Today really marks the end of the read-along of Midnight’s Children. If you have been following my blog, you would notice my post of November27, 2010. The headline read: A Third World War Against Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children. I am indeed happy that the war is finally over and I must confess that had it not for this read-along, the book would have been lying on my shelf for ages.
Thank God I found the clue to unlocking the door to the book. I had often thought of this book as a difficult one considering the fact that I have been reading it, unsuccessfully, for two conservative times.My greatest thanks goes to Jovenus and her colleagues for organizing this read-along.
Today, I will attempt to add my voice to the discussions that took place earlier on from the start of the read-along. That said, I will be making an in-depth review of the book later on. But in the meantime, here is my voice to the first round of discussions for week one:
1. Saleem describes himself as ‘handcuffed to history’. What do you think that this means, and do you think that this is true of him?
I may want to agree with Saleem’s pronouncement as in Book One I notice a detailed account of his grandfather up until his personal account. Once reading about some of the scenes and events about his ancestry, I began to wonder whether Saleem was born before them – but that- I choose to decline.
The fact is that, the narration right from his grandfather are linked up to the essence he came to being and thereafter. The issue is that Saleem and even you and I were all born into a specific family as well as a particular country. We came to inherit the events which had already taken place and it is this events I call ‘History.’ Once you are brought to life, just like Saleem, you partake in the history that has already been made or created.
And so before India gained Independence, there might have already been an existent factor of a series of events called history that must have taken place, in times past.
2. The prose of Midnight’s Children has a distinctly filmic quality. Why do you think this is, and what would be the implications of making a film of the novel?
On the lighter note, I think it is possible. But that said, I sincerely believe that it would be a huge task to transform or capture the entire book with its details of dates and events into a film. My thinking is that the story could be distorted along the way through motion pictures.
3. Unlike many novels, Midnight’s Children is not written using a linear narrative. Why do you think that Rushdie uses this technique, and do you think that it is successful?
This question, I think, demands a straight answer. The story has a good depth of historical events and it is being linked with the present age. It would have been so boring narrating these historical events linearly. I certainly think the style in which it was written was successful considering the fact that many characters and events come into play. I listened to an interview by Rushdie in which he said it took him about five years in writing the entire story. Considering the fact that he would be writing on and off within this said time could in itself distract the form of the story.
4. How much of the novel, do you think, is autobiographical?
I honestly think that it would take a good writer who knows about the in and out of his family very well to be able to pen down detail information about his family – In the case of Saleem, detailed descriptions about his grandfather is a good example. Again, I have read interviews where Rushdie said that the grandparents in his novels are often a true reflection of his real grandparents. (Paraphrased).
As I have already said, I will come up with a detail review for all my readers. Once again, thanks to Jovenus and her colleagues for organizing this read-along. Had it not been for them, I wouldn’t have been able to penetrate this book. I really did enjoy the book and felt the craftsmanship of Rushdie from the latter pages of Book One onwards. Rushdie is indeed smart and intelligent writer. And I will encourage all and sundry who have this book on their To-Be-Read-Lists to just try and persevere the first few 100 pages of the book.