Friday, July 11, 2008
"I was born in the city of Bombay ... once upon a time."
Today, Salman Rushdie was given the 40 year "Best of the Booker" award for Midnight's Children, which also won the Booker Award in 1981 and the 25 year Booker award in 1993. I read this book quite a few years ago and reread it about six months ago. It was still a fantastic book and really represents an entire nation in a critical moment in its history.
Saleem is one of 1,000 children born at midnight on the day of the "birth of India" -- the day it became a nation free from British rule. These children have all acquired some sort of power or talent and Saleem, among other skills, has the ability to connect them all telepathically. The story follows Saleem as he grows up in the new India and comes in and out of contact with these other children and navigates the world that is changing all around him. The adult Saleem is the narrator and he admits that the story is his perhaps deluded interpretation of his own childhood but you want to believe that such a world of fantasy could exist in a modern setting.
I find that many of Salman Rushdie's books use the same sort of "voice" in them. I just started The Satanic Verses and from the start it has felt familiar and comfortable in its language and flow. If you have read any of his books, you should continue on through more of them. He is a brilliant storyteller and is quite accessible. One day I will wax rhapsodic about my favorite Rushdie book, The Ground Beneath Her Feet.
Until next time,
Buy Midnight's Children on Amazon or find it at your local library.