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Midnight's Children

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  97,378 ratings  ·  5,823 reviews
Saleem Sinai was born at midnight, the midnight of India's independence, and found himself mysteriously "handcuffed to history" by the coincidence. He is one of 1,001 children born at the midnight hour, each of them endowed with an extraordinary talent—and whose privilege and curse it is to be both master and victims of their times. Through Saleem's gifts—inner ear and wil ...more
Paperback, New Edition, 647 pages
Published May 1st 1995 by Vintage (first published 1981)
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Anna This is a slow, intense, complex novel, and even though I always read at a pretty high level, I do not think I could have handled this book at 15.…moreThis is a slow, intense, complex novel, and even though I always read at a pretty high level, I do not think I could have handled this book at 15. It's not inappropriate because of sexual content or violence, but because I think you have to have read a little more and been challenged by reading a little more before you can really dive into and appreciate it. (less)
John Addiego This is literary fiction in what I'd call the magical realism style, and it seems like one of the best novels about multi-cultural India during and…moreThis is literary fiction in what I'd call the magical realism style, and it seems like one of the best novels about multi-cultural India during and since its moment of independence from the British Empire. Mostly, it's a work of rare genius and terrific humor by a master stylist.(less)
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Average rating 3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  97,378 ratings  ·  5,823 reviews


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Turhan Sarwar
Jun 04, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 n ...more
Sean Barrs the Bookdragon
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 ea
...more
Michael Finocchiaro
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 ...more
Kevin Ansbro
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 sto
...more
Samadrita
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 succum
...more
Lisa
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 partic
...more
Dolors
Jul 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Dreamers & Renegades
Recommended to Dolors by: Garima & Sckenda
“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
...more
Michael
Aug 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Whitaker
Have you ever been to a Hindu temple? It’s a riotous mass of orange, blue, purple, red, and green. Its walls seethe with deities. In one corner, Ganesha--the god with a human body and elephant head--sits on his vehicle, a rat. In another, a blue Krishna sits on a cow wooing cow girls by playing his flute. Durgha wearing a necklace of skulls kills a demon in another corner. Jasmine-decorated devotees stand around chanting. The press of people, the incense and the noise all combine and you lose yo ...more
Garima
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 c
...more
Lizzy
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 w
...more
Kimber Silver
"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 wh
...more
Steve
Jan 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
I truly am sorry, Salman. It’s trite to say, I know, but it really wasn’t you, it was me. I take all the blame for not connecting, ignorant as I am about the Indian subcontinent’s history, culture, and customs. I’m sure your allegories were brilliant and your symbolism sublime, but it was in large part lost on me. At least I could appreciate your fine writing. You were very creative in the way you advanced the story, too — nonlinearly, and tied to actual events. Your device that allowed narrator ...more
Rebecca
Dec 23, 2010 rated it it was ok
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 let ...more
Cecily
“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
...more
Taylor
Jun 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Rushdie newcomers, the ambitious, people who love their hometown
Back in 2000, lit critic James Wood wrote a huge manifesto on the problem of "the 'big' novel" for the New Atlantic (disguised as a review of Zadie Smith). He basically attacked quirky novels like Underworld, Infinite Jest & White Teeth. There were a lot of things about it that I agreed with - particularly his point that a lot of cutesy things some writers tend towards are in place of good structure. One major thing I didn't agree with was his inclusion of Rushdie in this lot of wacky writers. He ...more
Elyse Walters
Jan 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
WOW!!!

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

UPDATE:
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 ab
...more
Erwin
Do not know what to say.......... I am speechless...unlike the main character of this book: Saleem.

What to compare this to? Not another book. Impossible! Perhaps it is best to compare this reading experience to a feeling, an image from my past:
A young boy listening in awe to his father (his greatest hero) telling one of his most wonderful stories at a campfire, hoping that the night and dad's story will never end.

Saleem's story and his narrative made me feel like that young boy again: a
...more
Edward
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 o
...more
Marieke
PART 1

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

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

Midnight's Children/>Midnight's
...more
Ritwik
Dec 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The most courageous writer I have come across lately and my first venture into the genre of magic realism. I confess I had a different opinion of magical realism before I started reading this book. I had the opinion that magic realism would in general have a lot of similarities to fantasy fiction with an exception that the allusions made would be realistic and the exaggerations would just make the effects to the plot more pronounced. According to my findings, 'Midnight's Children' is considered ...more
Andrea Schweiger Bregman
It doesn’t happen often, but from time to time after I finish a work of literature, I wonder, “What just happened?” In an effort to answer that question, my brain attempts to turn itself inside out to make sense of it all. This time that torture came from Rushdie’s Midnight Children. This novel is my first experience reading Rushdie’s work, so I am not sure if the writing style of this book is typical of the author, but I am not in any hurry to find out.

Being an English Literature st
...more
Adina
Aug 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
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 " ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie
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.
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...more
Paul Bryant
Sep 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels, india
Update:

Just back from watching the movie and.... well... it kind of highlights the less great parts of the book, just because it's a movie. You notice the non-plot, you notice that the characters get dragged around from India to Pakistan to Bangladesh depending which big political event or war is happening as we make our way from 1947 to 1977; and we really notice how gushingly sentimental it all turns out in the end. All of these problems are there in the book but are melted, dissol
...more
Ankit Garg
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Sensational. Lively. Lovely. Yet-pretty-guessable at times.

The above words sum up what I think about Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children. The storyline is brilliantly correlated with India and its history as a nation. Time-and-again, the author points out all the possible correlations among the two, which makes the prose lengthy and repetitive. But is repetition a bad thing always? No sir, it is not. It can be deployed as a powerful tool to make your point, and that is exactly how t
...more
Algernon (Darth Anyan)

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

It was from the start a most ambitious project -
...more
Bradley
Chutnification: the immortalization of a cucumber, or rather, a nose, into something indelibly Indian.

Just... wow.
This story of an inner-ear and nose follows through India's independence through the Emergency during Indra Ghandi, taking on mythological proportions. It is, first and foremost, a delightful, sensual, funny, detailed portrayal of a family saga that pretty much mirrors the trials and tribulations of India itself. Between the partition, Pakistan, the wars, the religions,
...more
Ben
Oct 12, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who reads fiction written after 1965
This was an extremely good book; one which, for some reason, I couldn't quite fall in love with. I was, however, more and more impressed with Rushdie's mastery over his novel as I made my way through it.

Midnight's Children is as much a tale of history and nationhood as it is of a person. I think, in some sense, the book was a sort of authorial attempt to bring into the realm of substantial palpability everything that had happened to the Indian subcontinent since Independence in '47 (
...more
Riku Sayuj
Truly deserving of booker of bookers.
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Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie is a novelist and essayist. Much of his early fiction is set at least partly on the Indian subcontinent. His style is often classified as magical realism, while a dominant theme of his work is the story of the many connections, disruptions and migrations between the Eastern and Western world.

His fourth novel, The Satanic Verses, led to protests from Muslims in several
...more
“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.” 692 likes
“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.” 386 likes
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