(c) 2005-2007 Oliver Bonten
Salman Rushdie is a Muslim Indian writer who became famous mostly through his heretic "Satanic Verses". "Midnight's Children" is reportedly a much better book (I've never read the Satanic Verses, but, apart from being heretic, they are said to be rather mediocre).
The book's hero, Saleem, is born midnight on August 15, 1947, in the very second India gained her independence, into a wealthy Muslim merchant family. That is, he is physically the child of a Hindu servant, but a misguided Christian nurse swaps the children of the merchant and the servant at birth. The two are telepathically linked, and also linked to other children born in the same second. His other self, Shiva, the real merchant's son who was handed to the servant, will become his fiercest opponent later. And there is a girl, Parvati, who will become the lover of both of them later.
Saleems life maps much of India's history - part of his family move to Pakistan, while others stay in India and survive the occasional bout of religious persecution (which happens the other way 'round in Pakistan as well). Saleem spends some time in Pakistan with family members involved in a military uprising, then ends up as a soldier in Bangladesh, fighting against and for "East Pakistan's" independence. He ends up, emasculated by Indira Gandhi's population control campaign, in a Chutney factory.
Like in a Bollywood (or other Asian) movie, the story is not a "fantastic" story, though it has a lot of fantastic elements, like the telepathic link between the "Midnight Children". For my European eyes (and mind), it has a weird way of storytelling. So the experience is in some way on two layers: it is a story about a strange country, and told in a strange way. I found this book very interesting.
Mehr Romane, die in Indien spielen
Buch: Midnight's Children
Buch: River of Gods
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