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Midnight's Children

Midnight's Children

Paperback Vintage Books

By (author) Salman Rushdie

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  • Publisher: VINTAGE
  • Format: Paperback | 672 pages
  • Dimensions: 130mm x 196mm x 36mm | 399g
  • Publication date: 1 December 2006
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0099578514
  • ISBN 13: 9780099578512
  • Sales rank: 3,045

Product description

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 wildly sensitive sense of smell - we are drawn into a fascinating family saga set against the vast, colourful background of the India of the 20th century.

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Author information

Salman Rushdie is the author of eight novels, one collection of short stories, and four works of non-fiction, and the co-editor of The Vintage Book of Indian Writing. In 1993 Midnight's Children was judged to be the 'Booker of Bookers', the best novel to have won the Booker Prize in its first 25 years. The Moor's Last Sigh won the Whitbread Prize in 1995, and the European Union's Aristelon Prize for Literature in 1996. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres.

Review quote

"'Salman Rushdie has earned the right to be called one of our great storytellers.' Observer" "'Huge, vital, engrossing... in all senses a fantastic book.' Sunday Times" "'The literary map of India has been redrawn... Midnight's Children sounds like a country finding its voice.' New York Times" "'A brilliant and endearing novel.' London Review of Books"

Editorial reviews

When Indian novelist Rushdie arrived with Grimus in 1979 we called him "an imagination to watch." And he'll be watched indeed once this bravura fiction starts circulating - a picaresque entertainment that's clearly inspired by close readings of the modern South American fabulists and, above all, Sterne's Tristram Shandy. Rushdie's own Tristram is named Saleem Sinai - and he is born at the stroke of midnight, August 15, 1947, making him exactly contemporary with the life of India-as-a-nation. In fact, Saleem and 580 other "midnight children" born at that moment grow up to find themselves equipped with powers of telepathic communication, foresight, and heightened individual sensoria: Saleem's particular gift is a "cucumber" of a nose with which he goes through life literally smelling change. The Sinai family, originally Kashmiri Moslems, migrate to Bombay, living in ex-colonial digs. And a switch at birth with a neighbor's baby seeds narrative trouble that flowers at different times later on in the book: opera buffa complications all the way. Saleem seems to be in the middle of all cataclysmic Indian events, too. He's present during language riots and a dinner-party coup in Pakistan (where his mother fled after a marital spat involving the revealed baby-switch). Because of his olfactory talent, he becomes a "man-dog" tracker for a Pakistani military unit during the debacle in Bangladesh. And, back in Bombay, Saleem is clapped into jail with the other "midnight children" by "the Widow" - Indira Gandhi - during the dictatorial Emergency. Rushdie swoops, all colors unfurled, all stops out, through and around his synchronic fable with great gusto and sentimental fizz. And though such a rodomontade would be shameless if made out of more familiar material, the sub-continental excessiveness (and the fascinating history lesson which is incidentally built in) keeps us loading and firing right along. Tour de force, in other words - and so, of course, a little exhausting; but, unlike other fantastical picaresques, this one is truly worth the effort. A big striped balloon of a book, often dizzying with talent. (Kirkus Reviews)