Can Rushdie write? Yes, he prose is beautiful, if too baroque at times for me. I read this over a decade ago, and there are scenes I can still remember clearly.
Can he craft a compelling story? Yes, as this story of the transformation of India, and those who lived there, as it moved from colony to nation state makes clear he can carve a complex story down into the parts that matter most.
How about his characters? Are they well drawn? Undoubtedly. Saleem, the center of the story, and a child born at midnight on the day India received its independence, is superbly rendered. I remember things about him to this day. His family and the others who populate this book of how one struggles and grows in a world of tumultuous change are also vivid.
So why didn’t I like it as much as I thought I would? Perhaps expectations were too high; perhaps I was expecting too much. Perhaps it was the tinges of magical realism that didn’t sit well with me. Perhaps it was something else. Undoubtedly, this is a brilliant book, but perhaps not a book for me. An important book, and a book well worth reading, but one that left me emotionally underwhelmed. Either way, in the end, I was left feeling like I’d read a book that I both admired and did not particularly enjoy. imagine your experience might be different.
Recommended for the enthusiast.