Let's Discuss Midnight's Children By Salman Rushdie
In Rushdie's Booker Prize-winning novel two children born at the stroke of midnight on August 15, Protected content moment at which India became an independent nation--are switched in the hospital. The infant scion of a wealthy Muslim family is sent to be raised in a Hindu tenement, while Saleem, the legitimate heir to such squalor ends up establishing squatters' rights to his unlucky hospital mate's luxurious bassinet.
Within one hour of midnight on India's independence day, 1,001 children were born. All of those children were endowed with special powers: some can travel through time, for example; one can change gender. Saleem's gift is telepathy, and it is via this power that he discovers the truth of his birth: that he is, in fact, the product of the illicit coupling of an Indian mother and an English father, and has usurped another's place. His gift also reveals the identities of all the other children and the fact that it is in his power to gather them for a "midnight parliament" to save the nation. To do so, however, would lay him open to that other child, christened Shiva, who has grown up to be a brutish killer. Saleem's dilemma plays out against the backdrop of the first years of independence: the partition of India and Pakistan, the ascendancy of "The Widow" Indira Gandhi, war, and, eventually, the imposition of martial law.
(Extracted from Alix Wilber's review)
We discussed the first half in August. In September we will be discussing the full book.
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