Dense, detailed, loud, intense and, in a way, unrelenting. The world is swirling around you and you’ve got no idea where to look but you want to look everywhere right now! I’ve never been there, but this book is what I imagine India is like. I don’t think that’s unreasonable either as Rushdie seems to be wanting to tell the story of India’s birth as a country.
This is another of those literary ‘magical realism’ novels that I find much easier to describe as fantasy. There is definitely a lot of apparent fantasy in here, but the story has much more to it than those parts.
For me, possibly the most interesting aspect was the realisation that Saleem Sinai was an unreliable narrator. This was just a suspicion at first, he was so desperate to defend everything as true that I started thinking he doth protest too much. And once that seed was planted it became easy to read everything too ways: all the fantasy that Saleem claimed could be explained entirely prosaically.
So I read the book with two interpretations. I don’t know which is true, but I do know that for all his transparency Saleem is one of the more intensely realised and interesting characters in fiction.