Reading and Parallelism


The parallels between them will gush toward you and you will indulge them vagariously. It will happen if in the last year, those two books were the only ones you finished. I can say that because at least that’s what happened to me.

Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children (1981) is the second novel by the author and probably his most celebrated work. Marcus Zusak’s The Book Thief (2005) is his fifth and the most notable one. Rushdie has written almost a dozen novels more after that whereas The Book Thief remains Zusak’s latest. If the similarity between the books is an indication of the similarity between their writers, a lot of great writing can be expected from Zusak.

Midnight’s is narrated by a child with the supernatural power of telepathy and extremely powerful olfactory sense. The Book Thief’s narrator IS a supernatural power - Death. The magic realism is there.

One is set up against the backdrop of India coming out of the veil of colonialism, the characters of the other live under the changing political scenario of Nazi Germany.

But the most significant resemblance is the writing style. Or rather, one aspect of the style that I noticed. Again, since it was only the second novel that I finished reading in a long time, I might be in a filter bubble. The way every major event was foreshadowed towards the ending of the previous chapter, sometimes many chapters before, was common in both of them. They aren’t even subtly put. Death of pivotal characters was shoved down the readers’ throats ever so softly. The beauty of finishing each chapter juxtaposed with knowing what horrendous event is yet to come. This is the exact opposite of how Netflix incites the urge to binge-watch a show. They rely on cliffhangers, while in these books, you know what will happen, you just want to know how.

That is what kept me going. And I’m glad that I went all the way through. On to the next one(s):