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Midnight's Children

rushdie novel hyder pakistan

a novel by Salman Rushdie, published in 1983. Like its precursor, Midnight's Children, it deals with contemporary realities in the turbulent subcontinent but is even more directly linked to documentary realism since the events it chronicles—the imprisonment and hanging of Pakistan's prime minister, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (caricatured here as Iskandar Harappa), and the takeover of power by the military—had occurred some four years before its appearance; Zia-ul-Haq (represented as Raza Hyder) was still in power, radically altering Pakistani society, and Benazir Bhutto (who appears as the Virgin Ironpants) was developing her political persona. The major figure, Omar Khayyam, is the son of three mothers, an allusion to Rushdie's three countries, India, Pakistan, and Britain; the daughter of Raza Hyder, the general who deposes Harappa, symbolizes the country's collective dementia. There are significant differences in narrative method; Rushdie here employs a shifting perspective, introducing a voice that is a metafictional echo of his own to comment on the philosophical sub-texts of the novel, a device that adds a gravity in direct contrast to the satirical levity of the novel.

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