The 150-word Review: When I think of magic realism, I think of one book: Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children. This book is a conjuring – a cacophonous explosion of sounds, flavors, colors, and textures – and a chronicle of India during its nascent independence. All of which could only be accurately described with magic realism.
Saleem Sinai is the first of the one-thousand-and-one “midnight children,” born at the stroke of midnight during the first hour of India’s independence, with a gargantuan nose and a unique gift. Saleem is a telepath. He can communicate with all of the midnight children, each who have magical abilities of their own. Saleem appreciates the significance (and the burden) of his birth and sets to tell his life’s story to his wife. Thus Saleem becomes Rushdie’s Scheherazade, weaving together the miraculous tales of the midnight children and serving as witness to the tumultuous events that envelop the sub-continent during his life.
You will enjoy this book if you are a fan of: a polyglot of languages and local dialects, the crystal blue skies of Kashmir, cheroot and betlenut, historical fiction and allegory, old Bombay, chutney, One Thousand and One Nights, and following one’s nose.
Clavinism (stuff that will not make you look cool in a bar): Actually Norm, Midnight’s Children has twice been recognized as the “Booker of Bookers.”