Why this book?
I left India for grad school in the U.S. at age 21 and a friend gave me this novel two weeks before I left the city. Reading it made me want to never leave because Rushdie took the dusty, dirty, chaotic city of my birth and gave it a new shine in his mad carnival of a novel. I was a product of an Anglophile education—this was the first time I could recognize the names of the streets he wrote about. Rushdie employs elements of magical realism and the Hinglish vernacular to paint a vivid picture of India from the heady promise of Independence to the dark days of the authoritarian Emergency in the 1970s. The result is a masterpiece that will be read as long as books are being read.