Monday, October 8, 2007

Book Review: Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie

Midnight's Children is probably Salman Rushdie's most acclaimed novel, being a former winner of the Booker prize, even though he is probably best known as the author of the somewhat controversial "The Satanic Verses".

The midnight's children are those born close to the moment of India's independance, an accident of birth which gives them a variety of special powers including the ability to transport through mirrors, miraculous strength in the knees and the abilty to read minds, which is the power of the main character. The story follows one midnight's child whose troubled life reflects the problems of the fledgling nations of India and Pakistan and indeed the politics of these nations ultimately casuses the demise of the midnight's children.

Although extremely well written with a superb vocabulary, this book is not the inaccessible read that it may seem, in fact I was surprised how easy to read it was and found myself eager to find the next development of the powers of the midnight's children as indeed the main character discovers them himself and by the end of the book I had a real concern for he fate of the characters.

Much about this very original concept seems very familiar in the television series "Heroes" and many of the special powers in this program seem close enought to Salman Rushdie's creations to suggest that this book may have been a major influence, particularly as one of the pivotal characters in this series is an academic from an Indian university. There is also something about the way one of the midnight's children turns upon his own, allying himself to an evil power that is reminiscent of the Star Wars series. Essentially Midnight's Children is a great piece of story telling and highly original in doing so.

I would recommend this book to readers as a fine example that good books do actually win the Booker prize and for those who are curious about Salman Rushdie's ability as a story teller - I'm sure they won't be disappointed.

Score 8/10

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