In 2005, Time magazine put out a Top 100 novels published in English since the magazine started in 1923. I try to include some classic books in my reading, so I’ll use lists like this to expand my reading into more traditional literary fiction. This was one of the books from the Time top 100 list. It’s also on the BBC’s The Big Read list.
Genre: historical fiction
Length: 446 pages
Setting: India, starting in 1947
Summary: Saleem Sinai recounts the major events of his family’s life, starting with his great-grandfather. Saleem was born at the stroke of midnight on the same that India gained its independence from Great Britain. His life and India were tied together. All of the children born in the midnight hour of that night had special abilities. Saleem could read thoughts, at least until he had his sinuses drained. At that point, he lost his telepathy and gained a sense of smell that could detect emotions.
Final thoughts: This apparently was Rushdie’s breakthrough novel. I’ve read other books by him that I enjoyed more (like Haroun and the Sea of Stories). This wasn’t a bad book, but it was very long-winded and meandering. It was a good picture of life in India at this time, though.
Awards won: Man Booker Prize in 1981
Title comes from: All the children born during the midnight hour on the day modern India was born had special abilities, Saleem included.
Reading challenges fulfilled: none since this is a review of a book read in a previous year
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