British-Indian author Sir Salman Rushdie is known for his magical-realist style. In the first few pages of his breakthrough Booker Prize-winning 1981 novel, Midnight's Children, Rushdie paints a picture of the protagonist's grandfather:
"One Kashmiri morning in the early spring of 1915, my grandfather Aadam Aziz hit his nose against a frost-hardened tussock of earth while attempting to pray. Three drops of blood plopped out of his left nostril, hardened instantly in the brittle air and lay before his eyes on the prayer-mat, transformed into rubies."
This perplexing event causes Aadam to vow to never again "kiss earth for any god or man," which opens a hole inside of him, leaving him "vulnerable to women and history."
This blend of rich language and vivid description with a touch of magic is reminiscent of Spanish author Gabriel Garcia Marquez's style, though Rushdie tackles uniquely different themes in his work.
A movie adaptation of Midnight's Children is going into production in September 2010 with Rushdie collaborating on the screenplay and Deepa Mehta directing.
You can hear Rushdie speak on Midnight's Children as well as his other highly contentious 1988 novel, The Satanic Verses--which caused Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to declare a fatwa calling for Rushdie's execution--on Friday, Sept. 10, at 6 p.m. at the Sun Valley Pavilion. This lecture was originally slated to occur in February as a part of the Sun Valley Center for the Arts' recent exhibition "Outside In: Indian Art Abroad," but was rescheduled.
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