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Kidsmum

Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie

Midnight's Children  

4 members have voted

  1. 1. What did you think of the book?

    • 5/5 Loved it, couldn't put it down
      2
    • 4/5 i really enjoyed it
      1
    • 3/5 I enjoyed most of it
      1
    • 2/5 It was okay but don't understand the fuss
      0
    • 1/5 I hated it & struggled to finish it
      0


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Welcome to the June 2014 Reading Circle for Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie.

 

It is assumed that you have read the book before reading posts in this thread,as the discussion might give away crucial points, & the continuous use of spoiler tags will hinder the fluent reading of the posts.

 

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Synopsis

Saleem Sinai was born at midnight, the midnight of India's independence, and found himself mysteriously 'handcuffed to history' by the coincidence. He is one of 1,001 children born at the midnight hour, each of them endowed with an extraordinary talent - and whose privilege and curse it is to be both master and victims of their times. Through Saleem's gifts - inner ear and wildly sensitive sense of smell - we are drawn into a fascinating family saga set against the vast, colourful background of the India of the 20th century.

 

Questions for Discussion (Please feel free to answer whichever questions you want)

 

 

1. Did you like the book?   What was it that you enjoyed?  If you didn't like the book, what were your reasons for disliking it?

 

2. Did you have any expectations about the book before you started reading it, and if so, were they correct?

 

3. Who was your favourite character...?

 

4. ...and your least favourite?

 

5. Was there a particular part you enjoyed more than the rest?

 

6. Was this the first book you've read in this genre / by this author, has it encouraged you to read more?

 

7. Were there any parts/ideas you struggled with?

 

8. Overall, was reading the book an enjoyable experience?

 

9. Would you recommend the book and if so to whom?

 

10. If you were born at the stroke of midnight on the independence of your country what supernatural power would you like to be granted?

 

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1. Did you like the book?   What was it that you enjoyed?  If you didn't like the book, what were your reasons for disliking it?

I did enjoy the book, it has been on my my TBR pile for years & although i did want to read it i kept putting it off as i was a little daunted by it. I enjoyed the mystical quality to the story as it fits in with how i think of India as being a very spiritual country. It felt to me like i was reading an eastern fairytale.

2. Did you have any expectations about the book before you started reading it, and if so, were they correct?

As i've said i was worried that the book would be hard work & perhaps difficult to understand & although i know i didn't get it all, my knowledge of India & partition only being what i've gleaned from other books i've read set in India, I think you'd have to study it at college or university to understand everything, but i loved Rushdie's writing style & i enjoyed Saleem's narration.

3. Who was your favourite character...?

I had a few favourite  characters, Saleem Sinai i enjoyed his telling of his families history & his meandering style, Tai the boatman he reminded me of the Fool in King Lear as his supposed madness was only a pretence. Nadir Khan the poet i liked the way he kept popping up in the story but my absolute favourite was Evie Burns, Saleem's friend & his first crush. She was just such a fun character with her tomboyish ways & the power she wielded over the other children. To me she came across as a kind of PIppi Long-stocking character.

4. ...and your least favourite?

I didn't have any characters that i particularly disliked although i did find Naseem, Aadam Aziz's wife annoying the way she went on hunger strike to get her own way.

 

5. Was there a particular part you enjoyed more than the rest?

I loved the part where Saleem is pushed down the hill on his bike into the language marches & he unintentionally gives the marchers there chant by reciting a piece of Gujarati he knows. Also the relationship between Mumtaz & Nadir Khan, how even though they are married they never become intimate but instead mimic the reserve of the characters in the movies by each kissing either side of an apple to express their love.

6. Was this the first book you've read in this genre / by this author, has it encouraged you to read more?

This is my first book by Salman Rushdie & i although i've read a few books set in India & have numerous still to read on my TBR pile i was trying to think if there were any others similar to this & the only one that i could think of was Sexing The Cherry by Jeanette Winterson which also has the same fairytale quality to the writing.

7. Were there any parts/ideas you struggled with?

I really enjoyed the first 2 books but by the time i'd got to book 3 i was starting to feel a bit weary of the story & i found the last 100 pages or so a real struggle. The part set in the jungle was just too weird & i found it hard to concentrate after that so for that reason i was torn between giving it a 3 or 4 but went with a 3 in the end.

 

8. Overall, was reading the book an enjoyable experience?

Yes overall i enjoyed the book & am really pleased that i've finally got round to reading it. I didn't find it an easy read just because there was so much to take in & so it took me a lot longer to read than normal but it was definitely worth it.

9. Would you recommend the book and if so to whom?

I can't imagine recommending it to a friend just because i think it's a book that you have to want to read yourself but if i knew someone who wanted to try Rushdie i would suggest Midnight's Children if that makes sense.

10. If you were born at the stroke of midnight on the independence of your country what supernatural power would you like to be granted?

I think in such a situation where lots of people would have their own agenda's i think the power of clear seeing would be useful. Being able to see into the hearts & minds of men to see what their true motives were.

 

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Oh wow, I didn't realise that Midnight's Children was the reading circle choice for June. I'll definitely be back to write in here and discuss the questions with everyone when I get chance. This is one of my favourite novels.

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Look forward to hearing your thoughts on it Ben. Did you study it as part of your university course ?

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It's taking me much longer to get through than I had expected, even though I am really enjoying it - I will be back as soon as I have finished with my comments! :-)

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It took me much longer than i thought it would as well Ooshie it's not a book you can just zip through in a week. I'm glad your enjoying it though  :D

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Unfortunately, I've had to give up on this book. I'm very close to the end (82%), but I am just struggling with it so much, and reading it in dribs and drabs and just not taking it in. I'm actually in danger of destroying my mojo for a long time - that's how much I'm not enjoying it. :o

 

 

1. Did you like the book?   What was it that you enjoyed?  If you didn't like the book, what were your reasons for disliking it?

 

No, I didn't like it. I disliked the meandering style of the story - I suppose it is the mystical elements I struggled with. I had a hard time recalling the different characters and what their storylines were. I wouldn't say I hated all of it. There were some parts that I found easier to read and grasp, but on the whole, it was a struggle. My mind kept wandering as I was reading, and I actually began to dread picking it up. I just seemed to go all over the place, rather than follow a coherent story. I know the narrator was constant, but it just felt like there was no focus to it.

 

2. Did you have any expectations about the book before you started reading it, and if so, were they correct?

 

My only expectations were that I was fairly certain that I would enjoy it, and certainly that I would be able to finish it. Clearly my expectations were wrong. :negative:  Just before I bought it, I read some of the Amazon reviews, and I was a bit worried as so many people struggled with the flow, but I still figured I would give it a go.

 

3. Who was your favourite character...?

 

I didn't really like any of them. They all seemed quite petulant and stroppy, and that really annoys me.

 

4. ...and your least favourite?

 

I'd probably say I disliked them all equally. To me, they just weren't memorable, and they had very childish and bratty characteristics.

 

5. Was there a particular part you enjoyed more than the rest?

 

Aside from the first 20 pages, I enjoyed more the first part of the book. Actually the only part that really sticks out (and this is so silly), is when Mr Methwold whips his perfectly parted hair, to reveal his bald head. :giggle2:

 

 

6. Was this the first book you've read in this genre / by this author, has it encouraged you to read more?

 

Yes, first of the genre (I keep hearing it referred to as Mystical Realism) and first by the author, and it has discouraged me from reading more. One Hundred Years of Solitude will remain on my shelf unread for a while longer I think!

 

7. Were there any parts/ideas you struggled with?

 

All of it, in a nutshell. From the very start - with the lengthy introduction of Tai - I had trouble staying focused. I think it was the sheer number of characters and that for me, they were very indistinguishable. There was hardly any storyline concerning the midnight's children.....it was just Saleem's story (unless something happened at the end - I must read a synopsis online)

 

8. Overall, was reading the book an enjoyable experience?

 

Nope.

 

9. Would you recommend the book and if so to whom?

 

Although I didn't like it, I wouldn't not recommend it, as I can see why some people have enjoyed it, but it is definitely a marmite book and someone would have to try it for themselves.

 

10. If you were born at the stroke of midnight on the independence of your country what supernatural power would you like to be granted?

 

:D The power to be invisible. I could have so much fun with that. :D

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9. Would you recommend the book and if so to whom?

 

Although I didn't like it, I wouldn't not recommend it, as I can see why some people have enjoyed it, but it is definitely a marmite book and someone would have to try it for themselves.

 

10. If you were born at the stroke of midnight on the independence of your country what supernatural power would you like to be granted?

 

:D The power to be invisible. I could have so much fun with that. :D

 

 

Agreed it is definitely a marmite book & i would also worry about recommending it to other people 

 

Being invisible would be a super power that you could have lots of fun with  :smile:

 

thank you for taking the time to read it Bobbly even if you didn't enjoy it :friends3:

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I'm glad I gave it a go, as it's one of those books I've always wondered about. Shame I didn't enjoy it, but nevermind. :smile:

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Kidsmum, I am still reading and still hoping to finish the book!  Although I am about 80% through, like bobblybear got to, and could give up on it without feeling sad.  It's not that I don't like the book or don't enjoy it, and it's not destroying my mojo (so far...), but I don't find myself looking forward to getting back to it, or looking forward to finding out what happens next, and can only seem to read about 10 pages a day so it is just taking forever!

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Ooshie, I ended up reading a synopsis online for the remaining 20%. Put it this way.....I think I made the right decision in giving up. :D

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Ha, I might well end up doing that too, bobblybear!   I actually think that the mistake I made was in not starting sooner - usually I'm such a quick reader it never occurred to me I might have trouble getting through it.  If I was just able to read my ten pages a day and not starting to feel stressed about finishing it and posting my thoughts I could probably just have taken a couple of months over it (yeah, ok, maybe more, I am still reading a couple of pages a month of Ghormenghast :-D) and not been so bothered by it!

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Kidsmum, I am still reading and still hoping to finish the book!  Although I am about 80% through, like bobblybear got to, and could give up on it without feeling sad.  It's not that I don't like the book or don't enjoy it, and it's not destroying my mojo (so far...), but I don't find myself looking forward to getting back to it, or looking forward to finding out what happens next, and can only seem to read about 10 pages a day so it is just taking forever!

Ooshie, i think we all struggled with the end of the book. For me, although i enjoyed the book it was a bit like rich food, after consuming two thirds of it i felt i'd had enough  :D Having said that i did feel a great sense of achievement when i got to the end so i hope that encourages you  :smile:

 

Ooshie, I ended up reading a synopsis online for the remaining 20%. Put it this way.....I think I made the right decision in giving up. :D

 

Haha i didn't think of doing that  :giggle2:

 

Ha, I might well end up doing that too, bobblybear!   I actually think that the mistake I made was in not starting sooner - usually I'm such a quick reader it never occurred to me I might have trouble getting through it.  If I was just able to read my ten pages a day and not starting to feel stressed about finishing it and posting my thoughts I could probably just have taken a couple of months over it (yeah, ok, maybe more, I am still reading a couple of pages a month of Ghormenghast :-D) and not been so bothered by it!

 

I loved Gormenghast, are you reading the first one or the whole trilogy? I really enjoyed the first two books but i couldn't finish the last one it was so awful  :o

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Kidsmum, on 27 Jun 2014 - 09:48 AM, said:

Ooshie, i think we all struggled with the end of the book. For me, although i enjoyed the book it was a bit like rich food, after consuming two thirds of it i felt i'd had enough  :D Having said that i did feel a great sense of achievement when i got to the end so i hope that encourages you  :smile:

 

Haha i didn't think of doing that  :giggle2:

 

I loved Gormenghast, are you reading the first one or the whole trilogy? I really enjoyed the first two books but i couldn't finish the last one it was so awful  :o

I think I have got my second wind now, and just have 70 pages still to read, so I'm definitely aiming to finish it (although maybe a few days into next month)! 

 

It's the first book I'm still kind of reading, Titus Groan; again, I don't dislike the book at all but keep being led astray by quick easy stories (Hunger Games, anyone? :-) ) that I really enjoy and can't wait to get back to...   I do have the other two of the Ghormenghast trilogy on my shelf, but goodness knows when I will get to them!

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1. Did you like the book?   What was it that you enjoyed?  If you didn't like the book, what were your reasons for disliking it?

 

Although it took me a very long time to finish, I did enjoy the book overall; I liked the poetic feel of the use of language.

 

2. Did you have any expectations about the book before you started reading it, and if so, were they correct?

 

I expected it to be quite a difficult read, but I found it more engaging than I had expected.

 

3. Who was your favourite character...?

 

Hm, overall I found them a pretty unlikeable bunch and I didn't feel particularly engaged by any of them, but my favourite was probably Padma; despite her outburts she stuck around to listen to Saleem - I'm not sure that I would have!

 

4. ...and your least favourite?

 

There wasn't any character who stood as being

 

5. Was there a particular part you enjoyed more than the rest?

 

My favourite part of the whole book was when Saleem had a fever at the beginning of the chapter 'At the Pioneer Cafe', from "No colours except green and black the walls are green the sky is black..." to "...I am rolling into little balls the balls are green and out into the night the night is black..."  I just loved the rhythm of the words.

 

6. Was this the first book you've read in this genre / by this author, has it encouraged you to read more?

 

It was the first book I have read by Salman Rushie; I have had The Gound Beneath Her Feet on my shelf to read for over 10 years now and while I still think I will read it, I won't be rushing to do so.

 

7. Were there any parts/ideas you struggled with?

 

The whole business about the nose and knees, and the snot.  I found those references, sprinkled throughout the whole book, very irritating indeed.  And the part where Saleem was in the jungle with Ayooba, Shaheed and Farooq nearly made me give up the book completely; I don't know just why I disliked that part so much, and I can't bear to go back and look again to try and work it out!

 

8. Overall, was reading the book an enjoyable experience?

 

Despite the length of time it took me to get through the book, as I could only read 10 or so pages at a time, I did find it an enjoyable experience overall.  I wouldn't rule out the possibility that I might read it again one day, either!

 

9. Would you recommend the book and if so to whom?

 

I wouldn't go out of my way to recommend it to anyone, but if I heard someone was planning to read it I would let them know that I had found it worth persevering with and did enjoy it. 

 

10. If you were born at the stroke of midnight on the independence of your country what supernatural power would you like to be granted?

 

Given that the referendum on Scottish Independence is coming up later this year, this is quite an appropriate question!  I think I would choose the power to seamlessly relocate elsewhere...

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