Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
The novel opens with the narrator Saleem Sinnai describing his birth on August 15th , 1947, the precise moment when India became independent. Saleem is one of the thousand and one children born within one hour of midnight on India's independence day, the "midnight children", all of whom are endowed with special powers.
After a few paragraphs the narrative moves backward to the early 20th century in Kashmir, and introduces the narrator's grandfather, Doctor Aadam Aziz . Aadam is a Muslim who has attended University in Germany. Aadam and Naseem, his wife, have five children. One of the daughters , Mumtaz, falls in love with a politically committed young man, Nadir, who supports the cause of the Muslim and must live in hiding in the Doctor's cellar.
The two get married, but when Nadir is compelled to escape he divorces Mumtaz, who changes her name to Amina and marries the Muslim merchant Ahmed Sinai. She will give birth to a child on the stroke of midnight, at very beginning of this momentuous day for India; at exactly the same moment poor woman, Vanita, gives birth to a child , and Mary Pereira , a hospital nurse , switches the two babies condemning the son of the merchant to a life of poverty and the son of poor parents to a life of comfort.
Saleem, ho it is thought is Amina and Ahmed's son, is a very big child and has a hunge nose; he soon becomes aware that he has the ability to listen to the thoughts of people, and thanks to this power he discovers that he is not the son of Ahmed and Amina Sinai, but the result of an affair between a poor Indian woman and an Englishman. He also manages to establish contact with the other "midnight children", and forms the Midnight Children's Conference. Later his family emigrates to Pakistan. During the war between India and Pakistan Saleem's parents are killed by a bomb which causes him to lose his memory. He joins the Pakistan army, while Shiva - the "midnight child" who was exchanged with him - fights alongside the Indians and makes a reputation as a great hero. A bite from a poisonous snake makes Saleem recover his memory. He goes back to India and in Delhi, in a slum known as the magicians' ghetto, he meets another "midnight child" , Parvati the witch, who falls in love with him. They get married, but Saleem discovers that she is already pregnant, and
the child who is born has enormous ears - like th elephant -god - and is Shiva's and not his own.
Shiva destroys the magicians' ghetto and Parvati, the witch, is killed in the attack. On New Year's Day, 1977, Saleem is made sterile after a vasectomy: such operations are systematically performed on the living "midnight children" in order to prevent them from reproducing. Saleem finally becomes the manager of a pickle factory, and now tells his story.