Midnight's Children

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Midnight's Children is a 1981 book by Salman Rushdie about India's transition from British colonialism to independence. It is considered an example of postcolonial literature and magical realism. The story is expressed through various characters and is contexted by actual historical events as with historical fiction.

Midnight's Children won both the 1981 Booker Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for the same year. It was awarded the "Booker of Bookers" Prize and the best all-time prize winners in 1993 and 2008 to celebrate the Booker Prize 25th and 40th anniversary.[1][2] Midnight's Children is also the only Indian novel on Time's list of the 100 best English-language novels since its founding in 1923.[3]

Contents

Background and plot summary

Midnight's Children is a loose allegory for events in India both before and, primarily, after the independence and partition of India, which took place at midnight on 15 August 1947. The protagonist and narrator of the story is Saleem Sinai, born at the exact moment when India becomes an independent country. He has telepathic powers, as well as an enormous and constantly dripping nose. The novel is divided into three books.

Midnight's Children tells the story of the Sinai family and the earlier events leading up to India's Independence and Partition, connecting the two lines both literally and allegorically. The central protagonist, Saleem Sinai, is born at the exact moment that India becomes independent. He later discovers that all children born in India between 12 AM and 1 AM on 15 August 1947, are imbued with special powers. Saleem thus attempts to use these powers to convene the eponymous children. The convention, or Midnight Children's Conference, is in many ways reflective of the issues India faced in its early statehood concerning the cultural, linguistic, religious, and political differences faced by such a vastly diverse nation. Saleem acts as a telepathic conduit, bringing hundreds of geographically disparate children into contact while also attempting to discover the meaning of their gifts. In particular, those children born closest to the stroke of midnight wield more powerful gifts than the others. Shiva of the Knees, Saleem's evil nemesis, and Parvati, called "Parvati-the-witch," are two of these children with notable gifts and roles in Saleem's story.

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