Friday, 20 September 2013

Midnight's Children by Salmon Rushdie

This week's Friday Flashback (hosted by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies) is one of my all-time favourite past Booker winners (1981).

It was my first attempt to read anything by Salmon Rushdie.

It was also one of those books that evoked a sense of place so strongly that I still feel myself back there simply by talking about it.
But by back there, I don't just mean India.

I mean Perth, Margaret River and Denmark in southern WA!

Midnight's Children was the book I took on my 2 week holiday to Perth in 1999. I was visiting a dear school friend and her family at the time. I was able to use her home as a base from which I went on a few day trips and extended excursions.

For me, Midnight's Children became this strange parallel universe that I travelled through in my mind even as my eyes took in the incredible sights and sounds of WA for the first time.

I remember certain B&B's, cafe's, bushwalks and even a boat trip in Denmark that have become intricately enmeshed with scenes and characters from the book.

I was enthralled, mesmerised even by Rushdie's writing. I loved the mix of historical fiction and fantasy. I adored his discussion on time, history, truth & memory.

“I fell victim to the temptation of every autobiographer, to the illusion that since the past exists only in one's memories and the words which strive vainly to encapsulate them, it is possible to create past events simply by saying they occurred.” 

I made notes, jotted down quotes and my travel journal became a weird mix of travelogue and book review.

“What's real and what's true aren't necessarily the same.” 

Midnight's Children began a personal phase of reading all things India that lasted quite a few years & included lots of memorable books like A Passage to India, The God of Small Things, A Suitable Boy, Interpreter of Maladies, Fasting, Feasting & Journey to Ithaca just to name a few!

“Reality is a question of perspective; the further you get from the past, the more concrete and plausible it seems - but as you approach the present, it inevitably seems more and more incredible.” 

Midnight's Children was also the joint 1981 winner of the James Tate Black Memorial Award. 

8 comments:

  1. (boo, Blogger ate my comment xP)

    I read Midnight's Children a few years ago when I first heard that it was going to be adapted into a movie (which I still haven't watched yet, lol). I agree, Rushdie's writing is just amazing in this novel, so many wonderful quotes throughout. And the magical realism element in the story really added to the story. Great choice!

    My Friday Book Memes

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've never read any Rushdie (except for Haroun & the Sea of Stories), and I know I should! I have a friend who's been pushing me to read Midnight's Children for years. I think I've always felt a bit intimidated, but maybe I'll finally give it a try. :)

    Lisa

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wait one second . . . do you live in southern Washington? I live in southeast Washington!

    I've never read any of the Rushdie works. (They are on my reading list, but what isn't?) It will be interesting to read it someday, especially based on your review :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No I don't I live in NSW, Australia. The WA stands for Western Australia :-)

      Delete
    2. Haha, I see :) Darn.

      Delete
  4. I've never read any Rushdie, but he's definitely on the TBR! It's interesting how where and when you read certain books remains etched in our memories, often more than specifics about the book.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I think this a good idea for a challenge for myself...you´ve inspired me!

    New Challenge:`Yes, this is my first (name of author) ` I´ll concentrate on authors who I have never read.

    Rushdie has never applealed to me and there is no rational reason for this aversion. Time to take the plunge into `Rushdie-ville`!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I LOVE books like this. I read A Prayer for Owen Meany in Budapest and I can't think of one without the other.

    ReplyDelete

I love hearing from you but I understand that blogger can be a frustrating experience for many.
Make sure you're logged into your blogger account or google+ account before writing your comment, otherwise blogger will eat it. I have occasionally found lost comments by hitting the back arrow button.
If all else fails, you can contact me on my fb page or twitter.
Thanks for stopping by.