Monday, April 3, 2023

Review of Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie

This book review was written by Eugene Kernes   

Book can be found in: 
Book Club Event = Book List (07/01/2023)

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“In fact, all over the new India, the dream we all shared, children were being born 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.” – Salman Rushdie, Tick, Tock, Page 158

“How to dispense with Padma? How give up her ignorance and superstition, necessary counterweights to my miracle-laden omniscience? How to do without her paradoxical earthiness of spirit, which keeps – kept! – my feet on the ground? 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 become reconciled to the narrow one-dimensionality of a straight line?” – Salman Rushdie, Accident in a Washing-chest, Page 200

“”I told you the truth,” I say yet again, “Memory’s truth, because memory has its own special kind.  It selects, eliminates, 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.”” – Salman Rushdie, At the Pioneer Café, Page 280



There are children born to time.  Born on midnight.  The day that India became independent.  Born to such an event has shackled them to history.  A destiny awaits them all.  Born to such a lineage has given them power.  These children have different powers, and not all the powers are wanted.  The children do not know their siblings, but create a conference for the children of midnight.  Using their power inspired change, but they were confused about the morality of their decisions. 

This is a story of magical realism.  In which reality is relative to perspective.  Reality itself becomes an illusion.  A child of midnight is writing down the memory of the children.  Before the writer vanishes into dust.  Acknowledging that memory creates its own version of events.  This is a book steeped into the cultural traditions of India.  To not forget the cultural heritage. 



The book can be difficult to read.  There is a quick transition between events, topics, and ideas that can be hard to follow.

The book has references and itself is a combination of various popular stories.  Following their narrative structure.  An extra layer of value is provided for those who already read the referenced books. 


Questions to Consider while Reading the Book

•What is the raison d’etre of the book?  For what purpose did the author write the book?  Why do people read this book?
•What are some limitations of the book?
•To whom would you suggest this book?
•Who are the Midnight’s children?
•Who is the narrator and why is the narrator narrating?  
•How did the narrator govern the Midnight’s Children Conference? 
•Who is Padma?
•Do games have morals? 
•What powers did the children of midnight have?
•How did the children use their powers?
•How does memory work?

Book Details
Edition:               40th Anniversary Edition
Publisher:             Random House [Penguin Random House]
Edition ISBN:      9780307744111
Pages to read:       593
Publication:          2020
1st Edition:           1981
Format:                 eBook 

Ratings out of 5:
Readability    2
Content          1
Overall          1