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Midnight's Children

Midnight's Children

4.1 74
by Salman Rushdie

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Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best novels of all time

Winner of the Booker of Bookers

Saleem Sinai is born at the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947, the very moment of India’s independence. Greeted by fireworks displays, cheering crowds, and Prime Minister Nehru himself, Saleem grows up to learn the


Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best novels of all time

Winner of the Booker of Bookers

Saleem Sinai is born at the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947, the very moment of India’s independence. Greeted by fireworks displays, cheering crowds, and Prime Minister Nehru himself, Saleem grows up to learn the ominous consequences of this coincidence. His every act is mirrored and magnified in events that sway the course of national affairs; his health and well-being are inextricably bound to those of his nation; his life is inseparable, at times indistinguishable, from the history of his country. Perhaps most remarkable are the telepathic powers linking him with India’s 1,000 other “midnight’s children,” all born in that initial hour and endowed with magical gifts.

This novel is at once a fascinating family saga and an astonishing evocation of a vast land and its people–a brilliant incarnation of the universal human comedy. Twenty-five years after its publication, Midnight’ s Children stands apart as both an epochal work of fiction and a brilliant performance by one of the great literary voices of our time.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Extraordinary . . . one of the most important [novels] to come out of the English-speaking world in this generation.”
–The New York Review of Books

“The literary map of India is about to be redrawn. . . . Midnight’s Children sounds like a continent finding its voice.”
–The New York Times

“In Salman Rushdie, India has produced a glittering novelist– one with startling imaginative and intellectual resources, a master of perpetual storytelling.”
–The New Yorker

“A marvelous epic . . . Rushdie’s prose snaps into playback and flash-forward . . . stopping on images, vistas, and characters of unforgettable presence. Their range is as rich as India herself.”

“Burgeons with life, with exuberance and fantasy . . . Rushdie is a writer of courage, impressive strength, and sheer stylistic brilliance.”
–The Washington Post Book World

“Pure story–an ebullient, wildly clowning, satirical, descriptively witty charge of energy.”
–Chicago Sun-Times

Clark Blaise
This is a book to accept on its own terms. . . .As a Bombay book, which is to say, a big-city book, 'Midnight's Children is coarse, knowing, comfortable with Indian pop culture and, above all, aggressive. . . .The flow of the book rushes to its conclusion in counterpointed harmony: myths intact, history accounted for, and a remarkable character fully alive. -- The New York Times

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.10(d)


Meet the Author

Sir SALMAN RUSHDIE is the multi-award winning author of eleven previous novels--Luka and the Fire of Life, Grimus, Midnight's Children (which won the Booker Prize, 1981, and the Best of the Booker Prize, 2008), Shame,The Satanic Verses, Haroun and the Sea of Stories, The Moor's Last Sigh, The Ground Beneath Her Feet, Fury, Shalimar the Clown and The Enchantress of Florence--and one collection of short stories, East, West. He has also published three works of non-fiction: The Jaguar Smile, Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism 1981-1991 and Step Across This Line, and coedited two anthologies, Mirrorwork and Best American Short Stories 2008. His memoir, Joseph Anton, published in 2012, became an internationally acclaimed bestseller. It was praised as "the finest memoir...in many a year" (The Washington Post). His books have been translated into over forty languages. He is a former president of American PEN.

Brief Biography

New York, New York
Date of Birth:
June 19, 1947
Place of Birth:
Bombay, Maharashtra, India
M.A. in History, King's College, University of Cambridge

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Midnight's Children 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 74 reviews.
WWCEBC More than 1 year ago
"Midnight's Children" by Salman Rushdie won the Booker Prize in 1981 and was awarded in 1993 the honor of "best overall novel" of all Booker Prize winners since the prize was first awarded in 1975. In 2005 it made the 100 best English-language novels published since 1923. I agree that it is worthy of such accolades. It is basically a story of India's history immediately before independence from Great Britain and for its beginning years as a nation continuing on to Pakistan separation and ensuing wars between the two nations. The story is built on and parallels the lives of those children born at midnight on that day of independence, August 15, 1947, at the designated time of independence thus the title, Midnight's Children. The main character, Saleem Sinai, is one of those children and his life is linked to the 1000 other midnight's children all of whom have some type of magical powers or gifts. It is definitely a challenging and intellectual read, both thought-provoking and complex. I feel more knowledgeable about Indian history and the divisions within that nation that continue even into today's society there. * * *
Guest More than 1 year ago
If I wasn't completely convinced before that Salman Rushdie has a claim to be the most gifted writer on the planet, I am after reading this book. This novel is a generational saga along the lines of Gabriel Garcia-Marquez's 'One Hundred Years of Solitude' and Jeffrey Eugenides's 'Middlesex'. As those two novels reflect the history of their own respective nations, so does 'Midnight's Children.' It is the story of one family, and one person in particular, Saleem, who is born on the stroke of midnight on the exact day and time India achieved its independence from Britain. From that propitious birth onward, Saleem's life becomes a reflection and representation of the young Indian nation itself. The title refers to the 400 odd children who were born at or near this same midnight. Each one of them have magical skills which vary in strength and importance in direct relation to their birth's proximity to midnight. Since Saleem was born exactly at midnight, he has the most valuable skill, the skill to look into people's hearts, minds, and souls, and to commune with the other midnight children mentally. In this vein, he forms the Midnight Children's Conference, a meeting of these 400+ children who communicate through Saleem's telepathic mind and have the stated goal of reforming India. If this sounds unbelievable, it is not. It is the same sort of magical realism fans of Latin American authors will be familiar with, and adds to the strength, beauty, and ultimate brutality of the story without making the reader roll his eyes in incredulity. As is India, so is Saleem. He hears the multitudinous voices of India in his head, a mess of contradictions: peace and violence, forgiveness and revenge, progress and tradition. His family also reflects the indefinable character of India. They are by turns real and fantastical, living and dying, perservering and escaping. The amalgam of these voices and Saleem's family is an India that Rushdie seems to understand no better than anyone else, but his affection for and frustration with India could only come from a native. The reader also follows Saleem's physical life. His face mirrors a map of India, and his enormous nose is gifted at sensing emotions. From the life of a rich boy in Bombay, to a fighter in the India-Pakistan War, to a broken carnival traveller, and finally to an owner of a pickle company, Saleem's journey through life is expansive, human, and always entertaining. The side characters are just as engrossing, and all have a part to play in the tumolt of Indian history. To keep the earlier analogy going, I found this to be a slightly more difficult read than 'One Hundred Years of Solitude' but just as entertaining as 'Middlesex'. Rushdie writes with wit, style, anger, and absolute brilliance. He is generous with allusions, but I felt they were also extremely accessible. I recommend this book not only to India-philes, but also to fans of literature in general. This is a master in peak and rare form, and this is one of the finest novels written in a generation. Most highly recommended.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really wonder if anyone else can paint such a true and beuatiful picture of a newly born country in the form of its children.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Well, no, not really. far from it actually. but ever since reading this book nearly a decade ago, at the age of 14, i keep a special place in my heart for Bombay. It has sent me on a never ending chase for every written word ever to emerge from under Rushdie's pen, and he has never let me down. But as enchanting as all of his titles are, non is as breathtaking as this one, and my sole regret is that I will never get to relive the experience of reading 'Midnight's Children' for the first time.
Bookworm026 More than 1 year ago
EXCEPTIONAL!!!! MAGIC!!!!! Salman Rushie is a genius of literature!!! The story is beautiful, the characters are wonderful. The whole novel deals with India and its history, so it would be a good idea to know some key facts about post-colonial India and especially about the period when Nehru and Indira Gandhi were Prime Ministers of India before reading the novel to fully appreciate it. The magic element is a wonderful addition to the story. This novel not only teaches things about India but also conveys great universal values.This is a book you must read at least oncee in your life. I highly recommend it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
it was a difficult book to read but satisfying. yes it addressed cultural issues, yes it had humour, but i felt confused and slightly put off when the narrator kept digressing.whether or not that was complimenting the theme of fragmentation, i certainly did not waarm to it. its not for the light hearted, but it really throws a light upon Post colonial India and i can say that i have learnt twice as much than i would have through a history book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Our Book Group considered this the best book it's read in the past two years.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was assigned to read and present a two-day presentation on this book in college in 1988. I didn't read books this long back then. But we had partners and mine read it while I did the rest. I got an A and an A on the paper. I've read it at least THREE times since. It is an amazing work. That was an amazing class with a wonderful professor who opened the door to world literature for us and I've been so grateful for that gift ever since. Long books are fine now. Rushdie is a clever author and this novel uses magical realism but also teaches some very important history (more important now than ever). It is worth the time, every time. And wanting to re-read any book has to be a sign of a great book. Plus it is one of the great Booker winners. It's been great to be able to see Rushdie in interviews and for him to be able to keep writing because he was in hiding as The Satanic Verses was out back then and he was in hiding. I don't think we understood at all what that meant then but should have paid closer attention. Our professor thought Midnight's Children was a better book, so we read that. You won't regret it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A dip into fantasy that seems like reality. The dreams of the young and the reality of the old. A wonderful story weaved from youth and privledge through old age and poverty. A story of the soul.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I began reading Midnight's Children intimidated by the number of pages and the in-depth and tedious description Rushdie reveals. But eventually the pace began to quicken, and Midnight's Children transforms into a brilliant piece of literature, implementing characteristics of Indian history, and the loss of identity as a result of Indian independence. A great novel for the analytical type.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A fantastically written book, literally and figuratively
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is my first Salman Rushdie book and I feel like I've arrived at literary dessert at last. His lush prose and fleet of pen as he travels the reader through time and geography is magical. I shall read everything he has written NOW.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Requires a little more thought than the average read, but it is well worth the follow through. The story intertwines India's factual history with fictional events that are as mysterious and magical as only India can be. This book makes for great group discussions.
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