Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie

(Crossposted from my blog. My first post here!)

Back blurb:
Born at the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947, at the precise moment of India’s independence, the infant Saleem Sinai is celebrated in the press and welcomed by Prime Minister Nehru himself. But this coincidence of birth has consequences Saleem is not prepared for: telepathic powers that connect him with 1,000 other ‘midnight’s children’ - all born in the initial hour of India’s independence - and an uncanny sense of smell that allows him to sniff out dangers others cannot perceive. Inextricably linked to his nation, Saleem’s biography is a whirlwind of disasters and triumphs that mirrors the course of modern India at its most impossible and glorious.

My take: Half fiction and non-fiction (or some would believe otherwise), a prophecy of the life of our lead character, Saleem Sinai, sums up how his life is inevitably entwined with the turbulent history of India.

There will be two heads but you will see only one - there will be knees andnose - a nose and knees. … Newspaper praises him, two mothers raise him! Bicyclists love him - but crowds will shove him! Sisters will weep, cobra will creep …

Spittoons will brain him - doctors will drain him - jungle will claim him - wizards reclaim him! Soldiers will try him - tyrants will fry him …

He will have sons without having sons. He will be old before he is old! And he will die … before he is dead!

Saleem narrates the events of his own life to his lover Padma, a first person account of his own life. While the title would lead us to believe that it is about the super powers of this elite group of midnight’s children, the book bespeaks of a generation struggling to shape the world into a better place and at the same time, they becoming a product of the very environment they aim to change.

I’d been complaining about how it took me a while to get into it. In fact it took me two months to finish it (I carried it everywhere to force me to read in short bursts). For someone who can finish reading a novel in 3 days, this is excuciatingly long. In hindsight, I better appreciate the book knowing it is divided into three parts. ...

Read more here.