As a reminder, the Divine Comedy of Errors book club selected Midnight’s Children, by Salman Rushdie, and participants were supposed to finish Book One by today. So, how many of you made it through all of Book One? I’m guessing very few, so I’ll avoid spoilers for those of you who are a little behind, and make the next assignment a short one in order to give everyone time to catch up. So far, I am enjoying the book, but it is definitely not a quick read. The story feels like the author squeezed as many characters, events, and descriptions as possible into the pages. The language can be difficult at times- I was going to look up all unfamiliar words and keep a list of their definitions, but between Indian terms like Begum (a Muslim woman of rank, roughly equivalent to saying Ma’am, which I just realized must be short for Madame THIS VERY SECOND. Did everyone else already know this?) and English words whose meanings I can grasp even without knowing the exact definition (for example, tussock: n. a tuft or clump of growing grass or the like.), the list would have been endless, so I chose to sacrifice assiduity for progress. Anyways, here are some thoughts so far:
1. I had never read anything by Rushdie before, so I had no idea what to expect. I am amazed how much the writing style reminds me of South American writers Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Isabel Allende. Mystic realism all over the place!
2. I love some of the images- Aadam Aziz falling in love via glimpses through a hole in a sheet, Lifafa Das trying to fit the whole world into his peepshow box, etc.
3. Many of my favorite novels are lengthy epics that trace the history of a family over a period of many years (examples: Middlesex, the Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay). Midnight’s Children shares this format.
4. I like it when the narrator interrupts the story to chat with Padma and whatnot. It feels like the reader is getting a little break.
5. I wonder if Nadir Khan will reappear. I’m guessing yes.
6. What is the deal with Joseph D’Costa and Mary Pereira? I think they’re Indians with white people names (Christian converts?), but I can’t really figure them out. Apparently, Mary becomes the narrator’s nanny, so that explains why they are in the story.
Next assignment: By next Tuesday, read up until the start of the chapter entitled Love In Bombay. In my version, that's page 205.