©1981 Salman Rushdie; (P)2009 Recorded Books, LLC
“Extraordinary . . . one of the most important [novels] to come out of the English-speaking world in this generation.” (The New York Review of Books)
“Burgeons with life, with exuberance and fantasy . . . Rushdie is a writer of courage, impressive strength, and sheer stylistic brilliance.” (The Washington Post Book World)
“A marvelous epic . . . Rushdie’s prose snaps into playback and flash-forward . . . stopping on images, vistas, and characters of unforgettable presence. Their range is as rich as India herself.” (Newsweek)
French professor, ebook creator, and bien d'autres choses (lots of other things). Franceinfo.us. Fan of 19th-20th Cent French & European Fiction, western thought (homer to heidegger), Rushdie, Murakami....
Salman Rushdie is a writer's writer. I have been hooked on his fiction ever since I discovered Satanic Verses - All of his books are full of humour, contemporary culture and some of the best prose since James Joyce & Marcel Proust. The narration is masterful - but the language is dense and requires the reader's full attention. The narration resembles that of "I Claudius" in that it wavers between 1rst & 3rd person points of view. The history of modern india at the moment of its independence is collapsed into the life-story of the narrator, born at the stroke of midnight of independence.
In short I love this book and have thoroughly enjoyed it's narration.
Midnight's Children isn't an easy book to listen to first time around; and it certainly took me many hours of listening before getting a grip (that, too, somewhat tenuous) on the story line, which is full of twists, and exceptions, and clarifications, and which jumps back and forth in time and points of view.
Nonetheless, it is a really funny story. I must have laughed out loud at least few times. The text and the narration easily capture the irony and hypocrisy one finds in India (and Pakistan).
As to the narration, well ... I think Lyndam Gregory has put in a lot of effort to get it right. To bring the text to life. Unfortunately he didn't succeed. He simply couldn't pronounce any of the Indian names or terms properly. At times I had to refer to the text (which, thankfully, was available for download online) to understand what was being read.
I plan to listen to again.
The reader overplayed it. I think he was trying to add to the humor in the story and in so doing, killed the funny. Subtlety is a key in these performances. I wish they would have had Simon Vance do it, or Simon Prebble or .... well anyway.
The story itself is funny and touching and provocatve. Historical fiction at its best, telling the story of the times with a wide vision, and at the same time not loosing the thred of a human, personal story. And of course, there's a bit of magic, a bit of destiny... good stuff. I would download it again if they released another performance. Maybe they will get Grimus out soon? I hope.
I had this suggested to me by my Indian-American girlfriend as her favorite book, so I figured it worth a listen. It's hard to really summarize a 24 hour listen, but I found it to be quite enjoyable. At times the asides can get a bit tiresome, and I wasn't a huge fan of his decision to speak directly to the reader as his character (as the author himself, for all intents). It reminded me a bit of opera in its reiteration of important specifics, but I think this actually helped to keep the reader oriented and able to understand the massive, highly detailed story. It is certainly not a light listen in terms of attention (not a good transition from modern spy novels, for example), but due to the occasional backtracking and repetition it allows the listener's focus to be able to drift if just for 30 seconds or a minute. All said, it is quite the epic in terms of the time frame and characters covered, not withstanding the direct and/or allegorical discussions of the young modern India and Pakistan and the struggles of becoming an autonomous state after longstanding imperial rule. But Rushdie does manage to keep it interesting with clever language, wit, and charm. Overall it is certainly a commitment to even listen to this book, but if you give it your attention (and maybe wikipedia some things to help you with context both in terms of location and time!), I think you will find it an engaging, smart, and highly enjoyable piece of historical fiction.
Eclectic mixer of books of my youth and ones I always meant to read, but didn't.
?? have lost count of the numbr of times I've read this modern classic. It's hard to believe that it gets better with each read. The story is detailled, beautifully structured and timed, and has a credibility that is better than the truth. Lyndam Gregory made the experience richer for his many nuances of accent, the way he captured the characters and enlivened some of the best prose ever written. Rushdie is brilliant, of course. Not everyone could have done him, or this great piece of literature, justice. I suggest that Gregory has. Is he planning to read Satanic Verses? If he is, or has, I can't wait. Back to the store to check!
I am a latecomer to this book and about 2/3 through the audio version (the narrator is wonderful). This is a fascinating novel, with motley of very unusual characters and relationships and twists. There is so much to say about this imaginative and absorbing book. The main character drifts back and forth between his external world and what at times seems like a delusional internal life where he wields omnipotence and omniscience among the Midnight's children in contrast to a pathetic external world. I will savor the last 1/3 of the book. I am delighted with this recommendation. At times it is laugh out loud funny.
Lyndam Gregory was born to do this performance. it is truly extraordinary. He captures the essence of India, the characters, the time, the wonder and the magic of this incredible book. It was a joy to listen to each day, and I felt very sad when it was over. It was like saying goodbye to intimate friends. Congratulations to Mr. Gregory for a tour de force performance.
Listening to books is an unforgettable experience, especially the books one loves. "Midnight's Children" is one of my favorites, and continues to be in audio form as well. Lyndam Gregory does a beautiful rendition of Midnight's Children. He gives each character a unique voice that makes them come alive. As the listener, you can see the characters in your mind. Gregory has the ability to evoke the essence of each character. Most importantly, he delivers the high drama of Rushdie's book. But... the only thing that was a bit of a put-off was the pronunciations of the names of the characters. Gregory does an excellent job with various kinds of Indian accents - it is obvious that he has really worked at it. However, he is not quite able to pronounce names, i.e., the proper nouns. Every time he says "Parvati" it sounds like "poverty", and "Nizam" always comes out as "Nazim", and so on. I would still highly recommend this audio book - it is a wonderful companion on a long drive.
Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.
I wanted to like this book more than I did and ended up calling it quits about halfway through. It's not that Rushdie isn't a brilliant writer, but his generation-sweeping narrative felt like a long exercise in allegory and self-referentialness without characters or a plot that I managed to find involving.
You'll find that the usual checkmarks of "magic realism" apply here. The writing has a fanciful storybook quality, as does the plot logic. The author blends real-world history with myth and pseudo-myth. Characters have exaggerated personality and physical traits, and strange ailments, some of which seem to grant them extraordinary powers of telepathy and foresight. Don't get me wrong -- I appreciate symbolism and thematic depth, but there was a bit too much literary flash at the expense of characters or a story arc I could relate to. Maybe it's just me -- I was also left cold by Mark Helprin's much-loved Winter's Tale, for similar reasons.
Too bad, because Rushdie really can write colorful descriptive passages that sing in audiobook form, combining poetry, satire, Bollywood imagery, and bits of the real world in a rollicking series of well-crafted scenes. But it's also one of those books where the author is constantly and consciously being "clever", mainly through manipulative foreshadowing and an air of ah-but-you-don't-see-where-I'm-going-with-this. To me, that sort of thing gets annoying, as though Rushdie wants to bait critics into being impressed with his novel through structural trickery.
Still, Rushdie is quite brilliant, and for literary adventurers who appreciate dense novels and are perhaps a bit more knowledgeable about India/Pakistan/Kashmir than I am, there's a lot here. Depending on your tastes, it's certainly worth consideration. But, as generation-spanning multicultural novels go, I *liked* Zadie Smith's White Teeth and Jeffrey Eugenides' Middlesex a lot more.
I dunno... maybe I'll come back to it later.
The story reminded me of the "magic realism" of One Hundred Years of Solitude. If you enjoy that type of writing, you will enjoy this. The book takes place in India. The main character's life parallel's India's growth as an independent nation, including struggles with Pakistan. There were parts of the book that were fast-paced and extremely engaging, but I found there were also parts that my attention lagged during. I felt that was due to the book itself, not to the narrator.
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