Midnight's Children review Ö 103

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Midnight's Children review Ö 103 ã 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 1001 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 oOrn 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'. 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 to offer than you thinkApproach 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 uench our mortal thirst And you cannot be a witness to the unfolding of a spectacle without aweApproach 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 grotesue 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 uiver 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 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

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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 centur. Fantastic intelligent hilarious profound and historically illuminating And the narrator is deliciously unreliable too Need I say I will His sentences are the kind of energetic super charged masterpieces that I could uote endlessly Here's one plucked utterly at randomInto 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 sueeze through the narrow gap between his breathing apparatus and his jawa 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

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Midnight's ChildrenSaleem 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 1001 children b. 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 any 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 masterpieceI 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 any 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 uite 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