One of the most controversial and infamous books of modern times
Sir Salman Rushdie has received many awards for his writing, including the European Union's Aristeion Prize for Literature. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. In 1993 Midnight's Children was judged to be the 'Booker of Bookers', the best novel to have won the Booker Prize in its first 25 years. In June 2007 he received a knighthood in the Queen's Birthday Honours.
When a terrorist's bomb destroys a jumbo jet high above the English Channel, two passengers fall safely to earth: Gibreel, an Indian movie actor, and Saladin, star of the controversial British television program, The Alien Show . The near-death experience changes them into living symbols of good and evilSaladin grows horns, Gibreel a halo. From this fantastic premise Rushdie spins a huge collection of loosely related subplots that combine mythology, folklore, and TV trivia in a tour de force of magic realism that investigates the postmodern immigrant experience. (Why does an Indian expatriate feel homesick watching reruns of Dallas ?) Like Rushdie's award-winning novel Midnight's Children ( LJ 2/15/81), this invites comparison with the miracle-laden narratives of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Highly recommended. Edward B. St. John, Loyola Law Sch. Lib., Los Angeles
Banned in India before publication, this immense novel by Booker Prize-winner Rushdie ( Midnight's Children ) pits Good against Evil in a whimsical and fantastic tale. Two actors from India, ``prancing'' Gibreel Farishta and ``buttony, pursed'' Saladin Chamcha, are flying across the English Channel when the first of many implausible events occurs: the jet explodes. As the two men plummet to the earth, ``like titbits of tobacco from a broken old cigar,'' they argue, sing and are transformed. When they are found on an English beach, the only survivors of the blast, Gibreel has sprouted a halo while Saladin has developed hooves, hairy legs and the beginnings of what seem like horns. What follows is a series of allegorical tales that challenges assumptions about both human and divine nature. Rushdie's fanciful language is as concentrated and overwhelming as a paisley pattern. Angels are demonic and demons are angelic as we are propelled through one illuminating episode after another. The narrative is somewhat burdened by self-consciousness that borders on preciosity, but for Rushdie fans this is a splendid feast. 50,000 first printing; $50,000 ad/promo; first serial to Harper's; BOMC alternate; QPBC alternate; author tour. (Feb.)
"'A staggering achievement, brilliantly enjoyable' Nadine Gordimer" "'A masterpiece' Sunday Times" "'A novel of metamorphosis, hauntings, memories, hallucinations, revelations, advertising jingles and jokes. Rushdie has the power of description, and we succumb' The Times" "'Damnably entertaining and fiendishly ingenious. One of the very few current writers whose works are attempts at the great Bible, "the bright book of life" ' London Review of Books" "A great novelist, a master of perpetual storytelling." V S Pritchett