Thursday, September 15, 2011

Midnight's Children

My friend and I are reading this (well, she's done) as a sort of two-person long-distance book club. I can't say I'm crazy about it, but I had a moment in the breakroom at my office today where I said to myself, "wait ... I think I ... get it!"

Is that the point of reading Great Books that one only sort of enjoys? To gain some sort of enlightenment and then, if you do it enough, maybe even insight or depth of character? One can hope.

At any rate, it's like this: the main character of this book was born at the exact moment India achieved independance from Great Britan. He and the other midnight's children all have special powers, and a special ability to communicate with each other; they have a special connection to India itself. There's a whole unreliable narrator dynamic, like is the main character making up this whole crazy life he's led where he was present for various important moments in the history of India and Pakistan and could communicate telepathically and so forth. There is also another midnight's child whose life is specifically parallel to his, and this is all set against a backdrop of repeated revolutions and civil wars, so that the reader is always able to observe what could have been if fate had twisted just a little bit differently.

To me, the larger point is this: all of our lives have epic qualities. Look at who you are, where you came from, how things have changed, and how differently it all could have turned out. In a way, we're all midnight's children. Metaphorically speaking of course.

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