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Transient Thoughts

Monday, December 20, 2010

Midnight's Children

The last time I tried reading Midnight's Children, I could only get to a hundred pages or so. I had been reading Garcia Marquez before that - One Hundred Years of Solitude, and Love in the Time of Cholera. and I found similarities in style that made Salman Rushdie a perhaps-unintentional plagiarist in my mind. Both Rushdie and Marquez have absurd, fantastical things happening to people in their books - like someone dying by a roof collapsing on their heads, or choking on an not un-seeded orange - perhpas a magnifying-glass pointer at the magic and absurdity in everyday life. Both use a non linear narrative - often saying 'Years later so-and-so remembered' etc, or referring to the future through pre-cognitive half-hints, Rushdie more so, which makes his book of continuous suspenses created and unveiled every few pages - a bit irritating at times. Some story lines are similar too - for e.g. one sister in love with one man, and then he suddenly falls in love with another sister, and the first sister lives a life of envy, waiting for her revenge.

This time around, though I still have not absolved Rushdie of possibly-unintentional plagiarism, I am still able to continue reading Midnight's Children - ofcourse lots of things are different too, and there is a lot of substance to the plot.