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How to follow up and not yet a review.

August 24, 2011

How do you follow up a work like Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children? It is a pretty unique reading experience and it leaves you aghast. Absolutely aghast.

I keep on thinking about what Mr. Rushdie managed to accomplish in those 550 pages that I read. And the reality is that he accomplished so much more than I can begin to comprehend. Everything seems so valid in that novel. Everything that is included tells a story and, though you don’t realize it at the time, those minor details of character and description that he puts into the first hundred pages (then again in the next hundred, and the next hundred, and the next hundred) will come back later. You don’t believe it at the time, but it happens. And rocks your mind afterwards.

Just as my experience earlier this year with magical realism did (Everything is Illuminated), I did not know what to do afterwards. I have been reading Pat Barker’s The Ghost Road, but it took me a long time to get into it. I had to reread the first thirty pages a few times because I just did not care. I had no recollection of the few events that had already taken place. My mind was still festering on the previous book. I could not move on.

And it still happens every now and then (though I must say that I am very much enjoying The Ghost Road and expect to finish it this evening – it is lying beside me at the moment just waiting to be picked up). Midnight’s Children is a startling novel, that will challenge you and everything you know about literature. I don’t know how to even begin to review it.

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