Midnight’s Children
by Salman Rushdie

Rushdie.Midnight'sCaptures the confusions and colors of India at the time of the Partition.  Wonderfully written.

Opening paragraphI was born in the city of Bombay …once upon a time.  No, that won’t do, there’s no getting away from the date:  I was born in Doctor Narlikar’s Nursing Home on August 15th, 1947.  And the time?  The time matters, too.  Well then: at night.  No, it’s important to be more … On the stroke of midnight, as a matter of fact.  Clock-hands joined palms in respectful greeting as I came.  Oh, spell it out, spell it out: at the precise instant of India’s arrival at independence, I tumbled forth into the world.  There were gasps.  And, outside the window, fireworks and crowds.  A few seconds later, my father broke his big toe; but his accident was a mere trifle when set beside what had befallen me in that benighted moment, because thanks to the occult tyrannies of those blandly saluting clocks I had been mysteriously handcuffed to history, my destinies indissolubly chained to those of my country.  For the next three decades, there was to be no escape.  Soothsayers had prophesied me, newspapers celebrated my arrival, politicos ratified my authenticity.  I was left entirely without a say in the matter.  I, Saleem Sinai, later variously called Snotnose, Stainface, Baldy, Sniffer, Buddha and even Piece-of-the-Moon, had become heavily embroiled in Fate —at the best of times a dangerous sort of involvement.  And I couldn’t even wipe my own nose at the time.

Quotes from critics“Extraordinary . . . one of the most important [novels] to come out of the English-speaking world in this generation.”(The New York Review of Books); “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.” (Newsweek); “In Salman Rushdie, India has produced a glittering novelist– one with startling imaginative and intellectual resources, a master of perpetual storytelling.” (The New Yorker); “Huge, vital, engrossing… in all senses a fantastic book.” (Sunday Times)

BioSalman Rushdie (1947- ) is an Indian British author of novels, short stories, and non-fiction.  His novel The Satanic Verses, provoked a fatwa against him issued by Ayatollah Knomeini.  He currently lives in the United States, where he holds faculty appointments at Emory and M.I.T.  Rushdie has been knighted for his services to literature; is a fellow of the British Royal Society or Literature and the American Academy of Arts and Letters; has won dozens of prizes; and holds honorary degrees from 12 universities.

Awards:  Booker and Best of Booker prizes