Rushdie’s Burden

Salman Rushdie reflects on the enduring fascination for Midnight’s Children among a generation that has grown up after the book was published. Garcia Marquez it was, who once mentioned that one writes only one book in one’s life. Rushdie may be attempting far more than what is possible.

My real focus is to write books that endure. “Midnight’s Children” will be twenty-five years old in April, and the thing that I take immense pride in is that the book is still alive. It’s still relevant to people, to a generation that was not born when it was published. They find it, pick it up, respond to it. That’s the first hurdle — to cross one generation. By the time you cross four or five generations, then you know that the book is going to stick around. Unfortunately, I won’t be around to see that. But at least I saw it cross the first hurdle. For me, the game is a long one. How do you write something that will still be interesting and meaningful and valuable to people a hundred years from now? That’s the game I’m in.

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