Customer Reviews


111 Reviews
5 star:
 (75)
4 star:
 (14)
3 star:
 (9)
2 star:
 (9)
1 star:
 (4)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Imagery!
Wonderful Imagery!
Rushdie creates a wonderful panorama and guides us through post-1947 nehru's india toward indira's new india as his characters move across the length and breadth of india, associating themselves with history, witnessing its events, and occasionally being a part of them. From the old Kashmir with the silent dal lake to the massacre at...
Published on May 15 2002 by Kalyan

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars where's the beef?
I feel about Salman Rushdie's first big book roughly the same way I feel about Indian food. The food features a fascinating melange of spices, smells and textures, but I have no desire to consume it. Nor do I particularly comprehend the attraction of the cuisine of a dirt poor Third World country with more dietary taboos than you can shake a sitar at and, while heavy...
Published on Nov. 2 2000 by Orrin C. Judd


‹ Previous | 1 212 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Imagery!, May 15 2002
This review is from: Midnight's Children (Paperback)
Wonderful Imagery!
Rushdie creates a wonderful panorama and guides us through post-1947 nehru's india toward indira's new india as his characters move across the length and breadth of india, associating themselves with history, witnessing its events, and occasionally being a part of them. From the old Kashmir with the silent dal lake to the massacre at Jallianwalbagh, From the Streets and Forts of Delhi to the language riots of Bombay, From the military coups in pakistan, along the mysterious rann of kutch to the Mangroves of the Sunderbans, the story keeps turning while showing you all the nuances, sentiments, and personalities of the indian subcontinent. The characters are brilliantly depicted in rich variety and grab the readers attention immediately. It's not a history book but it presents history with stunning images in rushdie's wonderful hinglish. A wonderful read!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A hard read, but a good one, Oct. 9 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Midnight's Children (Paperback)
Ok I've re-read this book eight times, since the age of fourteen. I think that's why it took me till the sixth time to realize the book was about India, from Independence upto the 1970s. 'Midnight's Children' refers to that generations of Indians which lived right after independence, i.e. 1947. So-called because it was at midnight, 15th August 1947 that India(and Pakistan + the about-to-be Bangladesh) were born out of British India. It tells the story of Saleem Sinai who was born on Midnight, Independence day, and whose life is tied to that of his country's. Along with Saleem, another son was born almost at the same time: Shiva. These two represent the two different sides of India that are so familiar: Saleem represented the affluent, British-educated cosmopolitan and tolerant India. Shiva, represented the hungry-starving dog-eat-dog India, and how those two grew up together, separated, yet tied together. Plus all the hopes and dreams which were assocaited with the formation of this new India, the "tryst with Destiny" e.t.c. With the actual history of India as the backdrop. Saleem was one of many 'Midnight's Children', another name for India's democracy, and parliament. And goes on to show how Indira Gandhi neutered them (she declared a National Emergency, declared martial Law, and brought on the onset of disabling Socialist policies, the effect of which are still being felt). The book is written very well, but some of the Indian references will go over non-Indian readers' heads. Also, the state of India as Rushdie describes it is correct for the late 70s and early 80s, and has no bearing on the India of the 90s onwards. I think it's time to write a novel on Midnight's Grand-children, to the see the sparkling changes they are making on their nation. This book is only for people who have a significant interest in India. Not for the casual reader, and not a book to read for anybody who wants the most up-to-date story on India. Unfortunately there isn't a novel on that as of now.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars where's the beef?, Nov. 2 2000
By 
Orrin C. Judd "brothersjudddotcom" (Hanover, NH USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Midnight's Children (Hardcover)
I feel about Salman Rushdie's first big book roughly the same way I feel about Indian food. The food features a fascinating melange of spices, smells and textures, but I have no desire to consume it. Nor do I particularly comprehend the attraction of the cuisine of a dirt poor Third World country with more dietary taboos than you can shake a sitar at and, while heavy spicing is a perfectly logical substitute for substance, at the end of the meal one longs to ask: "Where's the beef?". Similarly, in his novel, Rushdie combines his signature Magical Realist style and the actual historical background of India since Independence with the family history of the Sinai's to create a bewildering mess of a novel that is heavy on Bombay slang. The language is pungent but indecipherable and the story is ambitious but confusing. The linguistic pyrotechnics and luxuriant prose have displaced the meat of the story.
I actually believe that India offers a unique opportunity to the author of today. With the end of the Cold War and peace in the Middle East, South Africa and Northern Ireland, many of the settings that offered built in tension have disappeared. India, however, remains a corrupt political state, is rife with ethnic tension and is nearly at war with both Pakistan and China. There are so many latent plot lines that it would seem an irresistible setting and I very much enjoyed books like Rohinton Mistry's Such a Long Journey and Vikram Seth's A Suitable Boy (1993). But, both are much more traditional, Western-style novels. As is usually the case, the injection of magical realism into Rushdie's story ends up detracting from his tale rather than enhancing it. The effort to create an Indian, or postcolonial, style did not work for me; a straightforward narrative, stripped of hocus pocus gimmickry, would have been much more enjoyable.
GRADE: C-
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well written but confusing, Sept. 6 2010
By 
Andrea (Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
Salman Rushdie's writing style is easily to fall in love with, but it didn't take long before I realized that no matter how much I loved the way the words flowed on the page, I didn't really get what was going on. Rushdie's Midnight's Children is a densely packed tale of babies switched at birth, a nation divided, magic, history, love, prejudice, and war. It's beautifully written and often laugh-out-loud funny. It can also be confusing and frustrating.

"Midnight's Children" are those born within the first hour of the newly independent India. The story of Saleem's life is intended to parallel the events in India at the same time. It may be my own lack of historical knowledge of India and Pakistan during the 1960s/70s that made this a more difficult read than I'd anticipated.

I found that I had a hard time connecting with any of the main characters. The ones I was most sympathetic to were only around for a chapter at a time. The use of Padma as a means of addressing the reader got very tiresome after a while and didn't seem to be necessary. The whole novel seemed to be leading up to some sort of payoff that, in the end, never materialized. After a month of slogging through this novel, it was disappointing and unsatisfying.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply a "must read", Sept. 24 2003
By 
Ben E (Knoxville, TN USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Midnight's Children (Hardcover)
I don't have the time or inclination to go into a long rant about what makes this book so outstanding, but I will say that it is by far the best book I've ever picked up. I learned a lot about India and its turbulent history, but that was just an added bonus. As with any great novel, some of the characters in the book reminded me of myself, and taught me some things about myself, but that too was just a bonus. Rushdie's writing style is very pleasing and his methods of storytelling are far better than anything I've ever read. Those are the things that make this book so great. You simply MUST read it!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive story-telling, June 18 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Midnight's Children (Paperback)
Midnight's Children is perhaps strange in that it is an immensely popular novel but is also very intellectual and even esoteric. The story is narrated by Saleem Sinai, who was born at the exact moment of India's Independence. He is a very self-reflective narrator, who lets us in on his own perspective on his story-telling, as well as telling us the reaction of his servant Padma who is also listening to the story and who affects it as well. There are many twists and turns regarding the relationships between characters; there are name changes, nick-names, false-starts. This is of course what Salman Rushdie is interested in.
Rushdie has said that he thought this novel is about excess. You can see what he means as so much is packed into this novel and it is a credit to the author that he keeps this up all the way through (it took 5 years to write, apparently). But it also feels like it has been worked at, and requires a fair bit of working on the part of the reader. There are touching moments, and comic moments. These are genuine, but must be won by the reader who has to pay attention and keep up with the complexity of the novel.
There is so much in this book that you notice new things about it each time you read it. Rushdie has said that he quite likes it when he comes across words from different cultures in books (e.g. Jewish phrases in Roth). It would be best if readers share Rushdie's view when reading Rushdie himself as there are all sorts of words and phrases here that are not all explained.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars A good read but a diffcult one, Jan. 2 2002
By 
Tarun Pall "tarunthegreat" (New Delhi, India) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Midnight's Children (Paperback)
Ok I've re-read this book eight times, since the age of fourteen. I think that's why it took me till the sixth time to realize the book was about India, from Independence upto the 1970s. 'Midnight's Children' refers to that generations of Indians which lived right after independence, i.e. 1947. So-called because it was at midnight, 15th August 1947 that India(and Pakistan + the about-to-be Bangladesh) were born out of British India. It tells the story of Saleem Sinai who was born on Midnight, Independence day, and whose life is tied to that of his country's. Along with Saleem, another son was born almost at the same time: Shiva. These two represent the two different sides of India that are so familiar: Saleem represented the affluent, British-educated cosmopolitan and tolerant India. Shiva, represented the hungry-starving dog-eat-dog India, and how those two grew up together, separated, yet tied together. Plus all the hopes and dreams which were associated with the formation of this new India, the "tryst with Destiny" e.t.c. With the actual history of India as the backdrop. Saleem was one of many 'Midnight's Children', another name for India's democracy, and parliament. The book basically shows what the two estranged siblings - India and Pakistan/Bangladesh or Saleem/Shiva go thru from Independence onwards i.e. the two big Indo-Pak wars, the Pak military coups, how Indira Gandhi neutered them (she declared a National Emergency, martial Law, and institued disabling Socialist policies, the effect of which are still being felt). The book is written very well, but some of the Indian references will go over non-Indian readers' heads. Also, the state of India as Rushdie describes it is correct for the late 70s and early 80s, and has no bearing on the India of the 90s onwards. I think it's time to write a novel on Midnight's Grand-children, to the see the striking changes they are making on their nation. This book is only for people who have a significant interest in India. Not for the casual reader, and not a book to read for anybody who wants the most up-to-date story on India. Unfortunately there isn't a novel on that as of now.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Rushdie's Indian Epic, Dec 8 2001
By 
MR G. Rodgers (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Midnight's Children (Paperback)
Saleem Sinai, born at the moment of India's independence, recounts tells his life story to Padma, a female friend. It's also the story of Saleem's family, going back to the meeting between his gradfather and grandmother in the days of the Raj. Rushdie places Saleem's personal narrative firmly within the context of India's history (and indeed that of Pakistan and Bangladesh, as the geography of the story roams over (ironically?) India as it was known prior to Partition). Saleem (Rushdie) avows that people cannot be understood without knowing the historical forces that in a large part shape thier lives.
"Midnight's Children" is at times a demanding read. It starts off as a wonderfully evocative love story set in Kashmir in the early twentieth century. Thereafter, Rushdie's narrative becomes progressively more adventurous, chronology becomes more fluid, the use of Saleem as a first-person narrator is dropped and picked up again, fable and allegory are used in place of straightforward descriptive narrative. Withal, the story is a deeply personal study of individuals and at the same time political novel, for the reasons I've outlined above.
There are rich rewards along the way: the writing is for long stretches a joy to read, but it needs time and patience, because when you have got used to one particular style, Rushdie flits to another different style. As with other of Rushdie's works I've sampled, I got the feeling that at times he was trying to show off rather than to please or entertain me. For that reason, less than full stars, but nontheless well worth the read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars more than a story, Oct. 9 2001
By 
rosa oncog (the Philippines) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Midnight's Children (Paperback)
Imagine...... a story that has existed from the beginning, has a life of its own, has its own destiny. Even then, cast a credulous cynicism that its author had only been a poor puppet, and who could impossibly be a writer of a book that is like a dream or an ineffable fable. I had imagined Midnight's Children this way and with Salman Rushdie drudging on this writing - it is quite sacrilegious to think , but pardon me, because indeed "to understand just one life, I cant easily swallow the world". No, not this one so effortlessly because the reality/history that Rushdie had created is full of flamboyant Indianess, paradox, anachronism, fibs, magic, metaphor, humor, bawdy language, and imagination that are orchestrated in such a lavish way. Rushdie who has proven himself to be a master had so far successfully transmogrified himself to be invisible as the writer (at least for me).
Most of the moments that I had spent with this novel were teeming with unsatisfaction with what I really seemed to comprehend, and while I was hovering above an "illusion of understanding", the story is unheeding and unstoppable in its power to surprise me one instant, then to taunt me at another time and often really makes me laugh in its ludicrous lucidity.
In the story, imagine a certain Saleem Sinai living with his life as a microcosm of the history of India. With his birth heralded by prime ministers and prophesied by wizards, and his life to be made as a template for a new beginning of an emerging nation, his life has become a fulcrum of contemplation of why what who how of a nation and its people. Saleems's life is told as a fictional autobiography with its armory of leitmotifs such as perforated sheets, silver spittoons, noses and knees, and pointing fingers. The outrageous and often fecund foreshadowing of paradoxes gyrate around the story's inevitabilities so that the whole work still maintains its serious appeal. A reader has to think beyond Saleem's life, or so to speak, has to go beyond being just kicked out of the story in order to appreciate this work or else this outrageous fiction would just amount to any ordinary melodramatic tale. Any one might be impressed about how the life-story of Saleem is being narrated in front of an ever solicitous Padma- a character-audience who goads and pulls the writery-leash that Saleem inextricably pinioned on himself and who inevitably flavors the story by her moods, and unknowingly also instills suspense and gaping interest to the story. So that what lies between fiction and history? Further, I see a lot of its parallelism to other novels such as 100 Years of Solitude, but its similarity is being put in an elegant copy. I would mostly hail this book among the other of Rushdie's works which I deem too ambitious to be true.
And what about this chutnification of history? I really like this idea, and it reminds me of the "gedanken" or thought experiments that scientists use to explain a phenomenon that cant be proven by experiment, and yet can always be arrayed as truth. Midnight's Children's peculiar way of "pickling" events and then adding certain flavors and spices of perspectives had just given me a chance to meet Indian history (not from a textbook, at least) but in a quite sophisticated way.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Intertwined with the history of a new country, Oct. 1 2001
By 
This review is from: Midnight's Children (Paperback)
Midnight's Children is a flamboyant account of the history of a boy, Saleem, who is intertwined with the history of a new country, India. He is born at the stroke of midnight carrying with him powers of telepathy that connect him to the other 1001 midnight's children that our born on the birth of India. The other children also carry gifts, changing genders, witchcraft, levitation, time-travel, etc.
Saleem's nemesis, Shiva, was also born at the same moment but born into poverty and has the powers to resist Saleem's telepathic powers. In the book, we witness the growing pains of a new country and the ill-conceived notion of what these talented children try to accomplish - changing India for the better. Instead we witness the fragmentation of the new country and religious boundaries being drawn between the Indian (Hindu) and Pakistanis (Muslim) and Bangladesh (Muslim). Saleem's life and family are intertwined with the history of India, as the country separates and clash, the life and family of Saleem are also destroyed.
This is the first novel I've read of Rushdie's after he performed a reading at the Chicago Public Library. He is clearly a talented writer, but I wish I was more in tune with Indian history and politics; some of the symbolism was over my head. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the book very much and plan on reading his new book that takes place in New York, Fury.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 212 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Midnight's Children
Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie (Hardcover - Oct. 17 1995)
CDN$ 30.00 CDN$ 18.81
Usually ships in 1 to 2 months
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews