I’ll come out and say it: I love postcolonial literature. I can’t help myself, and I love magical realism even more.
There is no author that better marries the two than Salmon Rushdie. He is the undisputed champion of magical realism, twisting and contorting your brain into shapes you never thought possible.
I’ll say this as well, I’m an unadulterated fan.
Rushdie has opened the mystical world of India up to me, and given me a love for a place I’ve never been to. His flagship work, Midnight’s Children, is in my top ten list of best books of all time (not to mention I think he is one of, if not THE, greatest living authors).
In his unique story-telling, spiral-twirling style, Rushdie conveys the independence of India from British Colonialism through the lives of the Midnight Children, magical babies born at the stroke of midnight on the day of India’s independence. The story is told through the life and eyes of changling Saleem Sinai, who spends the majority of the story literally cracking and falling apart in his curry-jar factory (that is what magical realism asks of you).
The tale interweaves magical realism with historical events, giving a new perspective on the history of India’s independence, and what it means today. It is hilarious and profound in turns, so enjoyable you won’t notice how thick it is.
Best paired with the spicy boutique red wines of Rusticus in Robertson. These wines are handcrafted, luscious and spicy, just like Midnights Children.
The latest movie version, produced in collaboration with Rushdie himself, should be hitting South African screens shortly (featuring the hot Indian guy from the New Girl, whoop whoop).