt when turning the last page of this book was relief.
Profile Image for Cecily.
1,137 reviews4,175 followers
August 14, 2022
Today, 14 August 2022, is the 75th anniversary of Pakistan's independence, and tomorrow India will celebrate 75 years of its independence. Partition occurred at midnight between 14 and 15 August - the pivotal moment of this book. It's poignant that as I joined the local Pakistani-heritage community's celebrations today, and was thinking of this, probably Rushdie's second most famous book, he is recovering from being stabbed multiple times.

Prophesy and partition

“Nose and knees and knees and nose” – part of a prophecy about the unborn narrator. A few days after reading this, I was fortunate to be in the Acropolis Museum, and was struck by a collection of three bas-reliefs that were just of knees. Coupled with the relative lack of whole noses on some of the statues, I was transported back to this book.

This was my first adult Rushdie, following soon after his gorgeous children’s/YA novel, Haroun and the Sea of Stories.

My initial reaction to this was “The language is lush and sensuous, seasoned with a little wit. But I feel hampered by my vague knowledge of Indian history, culture and mythology”. I thought much same at the end, although I also realised it’s a powerful and entrancing book at any level.

“I am the sum total of everything that went before me… To understand me you’ll have to swallow the world.” But not just him, “To understand just one life, you have to swallow the world.”

What and for who(m)?

A knowledge of 20th century Indian history is clearly an advantage but, given the complexity and length of the story, it might be a slight distraction as well. Perhaps a timeline of key events would be a useful appendix.

In the preface, Rushdie observes that Indians treat it as historical fiction and westerners as fantasy. I think it’s a hybrid, with the mystical, magical, surreal aspects increasing towards the end. He also explains that many of the characters are based on family and childhood friends. He doesn't mention that the adult bedwetter shares a name with his own son! His son was an infant at the time of writing, so it may have reflected the frustrations of early parenthood, but I can't believe his son thanked him for it later. On the other hand, Haroun and the Sea of Stories, written a few years later, has a beautiful and heart-breaking to the same son.

It’s a curious, disorienting book that has passages of conventional narrative interspersed with rambling passages of history, allegory, philosophical reverie, and recaps and foreshadowing of plot. It’s worth keeping a few notes, as many characters change name and/or turn out not to be who you were first told they were.

Reading it was a strange sensation: it was so far removed from anything familiar to me that it could almost have been sci-fi (I know that sounds weird). I loved some of the language, and appreciated the craft of the author, but I could not quite love it in the way I wanted and expected to. Straight after this, I turned to Atwood’s The Blind Assassin, which is another long and multi-layered novel, but where the desire to read just a little bit more was a deeper compulsion, with no parallel sense of… worthiness (not the right word, but I’m not sure what is).

Rushdie delivered, but I fell short. The book deserves all its awards and a full 5*, but my own experience was 4*.


The plot is both simple and complex (duality and opposites are recurring themes).

Saleem (the narrator)’s mother visits a soothsayer when pregnant, and his bizarre and seemingly contradictory conundrums sum up events, including: the knees and nose (above), “two heads – but you shall see only one… cobra will creep… Washing will hide him – voices will guide him… Blood will betray him” mentions of doctors, spittoons, jungle, wizards and soldiers, ending “He will have sons without having sons! He will be old before he is old! And he will die. . . before he is dead!”

Saleem is born at midnight on the day India becomes independent, and raised in a wealthy Indian family. As a child, he becomes aware of a telepathic link to other Indian children born that night: Midnight’s Children, each of whom has at least one special power. “Thanks to the occult tyrannies of those blandly saluting clocks, I had been mystically handcuffed to history”.

The events he tells, from his grandparent’s meeting onwards, are many and varied, but with common themes, woven in to a kaleidoscopic story that stays just short of confusing.


Early on, the idea of something being revealed in fragments is introduced, and later, Saleem says “the ghostly echo of that perforated sheet… condemned me to see my own life – its meanings, its structures – in fragments also.” Midnight’s Children are fragmented across the country; Saleem is their only connection. Hence, it seems appropriate to conjure impressions of the book from its many disparate, but intertwined, themes. As for assembling all these fragments…? That’s where I feel I failed slightly.

Fragments and holes, versus wholeness

When Dr Aadam Aziz (Saleem’s grandfather) found himself “unable to worship a god in whose existence he could not wholly disbelieve”, it “made a hole in him… leaving him vulnerable to women and history.” There are many mentions of that hole (and others): “Sometimes, through a trick of the light, Amina thought she saw, in the centre of her father’s body, a dark shadow like a hole.”

The original perforated sheet is used to examine a young female patient, seeing only what he needs to see. After many different ailments, he had a “badly-fitting collage of her severally-inspected parts” that filled up the hole inside him, even though he had never seen her face. It is sensitively and sensuously written.

Loving in fragments is harder, especially when the subject is “now unified and transmuted into a formidable figure”, but more than one character attempts it.

A descendant uses a different piece of perforated fabric to maintain modesty and anonymity while pursuing a singing career.

Duality, pairs and opposites

There are so many instances and aspects of these concepts, that there is no need to list or expand on them. Perhaps the most significant are Saleem and his “destructive, violent alter-ego”, leading opposite lives, and The Widow (Mrs Gandhi) with her centre parting giving her a white side and black side.

Snakes (and ladders), hence reversal

As prophesised, snakes are important, both real and imaginary. Cobra venom cures typhoid, and from Snakes and Ladders (“perfect balance of rewards and penalties”), Saleem has “an early awareness of the ambiguity of snakes” and encounters plenty of ups and downs. This is an area where knowledge of Indian mythology would help.


Biological and metaphorical impotence, permanent and temporary, affects several characters (quite apart from mention of high-pressure sterilisation campaigns), including the nation of India itself.

Confused parentage, gaining parents

“Once again a child was to be born to a father who was not his father, although by a terrible irony the child would be the true grandchild of his father’s parents.”

Not everyone is the biological child of who they are thought to be, not just from illicit relationships, but also, in incident at the heart of the book, by the deliberate act of a third party. Furthermore, Saleem develops a habit of acquiring a string of fathers and father figures.


Some characters are known by nicknames (Saleem’s grandmother is Reverend Mother and his sister The Brass Monkey), and others change their name – especially women, to have children (his grandmother, mother and wife). This probably resonates with Indian mythology and culture in ways I don’t know.

Storytelling, truth, memory, reality, and free speech

“What’s real and what’s true are not necessarily the same.”

“Reality is a question of perspective; the further you get from the past, the more concrete and plausible it seems.” Just as a cinema screen looks real until you’re so close you can see the pixels.

“Memory’s truth… in the end it creates its own reality.”

“What actually happens is less important than what the author can manage to persuade his audience to believe.”

This was written years before the fatwa that sent Rushdie into hiding (and which is reflected in Haroun; see my review, linked at the top). However, a punishment in this is to “seal our lips”, like the "Sign of the Zipped Lips" in Haroun. One character here is voluntarily mute for three years, as a protest, and another is very late learning to speak.


All the Midnight’s Children have a power. Saleem considers his telepathic and telegraphic skills to be the most powerful (“the ability to look into the hearts and minds of men”), with those born less close to midnight having progressively weaker skills. But others can become invisible, step in and out of mirrors, multiply fish, change sex at will, inflict physical pain with words, have perfect memory, heal, do alchemy, time travel, speak all languages, prophesy and more. Appropriately, the child of two Midnight’s Children is mute for three years, then his first word is Abracadabra.

There is also a little numerology: 420 = fraud, 1001 = magic, 555 = evil.


Several characters disappear for a time, or permanently: oblivion via the Djinn bottle, magical invisibility, running away, death, and two who apparently have vitiligo.

Time and preservation

The time of birth is key to Saleem’s life and self-appointed mission to rescue his country. He ends up (no spoiler – he says this early on) as a pickle-maker and a writer: “I spend my time at the great work of preserving. Memory, as well as fruit, is being saved from the corruption of the clocks.” This reminded me of one of the few other Indian books I’ve read, The God of Small Things, in which the family has a pickle factory.

Smell and other senses

Saleem has a huge nose, and at different times has no sense of smell and a very powerful, magical one that can detect safety, danger, the “glutinous reek of hypocrisy” and “the fatalistic hopelessness of the slum dwellers and the smug defensiveness of the rich”. “The perfume of her sad hopefulness permeates her.”

Emotions can be transferred via sewing and cooking: “the curries and meatballs of intransigence… fish salans of stubbornness and the birianis of determination” and clothes “into whose seams she had sewn her old maid’s bile… the baby-things of bitterness, then the rompers of resentment… the starch of jealousy… our wardrobe was binding us into the webs of her revenge.”


Blood was in the prophecy in a specific way, but it crops up in many other ways and there are a couple of paragraphs where Saleem rattles them off.

Spittoon and Anglepoise

A silver spittoon inlaid with lapis lazuli is important, as are spittoons in general. I felt the cultural gap here.

Trivial (or maybe not), but within the first hundred pages, I’d noted at least three variants of “Anglepoised pool of light”. Having spotted it, it was almost more distracting to find only two more in the remaining 500+ pages.

I'm not the only person to have noticed:

Salman Rushdie and Translation:
"the Anglepoise lamp, a uniquely individualistic type of lighting which lights up only the small, restricted area of desk or writing materials in its scope. The phrase also seems to imply Anglophone or Anglophile literary writing alongside the notion of writing by lamplight."

Salman Rushdie: Critical Essays volume 1:
"The trope of the Anglepoise light... suggests the divided sensibility in Saleem, a child born in post-colonial India, not post-Independence India."

And the moral is...?

I’m not sure there is one. The subject is raised obliquely a few times, but somehow feels lacking. I’m puzzled that I wrote that: I don’t seek out morality tales, but as I compile this review, I realise this felt like the sort of book that had, or ought to have, such a thread, and yet I lost it in the rich tapestry.

The Midnight Children “found it easy to be brilliant, [but] we were always confused about being good”, just as Saleem used his powers to cheat in class in an attempt to gain parental approval.

Another gap was precisely WHY Mary Pereira does the thing she does. A reason is given, but it doesn’t really make sense to me, and the implications and effects are so huge, I wanted to understand. Related to that, why did those who found out, not try to investigate and find?

“For what reason you’re rich and I’m poor?”


• “His face was a sculpture of wind and water: ripples made of hide.”

• “Most of what happens in our lives happens in our absence.”

• “Even in his moments of triumph, there hung the stink of future failure.”

• “Poverty eats away at the tarmac like a drought, where people live their invisible lives.”

• “He had eyes like road-drills, hard and full of ratatat.”

• “An apartment of such supernatural untidiness.”

• “Blurred the edges of himself by drink.”

• "I have become, it seems to me, the apex of an isosceles triangle, supported equally by twin deities, the wild god of memory and the lotus-goddess of the present... but must I now be reconciled to the narrow one-dimensionality of a straight line?"

• “Uncreated lives rotting in her womb.”

• “We could hear the creaks and groans of a rustling, decayed imagination.”

• Army recruits “were so young, and had not had time to acquire the type of memories which give men a firm hold on reality.”

• When invisible, “I hung in a sphere of absence”.

• “A girl who followed him with eyes moistened with accusation.”

• “The widow’s finest, most delicate joke: instead of torturing us, she gave us hope. Which meant she had something… to take away.”

• “Soft, amorous susurrations, like the couplings of velvet mice.”

• “The quinquesyllabic monotony of the wheels.”

• Apparently, Lady Mountbatten “ate chicken breasts secretly behind a locked lavatory door.” It is strange if true, and even stranger to mention it.

There were also a few multi-tense strings, which were quite effective in context: “we were are shall be the gods you never had” and he ”will be is already more cautious.”
Profile Image for Samadrita.
295 reviews4,674 followers
August 6, 2015
What's real and what's true aren't necessarily the same.

Discard skepticism as you approach this epic. Suspend disbelief. Because myth and truth blend into each other imperfectly to spin a gossamer-fine web of reality on which the nation state is balanced precariously. And we, the legatees of this yarn, are caught up in a surrealist farce which plays out interminably in this land of heat and dust and many smells, our rational selves perennially clashing with our shallow beliefs but eventually succumbing to an incomprehensible love of the absurd. Illusion has more to offer than you think.

Approach this panorama with a sense of wonder. This land of Sultunates of slave-kings and Empires wrought by alien invaders, of manic religious ritualism, of a civilization which had co-existed with Mesopotamia and Egypt, of most accomplished snake-charmers of the world, of crushing poverty and staggering riches. The peepshow-man with his dugdugee drum beckons you to behold the images of Meenakshi temple and the Taj Mahal and the Bodhgaya and the holy Ganges streaming down from Lord Shiva's tresses to quench our mortal thirst. And you cannot be a witness to the unfolding of a spectacle without awe.

Approach this homage to the spirit of a time and place with joined palms, head dipping mildly in reverence. With palms bracing the earth, knees bent, forehead kissing the ground. With a hand raised to the forehead then the heart and each shoulder. With an erect palm, thumb and forefinger meeting in a circle. Our pantheon of divinities will look down on you with displeasure otherwise.
But above all, approach this plenitude of tales within tales within tales with love. Without love for the shared fantasy of 'unity in diversity', this book would not have existed at all.
If I seem a little bizarre, remember the wild profusion of my inheritance ... perhaps, if one wishes to remain an individual in the midst of teeming multitudes, one must make oneself grotesque.

O Swallower of Multitudes! Bearer of Multiple Identities! Assimilator of a million and one traditions! Nation of dubious ancestry, born of imperialism and revolution, of three hundred and thirty million gods and goddesses, prophets and saviours and enlightened ones, fortune-tellers and clairvoyants, fantasies and dreams and nightmares, of self contradictions galore, this is a love letter to you from a besotted son if there ever was one. O people of fractured selves, you who have been scarred by the vicissitudes of history, traumatized by partitioned fates, absorbed by the currents of dynastic politics, afflicted by the optimism disease, gather up and listen to the saga of midnight's children, your very own: one a child of hardwon freedom, other a child of flesh and blood.

Saleem and India. India and Saleem. Not-identical twins but twins bound to mirror each other's ambiguous trysts with destiny, twins doomed to share a love-hate relationship. Listen to vain, foolish, self-deluded, cuckolded Saleem and his self-aggrandizing story-telling. Awash in the glow of his 'Anglepoised pool of light' as he is, fallacious and chutneyfied as his 'history' is, I detect in his voice a quiver, a note of humble deference and endless love.

Love of lapiz-lazuli encrusted silver spittoons, and perforated sheets, of the progress of a nation tied tragicomically with his own. Love of flap-eared Ganesh and a resolutely silent, flap-eared son, love of Sunderbans' phantasmal mangrove forests and Bombay's non-conformity. Love of the blue skies of Kashmir and the hubbub of old Delhi's slums and Amritsar's narrow, malodorous bylanes. Love of people and places beyond borders.
There are as many versions of India as Indians....

Do you not make out the throbbing ache in his declamations, for historical compounds left bloodied by dastardly mustachioed brigadiers? For a subcontinent trifurcated meaninglessly and wars waged without rhyme or reason? Can you discern the tone of suppressed anguish and rage for the promise of midnight's children withering away under the harsh glare of an Emergency? The grief for a broken republic and a flickering hope for regeneration and renewal?
Midnight has many children; the offspring of Independence were not all human. Violence, corruption, poverty, generals, chaos, greed and pepperpots ... I had to go into exile to learn that the children of midnight were more varied than I - even I - had dreamed.

I can. In Saleem's contrived cornucopia of stories 'leaking' into each other, I sense his despondency and his joy, his pride and his guilt. And in his implicit avowals of filial love, I find an expression of my own.
I had entered into the illusion of the artist, and thought of the multitudinous realities of the land as the raw unshaped material of my gift.

'Midnight's Children' might be an overblown, unsubtle metaphor for India but it is also a celebration of multiplicity in a universal context. Despite the narrative's flaws and the forced nature of the analogies in the latter half, I choose to honour Saleem Sinai's self-professed intentions. I choose to remember and cherish it as an act of love, as an act of faith.
Profile Image for Lisa.
991 reviews3,320 followers
August 8, 2019
The power of the storytelling left me speechless - all the words were in the novel, and there were none left for me!

If there ever was a novel that changed the way I read, this is it. I must have read each sentence several times, just to follow the thread of the confusing story, and I still got lost in the labyrinth of individual and collective history that unfolds on the stroke of Midnight, on the night of India's independence. So completely taken in by the children who are born on that particular stroke of midnight, thus beginning their lives together with the state, I must have bought at least ten more copies of it over the course of the years, to give to relatives and friends in different parts of the world. It was not always a welcome present, and some people looked at me strangely after giving up on reading it. They seemed to have come to the conclusion that my mind must be as confused as the novel if I was infatuated with it to the degree that I began to ramble when I talked about it.

But it is just such a perfect example of how literature transcends reality and stays true at the same time. It is deeply connected to its roots in post-colonial India, and yet universal in its idea of humanity.

Are we really who we think we are? Does it even matter if we are who we think we are, or is it more important that we are what we are meant to be? What decides what we are meant to be then?

The sum total of what came before us and led to our being born constitutes the stage which we enter. Then we act out the play which is co-written by humanity, and it is definitely a tragedy, for we "all owe death a life", which is what tragedy is all about: life leading to death. Whatever happens to us has the effect of a "deus ex machina", and sometimes there are more gods in machines than we can handle, keep track of, or even describe in a novel. Sometimes the gods get stuck in their machines as well. Anything is possible on the stage of life. And it is always opening night, first performance, debut. We forget our lines, and we ramble. In life and in art. In this novel, we stumble over words spoken too fast, as if the characters are afraid that the curtain will fall before they have had their fair share of the show.

How come it is so hopelessly funny then, this tragedy of India? How come each story line makes me smile through tears?

In my memory, the novel grows to an explosion of the senses: I hear a cacophony of voices chatting incoherently in my head, I see colours merge into fireworks of lametta, I feel the heat and cold and humidity and dryness of an India I have never been to, I taste the foods whose names I cannot pronounce, I touch and I am touched by the story which contains a truth deeper than reality. It is funny in the exhilarating way a roller coaster is funny. You slowly move upwards, seeing where you are heading, feeling your stomach react to the fall before it comes, hoping for it to end and to go on forever. You feel dizzy and brave and alive, but confused.

Do I remember the plot correctly? Well, memory itself is a tricky one:

"Memory's truth, because 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."

So I trust my own memory, and declare that what I remember is true.

This is a masterpiece! It was written in 1981. Where's that Nobel? Stuck in a broken god machine? Nothing to be surprised at there - the novel is about how such things happen.
Profile Image for Leonard Gaya.
Author 1 book935 followers
November 1, 2021
“To understand just one life, you have to swallow the world” (Everyman’s Library, p. 125). Midnight’s Children’s ambition is elephantine: a multi-layered, dizzying kaleidoscope encompassing and spinning together the narrator’s phantasmagorical biography, the complicated history of 20th-century India, and the deep-rooted beliefs and cultural archetypes of its people. In a (long) word, Midnight’s Children is a sprawling, swirling historical-auto-meta-fictional-polyglottal-confabulating-Bildungsroman.

In a (different) word: Saleem Sinai was born at the stroke of midnight, on the 15th of August 1947, at the exact moment of India’s independence from the British Empire and its partition into two countries, India and Pakistan. One thousand and one other babies were born during that same fateful and miraculous hour, and their destinies were thereafter intimately connected.

This (unreliable) tale speaks of its narrator and its author just as well: Saleem and Salman, both born in 1947, both of Kashmiri Muslim descent, both raised in Bombay, both bearers of a twitchy nose. The novel starts 30 years before their birth, at the end of World War I, and spans across time, all the way to the late 1970s, 30 years after their birth, to the moment when the tale is being told, the book is being written, and a new generation is being born. Meanwhile, the narrative travels through space, like a flying carpet, from Delhi to Bombay and from Karachi to Dhaka.

In addition, Midnight’s Children subsumes a vast literary tradition. The style of Rushdie’s novel is strongly associated with magic realism, and Cien años de soledad often comes to mind: the archaic, almost mythic beginnings, the surreal elements, the circularity of time, the encyclopaedic scope. In a way, Midnight’s Children is a sort of “David Copperfield goes to Bollywood”, just as Cien años might be “Don Quijote goes to El Dorado”. Midnight’s Children also harks back (sometimes quite explicitly) to an even more venerable body of texts, such as the One Thousand and One Nights, with its frame narrative, the Book of Genesis or the Mahabharata, with their brotherly antagonisms (Abel vs Cain, Yudhishthira vs Duryodhana, Saleem vs Shiva, snakes & ladders, knees & nose).

All in all, Rushdie uses two metaphors to describe his literary project. The first one is at the start of the novel: it is the perforated sheet through which Aadam Aziz discovers, bit by bit, the body of his future wife and the growing love in his heart. The book proceeds in much the same way, like watching life through a keyhole or observing history through the lens of a camera, and putting together a disjointed, dis-chronological, dis-probable set of fragments, intentionally confusing and playfully assorted.

The second metaphor, at the very end of the novel, describes the upshot of this technique: “the chutnification of history; the grand hope of the pickling of time” (p. 585). Indeed, Midnight’s Children’s ambition is to jam together a complete family saga and the epic of a whole nation. A narrative that gobbles up an entire universe, like the vision of Krishna’s cosmic body in the Gita, with unlimited arms, faces, and stomachs, pureeing everything into a chunky concoction, a supreme turd. Admittedly, the result is, dare I say, tasty, spicy even? And yes, it is a perfect novel, a masterpiece... at times a bit overdone and stodgy as well… In a (last) word… *burp*
Profile Image for Robin.
493 reviews2,722 followers
December 24, 2019
Life is simply too short (and this book, far too long).

So, Merry Christmas to myself! Robin, you don't have to finish reading this endless, labyrinthine mess tangle. Putting the book down does not mean it "beat" you. It doesn't say anything definitively bad about you, as a reader. It just means that there is limited time on this earth and other great books are calling your name. Books that don't make your eyes cross and furrow your brow in exasperation and frustration.

Mr. Rushdie, it's not me, it's you.
Profile Image for Dolors.
539 reviews2,278 followers
October 22, 2017
“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. I am everyone everything whose being-in-the-world affected was affected by mine. I am anything that happens after I’ve gone which would not have happened if I had not come.”

Living different ways of grasping the meaning of man and the world should offer a deeper perspective than the usual reductionism that we oftentimes subject cultures that diverge from our own, and “Midnight’s Children” is a book that I lived rather than I read.
In deconstructing the concept of identity, Amin Maalouf tried to separate rootlessness from migration, the sense of belonging from nationalism, individual expression from collective duty, and it’s the Lebanese-born French journalist’s inferences that I hear as I turn the pages of Salman Rushdie’s masterpiece.

In the same way, applying the label of “magic realism” to “Midnight’s Children” is a blatant simplification. Do not misunderstand me, the narration fits the postmodernist tendency of Western metafiction, which includes abrupt changes in the chronological sequences told by an unreliable narrator that uses the language and spirit of a fairy tale. Those are indeed undeniable elements that distinguish this novel from more realistic and traditional approaches. But Rushdie goes beyond the generalization and creates a sui generis style with harmonious dialogue and sumptuous lyricism that entices the mind and warms the heart, blending myth and fiction with grotesque reality, rising the resulting hotchpotch to the level of colossal epic.
Likewise, this is not merely a novel on the turbulent historical events regarding the independence of India and its later partition from Pakistan, it’s the story of a man blessed or cursed with extraordinary gifts that is inexorably handcuffed to the making of a generation, descendant of a picturesque family lineage that paints an unorthodox portrait of the multifaceted culture of a certain era.
Rushdie has a very honest stance toward history. In his own words:

“History is always ambiguous. Facts are harsh to establish, and capable of being given many meanings. Reality is built on prejudices, misconceptions and ignorance as well as on our perceptiveness and knowledge.”

The narrator, the Indian Muslim Saleem Sinai, doesn’t claim to possess the absolute truth of the events that shape the world he lives in, he doesn’t even claim to understand them and so he teases but never poses, he plays with his imagination but never lies about his erratic memory which, either real, inaccurate or both, ends up participating as another fictional character in the story.

“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.”

With that warning in mind, the reader is in for an intertextual journey where everything is loaded with allegorical gist.
Numbers and literary references; A Thousand and One children born at midnight on the day that India proclaims its independence?
Symbolical characters; a super-snooted child of destiny that smells the future?
A vivid tapestry of religions, Asian ancestry and folklore; a hit-the-spittoon heirloom as emblem of a vanishing era? A perforated sheet as a token of stolen glimpses and love?
Salman Rushdie’s spicy prose is the result of twenty-six pickle-jars, namely chapters, of specially blended ingredients, of which sarcastic humor is not the least important. Fable, but never superstition, personal history, but never collective grievance, and a certain amount of magic realism create a multisensorial experience that weaves together the vanguardism of the Western literary tradition and the most distilled portrayal of the Indian tradition. Thus, Rushdie’s novel emerges not only as a colorful allegory for the birth of a “new India”, but also as an iconic text that signifies the birth of a “new world” where literature brings cultures closer across borders and allows people to hold on to the optimistic belief that what we have in common will finally overweight what drives us apart. Call me naive, but I think that’s a beautiful dream to have. Indeed.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews46 followers
May 4, 2022
Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie

Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie is a British-American novelist and essayist of Indian descent. Midnight's Children is a 1980 novel by Salman Rushdie that deals with India's transition from British colonialism to independence and the partition of British India. It is considered an example of postcolonial, postmodern, and magical realist literature. The story is told by its chief protagonist, Saleem Sinai, and is set in the context of actual historical events. The style of preserving history with fictional accounts is self-reflexive.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: هشتم ماه سپتامبر سال1988میلادی

عنوان: بچه‌ های نیمه‌ شب؛ نویسنده: سلمان رشدی؛ مترجم: مهدی سحابی؛ تهران، نشر تندر، سال1363؛ در687ص؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان هندی تبار بریتانیا - ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده20م

بچه‌ های نیمه‌ شب رمانی نوشته ی «سلمان رشدی»، در سال1980میلادی است؛ «سلمان رشدی» در این رمان به دوران گذار از استعمار «انگلیس» به استقلال «هند» می‌پردازند؛ این رمان را می‌توان نمونه‌ ای از ادبیات پسااستعماری، و رئالیسم جادویی دانست؛ رویدادهای این رمان در بستر رخدادهای تاریخی رخ می‌دهند، و از اینرو می‌توان آن را رمانی تاریخی هم قلمداد کرد؛ «بچه‌ های نیمه‌ شب» جایزه ی «بوکر سال1981میلادی» و جایزه ی «جیمز تیت بلک مموریال» را، در همانسال از آن خود کرد؛ در جشن سالگرد بیست و پنجمین، و چهلمین سال برگزاری جایزه «بوکر»، در سال1993میلادی، و در سال2008میلادی، «بچه‌ های نیمه‌ شب» جایزه ی «بوکر بوکرها» و جایزه ی بهترین برگزیدگان «بوکر» در همه ی زمان‌ها را برنده شد؛ همچنین این رمان تنها رمان «هندی» است، که در لیست یکصد رمان برتر انگلیسی زبان «مجله تایم» از زمان انتشار در سال1923میلادی آن تاکنون، قرار گرفته است؛ جناب «مهدی سحابی» «بچه‌ های نیمه‌ شب» را به فارسی برگردانده، و در سال1364هجری خورشیدی برنده ی جایزه ی بهترین رمان خارجی کتاب سال «جمهوری اسلامی ایران» شده است

تاریخ نخستین خوانش 12/04/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 13/02/1401هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Kimber Silver.
Author 1 book265 followers
July 14, 2023
"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."
― Salman Rushdie, Midnight's Children

I pull up a chair and ready myself. I had, after all, been promised a fantastical story of the children of midnight. The air crackles with electricity as the story unfolds where it all began, in the dreamlike land of Kashmir where a fledgling doctor falls in love seven inches at a time.

Saleem Sinai, the narrator, weaves a wondrous tale, and I ‘listen’ with rapt attention as I’m drawn into the winding history of the Aziz family: an account of supreme importance because without it the destiny of Saleem could never be fully realized. Saleem’s grandfather, Aadam Aziz, is a starry-eyed youth aching to make a name for himself as a physician. The fates have plans beyond imagining for this newly-qualified medic. Mix together a landowner's ill daughter, a poorly-lit bedroom, and a giant sheet held as a modesty curtain between doctor and patient. On this sheet is a hole, seven inches in diameter, cut into its center through which he must examine the young lady. Sprinkle liberally with a magical realism so delicious that I was left light-headed. Stir well and let the concoction simmer over the low heat of mystery and the table is laid for generations to come.

Midnight's Children is a tale of love, betrayal and lust on every conceivable level. Humor, interspersed with tragedy, fashions the perfect bite. Within these pages, we find a poetic, long-haired husband hidden in a crawlspace, a movie starlet with a suicidal spouse, and a man with a hair part so crisp that women can’t control their desire for him. (I mean, who doesn’t go wild over a great hair part, right?)

Then there are the children born in the midnight hour ― those mystic beings filled with the disease of optimism; the dreamers of dreams, made of knees and noses, noses and knees. It feels as if Rushdie writes down the story just as he thinks of it, leaving it there in all its naked glory. Like a recording of a conversation with a friend that includes any unforeseen interruptions. As Rushdie’s skittish mind conjures the narrative, he imagines other visitors stopping by the house and so they too become part of the yarn. I absolutely loved the narrator’s companion, Padma, prodding him to quit veering off course and get back to the task at hand because we both want to know what is going to happen. (I cheered her for keeping him on track several times!)

The conversational writing style is an enchanting part of what makes this author a cut above, in addition to his rich lyrical prose. The man is an artist with words, painting pictures so vivid that they became burned into my memory for all time.

"I was, however, powerless to protest; we were swept into her Datsun of vengeance…"
"…nevertheless, while we lived in her Guru Mandir mansion, she fed us the birianis of dissension and the nargisi koftas of discord;"

I cracked the cover expecting greatness and, by the time I turned the final page, felt a part of the Aziz family.

If you’ve not read Rushdie, please start with this chaotically brilliant book.

Midnight’s Children captured my imagination and left me breathless. A big thank you to Kevin Ansbro for his recommendation!
May 20, 2017

Ένα φαντασμαγορικός οργασμός με ατελείωτη
αφηγηματική δύναμη και αξιοθαύμαστη πνευματική ενέργεια.
Ένα αληθινό παραμύθι της Ανατολής που ανοίγεται στα παράθυρα της ψυχής και του μυαλού και μιλάει με ένα άγριο,προκλητικό,αφοπλιστικό και μοναδικά φορτισμένο αφηγηματικό πλούτο που σε διεγείρει και σε ταυτίζει υπαρξιακά και φυσιογνωμικά.

Ο Σαλίμ γεννιέται στην Ινδία των εκατοντάδων θεών και παραδόσεων τη νύχτα που η χώρα ανεξαρτητοποιείται απο την αγγλική κυριαρχία. Ακριβώς τα μεσάνυχτα της σημαδιακής αυτής ημερομηνίας μέσα στο πανδαιμόνιο της απελευθέρωσης,γεννιούνται πολλά παιδιά τα οποία
μαζί με το Σαλίμ διαθέτουν κάποιες μαγικές ικανότητες.
Είναι ξεχωριστά παιδιά. Είναι τα παιδιά του μεσονυκτίου.

Το βιβλίο είναι γεμάτο λεπτομέρειες, γεγονότα,και καταστάσεις που παίζουν σπουδαίο ρόλο στην πλοκή και την εξέλιξη. Έχει μεγάλο όγκο και δεν είναι εύκολο ανάγνωσμα,είναι όμως αληθινό και μαγικό και τόσο καλογραμμένο που αποκλείεται να μην σε βυθίσει στους ψιθύ��ους και τα αρώματα της πολύπαθης Ινδίας.

Αρχικά μαθαίνουμε την ιστορία της οικογένειας του Σαλίμ. Ξεκινώντας απο τον αξιοθαύμαστο γιατρό παππού με το κενό στο κέντρο της ψυχής του, μέχρι το γάμο των γονιών του Σαλίμ ή μυξιάρη ή ρουφήχτρα ή καράφλα ή βούδα, ακόμη και φεγγαράκι. Κάθε παρατσούκλι ένα κομμάτι ζωής.

Έπειτα στη Βομβάη και μετά στο Πακιστάν παρακολουθούμε την γέννηση και την παιδική ηλικία του χαρισματικού ήρωα μας. Ο Σαλίμ μέσα απο μια παράξενη παιδική ωριμότητα γίνεται μάρτυρας πολέμου μεταξύ Ινδίας και Πακιστάν και τραγικός επι��ών που βιώνει το χαμό ολόκληρης σχεδόν της οικογένειας του. Παράλληλα έχει να παλέψει με τα δικά του κρυφά τέρατα και την ανεκπλήρωτη ερωτική του εμμονή που τον σημαδεύει για πάντα.

Στο τέλος ως ενήλικας με πολλά και βαριά σακιά τραγικών εμπειριών στην πλάτη,επιστρέφει στο Δελχί, αυτή τη φορά μαζί με ένα μωρό,έναν αποτυχημένο αλησμόνητο γάμο,μια φυλάκιση,πλήθος εικονικών προσώπων που χάραξαν ανεξίτηλα τη ζωή του,τον απαγορευμένο εμμονικό του έρωτα,μια απελευθέρωση,μια στείρωση ουσιαστική και μεταφορική και εκατοντάδες χιλιάδες σωματικές,ψυχικές και πνευματικές ρωγμές.

Ρωγμές λόγω αποστράγγισης των δικών του αλλοιωμένων αναμνήσεων, των χαμένων ελπίδων,των ονείρων,των ιδεών του.

Ρωγμές για τη μαζική παραγωγή αισθήσεων και πολιτικών-κοινωνικών και ιστορικών δυνάμεων που έφεραν την μαζική αμνησία στο δικό του έθνος και στο μυαλό του.

Τέλος ταξιδιού.

Τώρα ερχόμαστε στο παρόν της αφήγησης του Σαλίμ. Ο άντρας με τις ρωγμές που ζει ανάμεσα σε βαζάκια τουρσί βιδώνοντας καπάκια,προσπαθώντας να κλείσει μέσα το χρόνο,την ιστορία του και τις μάγισσες των αναμνήσεων του.

"Πρέπει να ζήσουμε,δυστυχώς,με τις σκιές της ατέλειας"

Γευτείτε αυτόν τον συγγραφέα.

Πολλούς ασπασμούς!
Profile Image for Michael.
Author 2 books1,356 followers
August 21, 2017
Fantastic, intelligent, hilarious, profound, and historically illuminating. And the narrator is deliciously unreliable too! Need I say more? I will. His sentences are the kind of energetic super-charged masterpieces that I could quote endlessly. Here's one plucked utterly at random:

"Into this bog of muteness there came, one evening, a short man whose head was as flat as the cap upon it; whose legs were as bowed as reeds in the wind; whose nose nearly touched his up-curving chin; and whose voice, as a result, was thin and sharp--it had to be, to squeeze through the narrow gap between his breathing apparatus and his jaw...a man whose short sight obliged him to take life one step at a time, which gained him a reputation for thoroughness and dullness, and endeared him to his superiors by enabling them to feel well-served without feeling threatened; a man whose starched, pressed uniform reeked of Blanco and rectitude, and about whom, despite his appearance of a character out of a puppet-show, there hung the unmistakable scent of success: Major Zulfikar, a man with a future, came to call, as he had promised, to tie up a few loose ends."
Profile Image for Whitaker.
294 reviews509 followers
April 18, 2012
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 your bearings. That’s what reading Midnight’s Children is like.

In many ways, it’s apt that it’s like that. This is a country of 330 million deities and about as many languages and dialects. It’s large, messy, contradictory, and bursting with people. As with the country, so with the book. Like the nation whose birth it writes about, Midnight’s Children strains at the seams to hold its contents in one whole. Its language is as spicy and pungent as one of south India’s curries. Its plot packs a punch as potent at its toddies. And being set in a country where film stars are venerated as incarnations of Shiva and Brahma and Vishnu, reality often takes a rain check.

Rushdie’s plot ends somewhere in the 70’s. A key theme in the novel is fragmentation: of our hero, and of the country. At time of writing, India’s Congress Party led by a scion of the Ghandi dynasty has won the national elections. Technological wiz-kids work in Bangalore while their cousins labour in rice fields. Modern Indian women dance in jeans in clubs while nationalist conservative Hindus plot to bash them for immodesty. The country is being forcibly pushed into a capitalist 21st century and the tensions show. And yet for all that it doesn't all fly apart.

One wonders what a sequel to the novel would be like. Would we see a son of our hero fly off to study in the United States and return to start a technology company and engage in a tumultuous love-hate relationship with an American woman while keeping a Chinese lover on the side? And what would happen to the 1,001 children of midnight? India faces as many possibilities at this juncture of her history as at the time of her bastard incarnation (don’t flame me, it’s in the book). How can we even begin to grasp what she is about? One visit will not be enough. And as with the country, so with the book.
Profile Image for Andie Schweiger Bregman.
1 review3 followers
December 4, 2013
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 avid reader, I felt a certain expectation of myself to admire Rushdie and his work. After all, he is a very celebrated author, and his books appear on many “must read” lists compiled by authors I respect. After the first 250 pages of Midnight’s Children I felt self-conscious that I that I didn’t like the book, in fact, I was beginning to despise it.

I consider Midnight’s Children a triple dog dare from Rushdie to read his book to the very end. As with most dares, it was daunting to face, and to test my resolve, he made every attempt to make me put down the book for good. The fact that I see all dares through, from eating worms to kissing a friend’s younger brother, and that Midnight’s Children was a class assigned book, were the only motivations that I had not to. Within the more than six-hundred pages of text, there are about one hundred pages of straight forward biography written by the protagonist Saleem Sinai, and Rushdie makes you work very hard to find them hidden among the overwhelming quantity of details, a task I found tedious, frustrating and at times mind numbingly boring.

I simultaneously pitied and despised Saleem. Like the other 1,000 children born at the stroke of midnight of India’s independence, Saleem has special powers, the telepathic ability to communicate with all of these children. Despite his gift, he is not particularly respected among the children for very long. His average life is also not spectacular. He is not handsome or physically co-coordinated. He is bullied by children and adults, often betrayed and physically mutilated, and so emotionally sensitive he seeks comfort by surrounding himself with dirty laundry. However, this same Saleem that my heart went out to was the one writing the story that was torturing me page after page after page.

Rushdie does provide the reader with a representative in the plot, Padma. She is the novel’s saving grace, the one person who is able to stop Saleem’s self important dialogue. She is frustrated with the slow moving pace of the narrative and gives voice to the like minded reader when she urges Saleem to write more concisely and get to the point faster. At first I found Padma’s sudden entries into the plot distracting, but after awhile I found myself peeking ahead in order to see when she would appear again to gauge exactly how much longer I had to continue reading before respite.

I confess I am very ignorant of the events surrounding the formation of Pakistan, the independence of India, and the decades of war and political maneuvering between them. I didn’t even make it through the entire movie “Gandhi”. At first I welcomed the history lesson Rushdie provides of those times. However, by the middle of Book II, I found the sheer volume of details confusing and obtuse, and was skimming over these parts. By the end of Book II, I was skipping them altogether. In the chapter “How Saleem Achieved Purity”, I felt vindicated of my behavior. Saleem’s description of the events that led to the demise of his family in the Indo-Pakistani war of 1965 starts with, “Which facts to present?” and continues with pages of questions and conjecture, “Did it happen this way or didn’t it?” The seemingly endless expansion on his proposed questions finally raised my own: “I don’t know exactly how it happened, I don’t care, and can you please get to the point?!”

Rushdie misses, or maybe ignores the perfect opportunity to end his story. With the final dispersal of Midnight’s Children after their captivity by the government, most of the loose ends are tied up, or the reader has learned enough essential plot elements to forgive Rushdie if he ended Saleem’s story this way. To me, I felt the last forty pages were Rushdie’s last challenge to me to complete his dare: would I or could I read through these superfluous pages of obvious revelations or would I finally quit. The sense of power and freedom I felt after reading the very last sentence was made sweeter by my accomplishment.

To be fair to Rushdie, objectively, his writing skills are incredible. His ability to tie Saleem’s life to history and his ability to overlap events, religions, and mysticism is something for some to aspire to. His overwhelming details created vivid images: beautiful Kashmirian landscapes, putrid slums and titillating, (almost) love scenes. His skills in these areas might be enough for some people to excuse the tedium of Midnight’s Children, but for me it didn’t. By the end of the novel, I didn’t even feel bad that I didn’t like Rushdie’s writing, or this novel.

Profile Image for Garima.
113 reviews1,788 followers
August 6, 2014
Nothing but trouble outside my head; nothing but miracles inside it.

Being a child is no child’s play. A long wait within the sheltered darkness of a womb subsides when rhythmic beats of the heart resume their role in blinding light and mind, an apparent clean slate hold the fading marks of previous lives. While the time patiently takes its course to reveal the silhouette of million existent enigmas, the colorblind vision gradually sheds its skin and an exhilarating display of a new world comes forth and almost everything is assimilated by the pair of bright curious eyes as the most natural happenings around them. Even the magic. Especially the magic. Midnight’s Children is a book where miracles signify a sort of divine comedy, troubles make for an allegorical tragedy and the inevitable meeting between the two crafts an engrossing narrative. Saleem and Salman, Salman and Saleem have staged a wistful and entertaining ventriloquist performance for their audience and the applause is a well-deserved one.

Reading Rushdie’s magnum opus is no short of understanding the blueprint of a labyrinthine palace of fantasy. Behind the majestic walls lies a dark cellar of family secrets. The illumination from resplendent chandeliers doesn’t reach the impenetrable past of dungeons. What appears is far from reality and what is being told is a mere shroud for covering the bitter truth yet nothing remains hidden if one tries to follow the right track. Saleem Sinai’s life is one such palace with a single catch- he’s our guide and providing an easy-to-access path is not his specialty. He deals in similes and vernaculars, nostalgia and dreams, circles and triangles, fiction and illusions. May be the burden of a weighty memory is to be blamed which was required to accommodate several stories of peculiar characters but whatever appears along this convoluted road is worth travelling for.

The children of midnight were also the children of the time: fathered, you understand, by history. It can happen. Especially in a country which is itself a sort of dream.

Tracking down the temporal shifts that starts in Kashmir and ends in Bombay, tick tock in Pakistan and stop short in Delhi, the children of midnight takes the form of everything that India was and everything that India became. They are the irony of partition, the hope derived from independence, and their tryst with destiny is still going on. One can find their names etched in the pillars of Red Fort, their despair echo in the screaming cries of war victims and they stand for those relations which are bound to each other through everything except blood. They depict the ways in which every country is different and every country is similar. Midnight’s Children is one limitless metaphor that knows no border and speaks a universal language.

What more could a reader ask from a book? To be honest, I did ask for a little more. This was the year when I read Mann’s Doctor Faustus and Marquez’s Choleric Love. I already devoured Mistry’s imperfect India perfectly captured with A Fine Balance and Rushdie’s ingenious use of language and imagination was more than visible in his controversial Verses. Because of so many great books in so little time, this book surprised me in fewer ways than expected, not to mention it was a folktale-cum-gothic version of a history I’m already familiar with but then I said to myself- So what? I’ll concede to the fact that probably Midnight’s Children won’t retain a timeless appeal for me in the distant future but for the time being, I think it was indeed amazing.
Profile Image for Steve.
251 reviews900 followers
March 9, 2013
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 Saleem to get inside people’s heads, and later to literally sniff out their emotions was clever as well. These abilities may have been the stuff of fantasy, but your insights into characters (and the abstractions about India they were meant to represent) were completely plausible. In the context of the story, we’re willing to suspend disbelief and buy into the omniscience of the first person account. In your skilled hands, it never seemed forced or hokey. Coming from me, that’s saying something. I don’t usually go for writers plying magic.

But in the end, I have to say, your work left me a little disappointed. It might have had something to do with its extensive acclaim; you know, Booker to beat all Bookers and all that. Such weight of expectations was always going to be hard to overcome. The bigger part of the problem, though, was trying to go it alone. Had I taken the guided tour instead, I’m guessing I’d have gotten more out of it. I noticed there’s a reader’s guide that does exactly that, so maybe someday I’ll take the time to plug the gaps in my appreciation.

Please note that I’m giving your book a very respectable 4 stars. I liked the language. Someone described it as “Babu” English which I took to mean stylized for effect. I also liked the epic story of Indian archetypes, and the pertinent, sometimes elliptical lessons in history. Still, we both were hoping I could give it a 5, I’m sure.
Profile Image for Lizzy.
305 reviews166 followers
October 4, 2017
The children of midnight were also the children of the time: fathered, you understand, by history. It can happen. Especially in a country which is itself a sort of dream.
Midnight's Children was an unexpected pleasure for me. Maybe that is the reason it took me so long to write down my thoughts on it. Yes, I read some reviews before starting it, but could never have imagined Salman Rushdie’s symphony that is no short of a magnificent blueprint of a labyrinthine palace of fantasy. Let me just say simply that my mind was smitten and my heart crumbled at its every page. What did I read through the days that I was taken by it? Was it magic or history? A family saga? Was it a coming of age story not only of Saleem but of India as a nation with all its subtleties? Rushdie’s sublime prose is all that and much more. It is rich in its allegories, in its unimaginable creativity.

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. I am everyone / everything whose being-in-the world affected / was affected by mine. I am anything that happens after I've gone, which would not have happened if I had not come. Nor am I particularly exceptional in this matter; each "I", every one of the now-six-hundred-million-plus of us, contains a similar multitude. I repeat for the last time: to understand me, you'll have to swallow a world.

I am not Indian and have to confess ignorant about its history. Nevertheless, exactly the little I knew about it before opening Midnight Children's first page could have allowed me to dream along with Salman and Saleem as I learned some of what happened. I am not completely sure what more to say, but through all its pages I amazed by its beauty and some of the ugliness and suffering it contains. Yes, independence never comes easy to any country and the case of India seems to be one more example of the price that has to be paid. Besides all the pitfalls of politics that have been revealed through history.

When the Constitution was altered to give the Prime Minister well-nigh--absolute powers, I smelled the ghosts of ancient empires in the air ... in that city which was littered with the phantoms of Slave Kings and Mughals, or Aurangzeb the merciless and the last, pink conquerors, I inhaled once again the sharp aroma of despotism. It smelled like burning oily rags.

Such things happen. Statistics may set my arrest in context; although there is considerable disagreement about the number of "political" prisoners taken during the Emergency, either thirty thousand or a quarter of a million persons certainly lost their freedom. The Widow said: "It is only a small percentage of the population of India."

From the creative perspective of the world of children born at midnight of India’s independence, through Rushdie’s magic and digressions enters a world where destiny rules over reason, where truth is twisted, and history transforms itself, contorting into a reality that is burdened with pain, love, and miracles. His stories and narratives bent and entwine around each other:

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.

Our memory is our past, can it be that what we do not remember didn't happen? That what happened, can be understood? Perhaps this are merely nonsensical rambling but it is all I can come up with. So different from Salman’s and Saleem’s reality, I was not born in at a time of magic and I am free of special gifts bestowed upon me upon my birth. Given all that, can I understand Salman’s magic? Maybe not, but I can imagine or dream about it, an all encompassing aura that hints and glimpses and leads me on endlessly. And I have to say once more that I was fascinated by it all.

Nothing but trouble outside my head; nothing but miracles inside it.

Other quotes:

~@~ ...to understand me, you'll have to swallow a world.

~@~ History is always ambiguous. Facts are harsh to establish, and capable of being given many meanings. Reality is built on prejudices, misconceptions and ignorance as well as on our perceptiveness and knowledge.

~@~ 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.

~@~ ... and still so much remains to be told ... Uncle Mustapha is growing inside me, and the pout of Parvati-the-witch; a certain lock of a hero's hair is waiting in the wings; and also a labor of thirteen days, and history as an analogue of a prime minister's hair-style; there is to be treason, and fare-dodging, and the scent (wafting on breezes heavy with the ululations of widows) of something frying in an iron skillet) ... .

~@~ One day, perhaps, the world may taste the pickles of history. They may be too strong for some palates, their smell may be overpowering, tears may rise to eyes; I hope nevertheless that it will be possible to say of them that they possess the authentic taste of truth ... that they are, despite everything, acts of love.

~@~ When the Bombay edition of the Times of India, searching for a catchy human-interest angle to the forthcoming Independence celebrations, announced that it would award a prize to any Bombay mother who could arrange to give birth to a child at the precise instant of the birth of the new nation, Amina Sinai, who had just awoken from a mysterious dream of flypaper, became glued to the newsprint.

~@~ ...; and this year--fourteen hours to go, thirteen, twelve--there was an extra festival on the calendar, a new myth to celebrate, because a nation which had never previously existed was about to win its freedom, catapulting us into a world which, although it had five thousand years of history, although it had invented the game of chess and traded with Middle Kingdom Egypt, was nevertheless quiet imaginary; ...

~@~ So: there were knees and a nose, a nose and knees. In fact, all over the new India, the dream we all shared, children were being born who were only partially the offspring of their parents--the children of midnight were also the children of the time: fathered, you understand, by history. It can happen. Especially in a country which is itself a sort of dream.

~@~ In those days, my aunt Alia had begun to send us an unending stream of children's clothes, into whose seams she had sewn her old maid's bile; the Brass Monkey and I were clothed in her gifts, wearing at first the baby-things of bitterness, then the rompers of resentment; I grew up in white shorts starched with the starch of jealousy, while the Monkey wore the pretty flowered frocks of Alia's undimmed envy ...

~@~ So among the midnight children were infants with powers of transmutation, flight, prophecy and wizardry ... but two of us were born on the stroke of midnight, Saleem and Shiva, Shiva and Saleem, nose and knees and knees and nose ... to Shiva the hour had given the gifts of war (...) ... and to me, the greatest talent of all-the ability to look the hearts and minds of men.

~@~ So, from the earliest days of my Pakistani adolescence, I began to learn the secret aromas of the world, the heady but quick-fading perfume of new love, and also the deeper, longer-lasting pungency of hate.

~@~ ...; in a country where the truth is what it is instructed to be, reality quite ceases to exist ...; and maybe this was the difference between my Indian childhood and Pakistani adolescence-that in the first I was beset by an infinity of alternative realities, while in the second I was adrift, disoriented, amid an equally infinite number of falsenesses, unrealities and lies.

~@~ In the basket of invisibility, a sense of unfairness turned into anger; and something else besides--transformed by rage, I had also been overwhelmed by an agonizing feeling of sympathy for the country which was not only my twin-in-birth but also joined to me (so to speak) at the hip, so that what to either of us, happened to us both.

~@~ ... something was ending, something was being born, and at the precise instant of the birth of the new India and the beginning of a continuous midnight which would not end for two long years. My son, the child of the renewed ticktock, came out into the world.

~@~ Test and hysterectomized, the children of midnight were denied the possibility of reproducing themselves ... but that was only a side-effect, because they were truly extraordinary doctors, and they drained us of more than that: hope, too, was excised, and I don't know how it was done ...

~@~ Today I gave myself the day off and visited Mary. A long hot dusty bus-ride through streets beginning to bubble with the excitement of the coming Independence Day, although I can smell other, more tarnished perfumes: disillusion, venality, cynicism ... the nearly-thirty-one-year-old myth of freedom is no longer what it was. New myths are needed; but that's none of my business.

~@~ Sometimes, in the life's version of history, Saleem appears to have known too little; at others times, too much ... yes, I should revise and revise, improve and improve, but there is neither the time nor the energy. I am obliged to offer no more than this stubborn sentence: It happened that way because that's how it happened.
Profile Image for ميقات الراجحي.
Author 6 books2,027 followers
December 30, 2017
من أجمل ما قرأت من الأعمال المترجمة، رواية سلمان رشدي. لاشك عمله (آيات شيطانية) أصابه بلعنة حالت دون أن يلتفت له القارئ المسلم حتى نكون أكثر دقة، ثم العربي. لكن هذا العمل لابد أن يقرأ لهذا الرجل. عمل تكاملت جوانبه الإبداعية من موضوع وحبكة درامية وتفسير للحدث – حتى لو كان شخصي – وحبكة تنم عن إجتهاد لإرضاد النص فلماذا لا يقرأ؟!. بل هو يستحق القراءة والنقد والترجمة لكل اللغات هذه هي رواية أطفال منتصف الليل.

في البدء وحتى تضع هذه الرواية ضمن أول قائمتك القرائية. هذه الرواية المسكونة حبكة وجنون وسرد خرافي. قد حازت التالي :
1- البوكر العالمية 1981م.
2- جائزة ذكرى جيمس تيت بلاك في العام 1981م.
3- بركر البوكر 1993م.
4- أفضل حائز على جائزة بوكر 2008م.

سيرة شبه القارة الهندية منذ الإحتلال البريطاني حتى الإستقلال ينقلها لنا بضمير المخاطب الهندي، "سليم سينائي" المولود (1947م) كإلتافتة من المؤلف لميلاد الهند الجديد (يوم الإستقلال 15 أغسطس) بعد أن عفست به بريطانيا عقود طويلة وهي تنهب وتسرق خيراتها وتسعبد أبنائها – في الوقت الذي لم يتحرر بعض أبنائه من العنصر البريطاني في الثقافة الهندية – وهي مسيرة طويلة من الأحداث في (667) صفحة. يمزج رشيدي في ثلاثة كتب روائية ذات وحدة موضوعية واحدة بفصول عدة وفق كل كتاب هذه الرواية الجميلة والساحرة والتي أعتبرها من جميل الروايات لكاتب هندي – أصبح محسوب على بريطانيا – ومن أجمل الأعمال الإنجليزية بما أنها خرجت من هذه البيئة رغم موضوعها المناهض للإحتلال البريطاني. خرجت لتنقل لنا مصورة ثلاث ممحطات هندية الإحتلال وبداية خروج المحتل والهند بعد الإستقلال. بواسطة الرواي البطل بآلية الإعترافات المباشرة وتقنية الفلاش باك للأحداث التاريخية التي تستعيدها الرواية.

تقرأ وستعرف كل أحداث الهند إستنادًا على مخزون لدينا لثقافة لابأس بها من السينما الهندية وهذا سوف تشاهده في أحداث الرواية من العادات والتقاليد وإختلاف الأديان والطبقات في المجتمع الهندي والموسيقى وسدهارت وبوذا وكل ما تعرفه عن الهند والإحتلال البريطاني والملكية والدم والسيف والبندقية. حيث يتماهى التاريخ الحقيقي لحقبة الرواية مع التاريخ المتخيل الذي يخدم عنصر التشويق والإيثارة. الرواية ساحرة واسلوبها الأدبي غاية في الجمال وحبكتها قوية متينة قادرة على الثبات لعقود طويلة مخلدة نفسها في قائمة الروايات العالمية.

يمثل الكتاب الأول :
بشخصياته الثانوية كل شعب الهند منذ الإحتلال البريطاني والعبوذية وبعض المحاولات البسيطة في قول (لا) في وجه بريطانيا ويبدو صعوبة تناول مثل هذه المقاومات في ثلث الكتاب حيث الرواية تغطي ثلاثة مراحل وفي هذا الجزء يتجلى الطقس الهندي ذات الأصل البراهمي والسحر والمثيولوجيا المتغلغلة في الهند وتضح معالم الطبقات في المجتمع، وهذه الأحداث في كتابها الأول تتلاقى بطريقة (الفلاش باك) مع عائلة "سليم" قبل ولادته حتى خروجه للحياة وهو يرويها لخادمته.

يمثل الكتاب الثاني :
عنصر حيوي وشيق ومشوق وهو بدايات الصراع الحقيقي ومحاولات حقيقية لنيل الإستعمار وهي فترة كانت بريطانيا بدت تاريخيًا تضعف فيها وتفقد عنصر الشمس المتوهج وقد أنتفخ كرشها وتوجب عليها التقليل من هذه الشحوم مقابلة بالنهضة الحديثة في العالم ومحاولات بريطانيا تحسين صورتها – أنىّ لها ذلك – ويظهر عنصر الشعب بين الرافض للإحتلال وبين قلة من العناصر التي دومًا ما تجد نفسها في المحتل وترتمي تحت قدمه.

يمثل الكتاب الثالث : هو المرحلة الأخيرة وهي الإستقلال (1947م) وظهور إقليم الأكثرية المسلمة (باكستان) أخر هدايا بريطانيا للأمة الهندية وقد أشعلت فتيل العداوة بينهما بتقسيم وترسيم الحدود وتاركة (كشيمر) كمنتطقة صراع وكيف تبدع الرواية في حبكة رائعة تسجيل أثر هذه الإنقسام. وكيف أثرها على البطل (سليم) حيث تمثل ولادته ولادة خديجة مقارنةً بولادة الهند الجديدة مقسمة بالمسطرة ليتصدر هذا التقسيم أحداث دموية في قادم العمر.

أخيرًا.. وهو مما يلتف نظري عطفًا على عمله الذي سوف يليه في التأليف وهو آيات شيطانية" هذا العمل كان بها حس خفي إسلامي أستوقفني. أقول توقفت عنده عطفًا على الرواية التالية التي سوف يتجاوز فيها رشدي، المقدس ويخترق التابو. لكن أترك لكم قراءة كلا النصين.

هنا مراجعتي لرواية آيات شيطانية :

قراءات 2009م
Profile Image for Murray.
Author 151 books546 followers
May 12, 2023

I do respect Mr. Rushdie, indeed I wish him well, but his style in this book is what I'd call discursive-magical realism-satire and it doesn't work for me. I was pleading for him to get on with the story, any story. But we'd go down a rabbit hole, then another rabbit hole, then another rabbit hole. I was bored out of my mind by his stylistic approach in this novel. The narrative rarely progressed in any sort of linear fashion. The story, such story as emerged, was told via satire and discursions and circling circling circling on yet another side theme. Perhaps that works for you …… but Booker of Bookers? Seriously?

I learned more about India by living in Delhi and taking trains back and forth across the country. I learn more each day I converse with the Indians who have immigrated to my town. (I'm also learning about cricket.)

I've read magical realism with Allende and Márquez and others, I’ve read the experimental fiction of James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Katherine Mansfield, etc, I’ve immersed myself in the black humor and satire of Catch 22, but this was not an enjoyable experience with Mr. Rushdie.

If you like his style here then I can recommend the narrator of this audiobook. Lyndam Gregory is excellent. Five stars for his reading.

[postscript] I first came to India overland, not as a tourist, but as a traveler, and I lived in Delhi for a time before going on to Everest Base Camp. But then I returned to Delhi and stayed there a little longer. In the late fall, the monsoons were done, and I slept on the rooftop of the hostel under a sparkling sky. The people of India were very kind to me. And still are in Canada.]
Profile Image for Kenny.
507 reviews937 followers
May 16, 2022
Saleem Sinai is born at the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947, the very moment of India’s independence. Greeted by fireworks displays, cheering crowds, and Prime Minister Nehru himself, Saleem grows up to learn the ominous consequences of this coincidence. His every act is mirrored and magnified in events that sway the course of national affairs; his health and well-being are inextricably bound to those of his nation; his life is inseparable, at times indistinguishable, from the history of his country. Perhaps most remarkable are the telepathic powers linking him with India’s 1,000 other "midnight’s children," all born in that initial hour and endowed with magical gifts.
Midnight's Children ~~ Salman Rushdie

Big Book Reads 2022
Chosen by Dani

WOW! What a ride this was. Truly an amazing read. With that being said, it is nearly impossible for me to review Midnight's Children. I don't know how to do justice to such a brilliant piece of literature.

Here goes ...

Midnight's Children deserves all the praise it has received. It is powerful, spellbinding, and over forty years after it was first published, it's still wonderfully original. This is Salman Rushdie at his best. Midnight's Children is at once an intricate and magical fairy tale, family memoir, history lesson and brutal political indictment. Every ingredient is perfectly blended to create a beautiful whole. It is that rarity ~~ a perfect novel.

I knew before reading page one of this novel I would fall in love with it. My friend, Srđan, hyped it as the greatest thing since the Big Mac. I'd previously read other works by Rushdie and loved them. So, I was already prejudiced toward this book. I make no apology for this.

Rushdie is best known for magical realism, but it's the history of India that struck me the most ~~ I had no idea how evil Indira Gandhi was.

Rushdie did not treat the former Prime Minister kindly in Midnight's Children ~~ and she was not happy about it. She sued him ~~ picking out a single sentence that her lawyers thought would be actionable in a British court. Rushdie and his publisher agreed to remove the sentence. Many years later, Rushdie, of course, shared the sentence that was removed.

Midnight's Children is the great Indian novel. Fact and fiction are woven together so seamlessly, that together they create a perfect understanding and enjoyment of each.


Rushdie points out in the introduction that while Midnight's Children is often viewed as fantasy in the West, in India it was received as a historical fiction. And in truth, it is of course both. There are elements of Midnight's Children that are most certainly fantastic ~~ each of the 1001 children born on the stroke of midnight within the borders of the newly independent India are born with a supernatural power. But these magical gifts and the strange way in which every historical event in post-colonial India echoes an event in the narrator's life are treated as unremarkable things ~~ except by the narrator himself ~~ Saleem Sinai ~~ and the tone of the book, and the structure of its plot, is very much a literary historical novel, and not a fantasy.

Rushdie brilliantly personifies the country of India in a single citizen, and tells its history allegorically through the autobiographical account of Saleem Sinai. Rushdie shares with the reader, India is Saleem and Saleem is India.


Saleem has taken narcissism to its extreme ~~ he is so self-absorbed that he believes events in his life precipitated events in India's history. As he recounts his life story, he pronounces judgement upon his past self ~~ whom he often refers to in the third person. This is Rushdie's way of generalizing the Indian collective consciousness at various key points during its history ~~ Saleem's judgements weren't a statement about Saleem, but a statement about how Indians felt about India ~~ how they saw themselves and their society, at that period in their history.

As a writer, Rushdie's prose and style are second to none. The English language is a tool he uses expertly to create atmosphere and tone. Midnight's Children is packed full of one-sentence paragraphs consisting of semi-colon connected clauses. Like James Joyce before him, punctuation is optional to Rushdie; what's most import is a stream of consciousness pouring forth, unbroken.

I know many readers will reject Midnight's Children and Rushdie on the grounds that it and he are too difficult to read. Their viewpoint is valid, but it represents the reader's unwillingness to surrender themselves to the experience. Such people prefer lighter fare, books that are easier to digest or utterly linear in narrative ~~ there's nothing wrong with that, but it is their loss.


In many ways, Midnight's Children reminded me of Shakespeare's later plays ~~ the magical plays. The characters are both complicated three-dimensional beings while at the same time allegorical, stock characters. Amina Sinai, who changed her name from Mumtaz Aziz in order to have children, is the mother of Saleem, and thus the mother of India ~~ except we quickly learn that Saleem is a changeling, ~~ so what implications does this have for India? This uncertainty mirrors the deep-seated identity crisis that India must have undergone shortly after becoming its own country ~~ is it the byproduct of colonial Britain, or the creation of its own common people? Wisely, Rushdie never answers this question.


Midnight’s Children is a wildly ambitious novel, huge in scope, a tome on identity, memory, nationalism, and family. In almost all instances it succeeds, and rightly deserves all the success it has received.

Midnight's Children is simply a book that you will love. It's a reminder of just how great literature can be. Highly recommended.

Profile Image for Edward.
419 reviews406 followers
August 31, 2018
Midnight’s Children did not quite live up to my expectations, which were set very high by the book’s reputation. It’s a complex, messy novel; colourful, filled with a blend of fantasy and possibility, and a mood that is at once hopeful and resigned. It presents history as memory and story rather than settled fact, and beautifully weaves the human with the epic and the mythic.

I did appreciate the central metaphor and structure: the expression of the birth and growth of a nation through that of its children; the promise of greatness, and the eventual decline of its potential through human failings – these work on the personal and national scale (and in a third mystical, metaphysical dimension at which the novel hints), and what the novel does well - though perhaps a little too heavy-handedly at times - is draw together these parallel lines and overlapping themes. But I often got a sense of the author losing himself within the novel’s framework, desperately seeking something tangible to point to among the random happenings and loose connections - the final section itself seems entirely a uncertain search for a meaningful resolution. The result is a novel that is too much concerned with the frenzied antics of its array of fantastical characters, each with his own peculiar quirk – a strange physical feature (nose, ears, knees, breasts), a recurring phrase ("whatsitsname") – though some of these characters and events are memorable, many seem shallow and superfluous, and I found the repetition of this formula less and less compelling as the novel wore on.

Rushdie is an accomplished writer: he writes elegantly and with great energy. However I was not drawn to the voice of Saleem Sinai, or generally captivated by his characters. I found the whimsical tone a little overbearing at times. Too often there were little tricks and tropes that stood out to me, such as the aforementioned inexhaustible cast of quirky characters, and repeated abuse of minor cliff-hangers, which often made promises that were never suitably fulfilled. I did enjoy the many forays into Indian history, but I think that is interesting in itself, not necessarily made more so by the novel.
Profile Image for Taylor.
291 reviews220 followers
August 3, 2022
Back in 2000, lit critic James Wood wrote a huge manifesto on the problem of "the 'big' novel" for the New Republic (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 writers. He used Ground Beneath Her Feet as his case in point, but Midnight's Children makes a solid argument that a) Rushdie can create intricate, intelligent plots and characters, and any amusing characteristics are more of an aside, and b) everything Rushdie does is deliberate, even anything quirky.

Intricately connected by their time of birth, Midnight's Children follows Saleem Sinai, born at the exact time India gained its independence. It traces Saleem's life and family history - as well as India's - starting with his grandparents on down (much like Middlesex, for example, and, yes, yes, I know, also that Gunter Grass novel, the Tin Drum which was apparently the first novel to trace a character's lineage that way. Unlike Middlesex, Rushdie gets through it a lot more quickly, which I rather appreciated, so for those who couldn't get through Middlesex, don't be turned off).

Because I'm no Indian History scholar, I'm sure the subtler points of the satire were lost on me. Rushdie has no problem spelling things out, as he likely anticipated that, but beyond Saleem/India, there were only a few things I could connect from his statements and clues. It did help that some of the names in politics he used were real, in particular Ms. Indira Ghandi. At the same time, as someone who doesn't know much about it, I was interested in what I was learning. It's amazing how much dissent there was - and still is - both in terms of conflicts with/about neighboring countries (Pakistan, Kashmir), but also within, in terms of politics. I suppose it's no different than any other young independent country, but there's something very outwardly aggressive about their conflicts in comparison to ours, for example, which are a little more covert or passive aggressive. Since this is so intricately linked with India's history, it feels almost unfair to call this fiction. It'd probably be more fair to call it historical fiction, since most of the larger events are true. Although I know that label turns a lot of people off, too.

As one of Rushdie's earlier works, he experiments a lot with words and language. In the introduction, he says he was trying to exemplify "Hinglish" and "Bambiyya," the Bombay street slang, which, as far as my knowledge extends, he pulls off pretty accurately. It goes beyond that, though. He outright laughs in the face of "rules" of writing and grammar, occasionally ignoring punctuation, breaking out of linear structures, telling us what's coming before he gets there. This isn't a disregard for grammar like, say, Cormac McCarthy, or a random fucking with the timeline, like a Quentin Tarantino (I know, he's not literary, but whatever! Oh and this so isn't a Tarantino diss, because I love him). It's only at certain times, and each time he "breaks" a "rule," it serves a distinct purpose that, if not revealed immediately, is explained in due time.

This is something I love about Rushdie. He's a very deliberate writer, and of the works of his that I've read, Midnight's Children seems the most deliberate. There are few things he mentions that don't come into play at some point, and to help us sort out the most important, he doesn't have a problem telling us. Originally, I was going to say that this is a good place to start for people who are daunted by his works, Satanic Verses in particular, then I changed my mind, but now I've changed it back to what I originally thought. Because Rushdie is such a deliberate, careful, organized writer, Midnight's Children probably is a great place to start, because he gives the reader more of a field guide. In some of his later works you're kind of set free on your own, and this is kind of a hand-holder, in a way. Which isn't to say it's any less complex, dense, or interesting, or that he makes the reader feel like an idiot. To put it another way: I did a lot less going back to check who was who or what happened when in compared to how much I did with SV. I still feel like I need to read it again and take notes, but I've never felt any other way after reading a Rushdie novel, which is, again, something I like about him. His novels are the kind that unfurl. Like a good city, you can walk it for ages and discover new things every time.

In comparing it to Satanic Verses - my other fave Rushdie, if you haven't deciphered that at this point - I connected with this in a different way. While reading SV, I connected to specific characters (especially the female Mt. Everest climber, Alleluia Cone). With Midnight's Children, I didn't connect to any specific character, though I certainly did care about and was interested in many of them. Instead, I connected through emotions and mental states. For example, when the troop is lost and going crazy in the Sundarbans, I felt like I was going a little insane, myself. Everything I felt, the way I reacted, I think, was very deliberate on the part of Rushdie. There wasn't any emotion I experienced that wasn't part of what he was trying to evoke. Or so it seemed, at least.

Because of that, I'm relaxing on him a bit for Saleem's extensive self-pitying. I do agree with those on here who have said that it's a bit much. However, I think he's supposed to be a bit juvenile and irritating - he says as much in his introduction to the 25th Anniversary Edition (which, by the way, I recommend reading before as well as after the novel). There were times when I was thinking, "Okay, get on with it, stop doing this whole 'No, I can't talk about it, it's too tragic,' shtick," because it did get redundant. But, then again, the character is incredibly redundant in many matters, and I don't think it's a shortcoming where writing is concerned so much as Rushdie succeeding - maybe even too much - at building Saleem's character. (He even refers to Saleem as though he's a real person in his intro, so that says something about his mindset when he was writing this.)

I don't know if I'd classify this as my favorite Rushdie work over Satanic Verses, only because personally, I'm generally more of a wanderer. Now that I think about it, the two novels take on almost exactly opposite themes. SV is about feeling like an outsider, MC is about being deeply connected to your place of birth. Of those two, I'm definitely more in the former than the latter, which is probably why I identify with SV a little more strongly. That said, with repeat readings and more time to gel, who knows. It's pretty neck and neck.
Profile Image for Ahmed.
910 reviews7,449 followers
January 7, 2018

(وَقْع إسم سلمان رشدى على الأُذْن العربيه (وخاصة المسلمة) من أسوأ ما يكون , فهو ذلك الكاتب الذى اتخذ من قلمة أداة لإهانة مقدساتنا والتجريح فيها )هذه هى الصورى الذهنيه التى غالباً ستتكون عندك ولا ألومك فى هذا لأنك لم تقرأ له مثلما كانت هى عندى ولم أكن قد قرأت له بعد. فجرمه المزعوم المتمثل فى (آيات شيطانيه) كان من القوة بحيث أصبح ملازم لإسمه.وللحق فأنا لم أقرأ جريمته تلك لكى أحكم ولكن هى صورة ليست إلا .

ولكن بمجرد ما تنتهي من أول 10 صفحات من رائعته(أطفال منتصف الليل) لن تملك إلا أن تقع تحت تأثير سحر أدبى من نوع خاص.

هو العمل الذى كُتب ليُخلّد فى تاريخ الآداب العالميه.

من الأعمال القليله التى انتهيت منها على مرحلتين(3 ساعات فى الأول و6 ساعات فى المرحلة الثانيه)ولم أكن أريد له أن ينتهى , قرأته بتمهل شديد مخافة أن يضيع منى لفتة هنا أو هناك.

عمل ضخم (670ص)ولكنى على ثقة تامة فى أنه معجزة أدبيه متكاملة الاطراف.
تمكن مذهل فى أدوات الأديب العظيم والروائى الفحل, لدرجة انبهارى الشخصى بعمره فى حين كتابته(كان يبلغ 34عام)كيف تأّتى لهذا الإنسان ان يكتب بتلك العظمة فى ذلك السن الصغير(نسبياً)

للوهلة الأولى اعتقدت أن الكتاب مجرد سيرة ذاتيه له (فالبطل فى نفس سنة مولده) ولكن اتضح أنها سيرة ذاتيه لأمة كاملة.

ببساطه مطلقة يقدم لك تاريخ من نوع خاص وأكثر خصوصية فى تناول حياة البشر والمجتمعات.

العمل عبارة عن استرجاع كاتب (سليم سيناء) لحياته الكاملة عن طريق (الفلاش باك) فهو يحكى لخادمته الشخصيه أحداث حياته ولكن الموضوع ليس بهذه البساطه الظاهرة فهو قسّم العمل إلى 3 أقسام :

الأول : ماقبل مولده : يقدم لك حياته الشخصيه كما لا يحب أى بشر أن يقدمها ابتدأ من لقاء جده بجدته والأحداث الغريبه المصاحبه لتاريخ عائلته (الغريب) مرورا بتفاصيل أكثر غرابة وصُدف إلى أن تتزوج أمه بأبيه ويأتى هو فى لحظة حاسمة فى تاريخ وطنه فنفس لحظة مولده هى نفس لحظة إعلان استقلال الهند بعد جهود العظيم غاندى وتلميذه نهرو , وتشاء الصدف ان يصاحب مولده كوارث اجتماعيه وطفرات غريبه تخص شخصه الغريب.

الجزء الثانى: من أعظم ما قرأت فى حياتى على الإطلاق . الإبداع المجسّد أمامك على ورق وكتوب بحبر عادى , هو السحر , وصدق النبي - صلى الله عليه وسلم - : إن من البيان سحرا . فهو السحر الذى ينقلك من عالمك البغيض وواقعك المؤلم لجنة الأدب الحقيقيه , أخشى ما أخشاه ألا اقدر عن ايفاء هذا الجزء حقه فلا يسعنى إلا أن اقول عليه ذلك , فقط.

فى الجزء الثالث : الأصاله الحقيقيه فى تناول المجتمع وشرح أحداث بالغة الأهميه وتوصيل معلومات مهمة فى صورة أدبيه بليغة, جزء تراثى بامتياز عبّر فيه الكاتب عن نفسه بواقعيه شديده .

يقدم لك الكاتب الإبداع البشرى المتمثل فى تقديمه لحياة من ولدوا فى منتصف ليل إعلان استقلال الهند , فقد ولد فى هذه الساعه أطفال خارقين استغل الكاتب وجودهم وتزعم شخصيته البطل لهم وتفرده عليهم مع فانتازيا من نوع خاص , استخدم الكاتب كل ذلك ليرسم لك لوحته الأدبيه الخالده.

فى المجمل : عمل عظيم وتأريخ أدبى بالغ الأهميه ليس فقط لشخصية(سليم)بل لمجتمع الهند وباكستان وحتى بنجلاديش, ليس تأريخ بالمعنى المتعارف عليه من حيث أحداث تاريخ (جامده)يقدمها فى صورة تبليغيه , بل هو تأريخ لعادات مجتمعيه وأحداث إنسانيه جميله.

فكلنا يعرف غاندى ونهرو ومحمد على جناح ومجيب الرحمن وغيرهم من الشخصيات الرائدة فى تلك المنطقه الكثيفه(سكانياً وتاريخياً) ولكننا لا نعرف ما يعترك بداخل تلك المجتمعات وهذا ما تكفل به الكاتب فى كتابه.

من حيث اللغه : فالترجمه العظيمة لا تأتى إلا من خلال عمل لغوى من أعظم ما يكون , فإذا كان العمل بكل هذه العظمة فى غير لغته فمن المؤكد انه أعظم بمراحل فى لغته الأم .

من حيث الشخصيات : وصف وتحليل وعمق انسانى بالغ الروعه والدقة , الشخصيات حية بين الصفحات تكلمها وتكلمك , تتألم لألمها وتحزن لحزنها,
الأحداث: طبيعيه وغريبه فى نفس الوقت (ازاى أنا شخصيا ما اعرفش) أحداث دقيقه ودقتها أتت من عمق شخصياتها.

قد يكون أعظم عمل قرأته فى هذا العام ومن أعظم الاعمال التى قراتها على الإطلاق , هذا العمل حالة انسانية بالغة الجمال , والجمال الإنسانى بداخله أبى إلا أن ينتقل اليك ويجعلك تشعر بالجمال أيضا.

من الملاحظ الحس الإسلامى فى العمل (من حيث بعض التعليقات التى تخص تاريخ الصحابه وحياة الرسول (ص) وإن كانت تحتاج بعض التدقيق , لا أقول أنه عمل إسلامى ولكن أقول واضح خلفية الكاتب المسلمة .
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,010 reviews596 followers
September 25, 2015

It took me 140 pages to really get 'hooked'. Do you know there is a 32 page vocabulary list (I printed it out)--online for "Midnight's Children?

Its worth reading this book! lol

In spirit of Sharyl's review which I read today...
I'm going to RAISE my my 3 stars to 5 stars!

I read this a long time ago ---(I had to work it) --looking up tons of words. However --I thought the story was TERRIFIC!!!

I still think about this book...

so...5 stars it is!!!!!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 8,065 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.