Tag Archives: Midnight’s Children

Essay: Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children- Chutney and Pickles by Ramlal Agarwal

In this literary essay, Ramlal Agarwal takes us through Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Childrena calling it a saga set in the backdrop of Partition traversing three generations of a liberal Kashmiri Muslim family which moves from Kashmir to Amritsar, to Agra, to Delhi, to Bombay and to Karachi.

Midway through Midnight’s Children, Rushdie, in an aside, wants to know from Padma, his muse, “Can any narrative stand so much so soon?” Padma was stunned by the query but Rushdie does not wait for her answer and plunges headlong into his narrative of so much so soon. He tells multiple stories in multiple styles and walks away triumphantly with the Booker Prize and the Booker of Bookers Prize. The novel received rave reviews. Malcolm Bradbury in The Modern British Novel observes,

“In several senses Midnight’s Children marked a new narrative start. The book turns on the moment of India’s post-imperial rebirth.”

Before Rushdie, the Indian novel in English was hamstrung by the hangover of colonial conscience. But, by the 1960s the colonial clouds cleared and a band of new writers emerged who had acquired extraordinary competence in the use of English language and the confidence to be independent. Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children set the trend. 

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You thought it was over? The Rushdie story is not over yet!

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Cover illustration for the London edition of Miguel Cervantes Don Quixote

In 1981, Salman Rushdie’s second novel, Midnight’s Children, with its focus on Partition won a Booker Prize. And now, more than four decades later, his new novel Quichotte, due for release this September, has been longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2019. But this time, his book is a take-off on Don Quixote, immortalised by sixteenth century Spanish writer Miguel Cervantes and often labelled as “the first modern novel”.

Midnight’s Children was given not just a Booker Prize but also a “Booker of the Bookers” Prize (1993) with its story set around the Partition of India and steeped in magical realism. His fourth book Satanic Verses (1988) was  a finalist for the Booker Prize. However, a  ‘fatwa’ was issued against his book calling for Salman Rushdie’s death by no less than Ayatollah Khomeini  one year after it was published. India had banned the book as “hate speech” against a particular religious group. Read more

Salman Rushdie: ‘I couldn’t finish Middlemarch. I know, I know. I’ll try again’

The author on meeting Pynchon, why Kafka is unbeatable – and the trouble with Trollope

The book I am currently reading
I recently visited the old mansion where Thomas Mann’s Buddenbrooks was set, that great house with the words “Dominus providebit” inscribed over the front door, and was immediately inspired to download the novel on to my iPad and plunge in. The pleasure of re-reading Buddenbrooks was so deep that I resolved to embark on a year of re-readings, which is why I now find myself about halfway through the first book of Don Quixote, in the terrific Edith Grossman translation. This is proving to be a more complicated encounter. On the one hand, the characters of Quixote and Sancho Panza are as beautifully realised as I remember them, and the idea of a man determinedly seeing the world according to his own vision, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, feels strikingly contemporary. On the other hand, how many more times are the Knight of the Dolorous Countenance and Sancho going to get beaten up and left in pain in various roadside ditches? The “greatest novel ever written” – I voted for it myself once – turns out to be just a little bit repetitive. To make the reading easier, I’m breaking it up and reading other books by other authors after every couple of hundred pages of Cervantes. At present, that interposed book is David Grossman’s wonderful A Horse Walks into a Bar.

The book that changed my life
Truthfully, the books that changed my life were books I wrote myself, not books I read. When Midnight’s Children was published in 1981 I was hoping that a few people who were not friends or relations of mine might read and like it. I was completely unprepared for what happened. It gave me the life I had always wanted, a writer’s life, and for most of the 1980s I lived that life with real gratitude and happiness. Then in 1988 another book changed my life in another way. But in spite of everything that followed the publication of The Satanic VersesI remain proud of it. And strangely I’m grateful for it, too. Its troubled pathway has taught me a lot about how to live, and what to live for.

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Major new novel from Salman Rushdie to be published this year

Salman_RushdiePenguin Random House India to publish a new novel by Salman Rushdie, The Golden House, in September 2017

Simultaneous publication: Penguin Random House India, Random House US, Jonathan Cape UK, and Penguin Random House Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.

Forthcoming from Salman Rushdie is a breathtaking new novel on a sprawling canvas. A modern-day thriller, it follows a mysteriously wealthy family from Bombay that is desperately seeking to forget the tragedy they left behind as they feverishly reinvent themselves in New York City. Copiously detailed, sumptuously inventive, brimming with all the razzle-dazzle that imbues his fiction with the lush ambience of a fable, The Golden House is about where we were before 26/11, where we are today and how we got here. Here is a book that asks us – in a post-truth world – if facts and authenticity are necessarily the same thing, while never ceasing to be both resonant and entertaining.

Meru Gokhale, Editor-in-Chief, Literary Publishing, at Penguin Random House India, who acquired Indian subcontinent rights from The Wylie Agency says, “This is Salman Rushdie at his finest. The Golden House is a masterclass on the confusing world we have brought upon ourselves. The book dissects the cultural and political vacuum in which a generation – whose frame of reference for globalization has increasingly been coloured by conflict – must perform an intense balancing act. It is a terrific story, told at every step of the way with originality and nimble, impeccable plotting.”

Sir Salman Rushdie is the multi-award winning author of twelve previous novels: Midnight’s Children which won the Booker Prize (1981) and the Best of the Booker Prize (2008), Grimus, Shame, The Satanic Verses, Haroun and the Sea of Stories, The Moor’s Last Sigh, The Ground Beneath Her Feet, Fury, Shalimar the Clown, Luka and the Fire of Life, The Enchantress of Florence and his recent Two Years, Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights. His memoir, Joseph Anton, published in 2012, became an acclaimed bestseller, praised as “the finest memoir […] in many a year” (The Washington Post). He has also published one collection of short stories, East, West, and three works of non-fiction: The Jaguar Smile, Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism 1981-1991 and Step Across This Line. Rushdie has also co-edited two anthologies, Mirrorwork and Best American Short Stories 2008. His books have been translated into over forty languages. He is a former president of American PEN.

Source: Penguin India

 

Prajwal Parajuly selects 10 incredible books by South Asian writers

The author of The Gurkha’s Daughter selects the following 10 books in a Huff  Post piece:

godMalgudi Days by RK Narayan

The Village by the Sea by Anita Desai

A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth

The Red Carpet by Lavanya Sankaran

Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

The Death of Vishnu by Manil Suri

Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry

In Other Rooms, Other Wonders by Daniyal Mueenuddin

The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Moshin Hamid

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Salman Rushdie: We’re all too offended now

Salman Rushdie‘Satanic Verses’ author attacks rise of religious and political tribalism that makes people define themselves by what they hate (The Independent)

The Booker Prize-winning novelist Salman Rushdie spoke out against a new “culture of offendedness” yesterday, saying that people increasingly “define ourselves by hate”.

Speaking to a sellout crowd on the opening day of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, the Midnight’s Children author said: “I do think that one of the characteristics of our age is the growth of this culture of offendedness. It has to do with the rise of identity politics, where you’re invited to define your identity quite narrowly – you know, Western, Islamic, whatever it might be.”

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Salman Rushdie Turns Screenwriter for Midnight’s Children

Salman Rushdie“One of the problems of things being long ago is that the heat goes out of them,” says Salman Rushdie, almost 25 years after Ayatollah Khomeini sentenced him to die, Rushdie is still probably the world’s most famous living writer. It’s the morning of the death of Margaret Thatcher—a political enemy of Rushdie the thirtysomething who became a guardian and defender in what he calls sweetly, several times, “the case of me.”

“She was very charismatic, and knew exactly who she was, and didn’t give a damn if you didn’t like it. I’ve never been a Conservative voter—no secret there. But when I needed it, she offered me what I needed to stay alive.” Imitating their first meeting, a few years into his hiding, he pats my arm reassuringly, turning me into him and himself into Maggie. “When you think of the Iron Lady, and then she comes on like your auntie—that was very unexpectedly tender.”

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Salman Rushdie film courts Indian controversy

The film of Salman Rushdie’s novel Midnight’s Children – a love letter to India – has failed to find a distributor in the country.

It is an epic portrayal of the country’s modern history and one of its best-known books of recent decades. But a film adaptation of Salman Rushdie‘s novel about India after independence, Midnight’s Children, has plunged the author into new controversy in his native land.

Speaking at the film’s premiere in Toronto at the weekend, director Deepa Mehta revealed that no Indian film distributor has so far bought rights to the film.

“Salman has often said that the book was his love letter to India. I think the film reflects that love. What a pity if insecure politicians deprive the people of India to make up their own minds about what the film means, or does not mean, to them,” the Hindustan Times, a leading Indian newspaper, has quoted the Indian-Canadian director as saying.

The film follows the narrative of the original novel and includes unflattering portrayals of top Indian political figures. Cinema experts in the subcontinent said the failure to find a distributor revealed a weakness in Indian democracy.

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