When I saw the title of book # 94 on the list, Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie, I had mixed feelings. I had never heard of this book which made me wary, but I had certainly heard of its author, which gave me some encouragement. I can honestly say that this is another book that in all probability I would not have read were it not for this list and yet I am so glad I am reading.
This novel tells many stories but is about India in the time when it was gaining it's independence from Britain. The children born at the hour when the country became it's own again were called Midnight's Children.
Salman Rushdie writes, at least in this novel, in a way which I have never read before or at least to this extent. He writes as a masterful artist weaving a tapestry from seemingly unrelated threads. He is constantly introducing new characters that have these little idiosyncrasies and it seems like they have no place in the story, that they are just a side distraction from the plot until you realize that they are another colour to be woven in to the fabric of the story.
The author's style definitely slows down my reading on this book as it requires more thought and contemplation than books written in a more traditional way. However, though I'm only one quarter of the way through this book, I can tell you that I have no intention of stopping. I am curious to see what the finished image looks like.
Something else about this author is his ability to turn a phrase. I actually took a post it note and cut it into little strips to mark places in this book that I thought were particularly well written or thought provoking. (I can't bring myself to write in my books).
Like this philosophical quote:
"And my grandfather, lurching upright, made a resolve. Stood. Rolled cheroot. Stared across the lake. And was knocked forever into that middle place, unable to worship a God in whose existence he could not wholly disbelieve. Permanent alteration: a hole."
And this ominous one:
"Dodson mops his face; urchins scatter; the car knocks over the spittoon. A dark red fluid with clots in it like blood congeals like a red hand in the dust of the street and points accusingly at the retreating power of the Raj.
I love these quotes. They tell me this book is more than a surface read. It's not just a nice fluffy story that follows a formula from beginning to end. On the contrary, this story goes back and forth in time and slowly reveals parts of a plot as if they were visible only through a hole in a sheet, and we must put the images together in our minds.
I can't wait to see the finished picture.