Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Midnight's Children - post VII

It might sound like an odd thing to say but there is a moment when you cannot help thinking of Anthony Powell and his Dance to the Music of Time. The echoes are the idea of bombs falling and with deadly accuracy wiping out some characters from the cast.

In this case the Indo-Pakistan war is the conflict and the bombs kill Saleem’s parents, aunt and via a silver spittoon that literally brains him changes his life.

Things need to be changed as he father has a stoke, mother starts to see things rather than cope with the reality of being pregnant again and after making a sexual advance to his sister Saleem is isolated even more.

Having been dragged to the doctor’s to have his sinuses unblocked he loses the telepathic ability he has cherished but instead gets a hyper sensitive sense of smell that in its own way has a power. The question is whether or not he intends spending long using that power as a human sniffer dog sniffing out insurgents on the border.

The story, now in book three, changes and goes through stages and with the action moving from India to Pakistan there is definitely an increased military feel to the atmosphere with generals and coups part of the political landscape. But there is also an unreality to it and Rushdie describes the confusion of war with the propaganda of both sides making it almost impossible to know what battles have been fought and won and lost.

More tomorrow…

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