Thursday, September 23, 2004
Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
O fantastical novel! O skilled and tremendous writer! O fortunate and blessed reader! There is likely no finer use of time or shelf space than to write, to read, or to own this novel. From Parvati the Witch, to the Monkey, to Jamila Singer, to Taj the Boatman, to the Kolonyos Kid, to Wm. Methwold, to the magicians of the ghetto, to the litereally hundreds of other characters who dance and float through this unique narrative, there is scarcely a wasted word, and seldom a character that I will ever forget.
In case it's unclear, I loved this book. Structurally, it is a novel, written in the last days of a dying man's life, told to an audience whose role becomes more clear throughout the course. It begins, in a sense, where it ends. The book is a masterpiece of framework stories, and a fine work of history tambien.
The superficial narrative recounts the biography of the narrator, Saleem Sanai, a young man born at the stroke of midnight on the date India gained indipendence from Gr. Britan. The makers of Forrest Gump mast assuredly borrowed from this novel, written in 1981. For throughout the book, Saleem's life and fortunes are tied inexorably to the history and those important events which shape his native land.
I could go on for hours about this book, and wish deeply that I had someone with which to discuss it's linguistic playfulness, it's structural elegance, it's wit, it's com- and it's -passion. Salmon Rushdie is a storyteller and a writer of the first order.
I'll be lucky to read another book this good this year.