Friday, August 29, 2008

Midnight's Children

Blogging once a week is enough for me, I've decided. I've been incredibly listless lately and have deleted one entry after another (this one should be deleted, but I'll leave it here). Before I talk about Rushdie, I want to speak about how much I envy those who can blog every day, amusingly and well. Some bloggers are so witty and perspicacious that I've bought as many books from them (essentially) as I have from bookstores. After reading blogs like, say, dovegreyreaderscribbles, I often thrill to the siren of a good book. I love having a journal of my reading, but it IS easier to list books in a journal (any notebook will do, though I have a Moleskine, as do many of us online ). Scribbling: that’s the underground, pre-blog way to list books

I'm more than halfway through Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children,, as two of his books were given to me for my birthday and I've chosen to start with this one (winner, 1981, Booker Prize). I only wonder why it’s taken me so long to discover Rushdie This particular incident will perhaps sound silly, but a pompous bookstore owner DID try to prevent me from buying it in the '80s. Sitting behind the counter giving hostile looks to the customers, he said, “Midnight’s Children will mean nothing to you; it means something to me.”

Well, okay. He allowed me to buy Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping. But I should have bought Midnight’s Children from a more stable bookseller: independent bookstores in those days had no competition and were occasionally owned by demented entrepreneurs. I miss the best one, but it's impossible to pretend they were all "cozy" or inspiring or whatever the myth is. I'm sure there are cantankerous booksellers everywhere: in B&N and Borders, too.

Midnight’s Children is part fairy tale, part David Copperfield ("I was born in the city Bombay...once upon a time...”), the story of midnight-born children on August 15, 1947, the moment of India’s independence. Narrated by Saleem Sinai, a midnight child, the novel brilliantly interweaves the present with the past, depicting the partly-mythological adventures of a family, and on another level, an allegory of the post-Indian political happenings.

1 comment:

Ellen said...

I began _Midnight's Children_ once and didn't get very far on it. I was reading it at night. I still have my copy. I do enjoy Rushdie's journalism when I've come across it.

I'm glad to see you blogging again. It is a burden to blog regularly.

I get mine from postings I rewrite or records of trips and sometimes diary entries.