Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, seems to be Booker’s favorite, having won the recent Best of Booker Award. But a little deeper insight provides a different perspective. The impact of colonial era, especially in the commonwealth countries had enormous effect on literature, leading it’s way to post colonial literature. But has post colonial writing overcome the trauma of colonialism ? The answer seems to be no in a vague manner; merely writing in English does not suggest so; rather issues creeping up in such writings is what is more interesting and noteworthy and without doubt it is all anti-colonialism: the effects of it. The West plays its cards and make post colonial studies and texts more revolutionary (through prizes like this), though in reality it’s only statement in facts, because of which deeper rich, cultural and complex indigenous writing do not get acclamation. Almost most of the recognized writers today deal with post colonialism or at least have dealt with it before:Amitav Ghosh’s The Glass Palace is a stunning example – a much better book than Midnight’s Children to me. The recent trend whether one calls it post colonial or post modern are problems of migration, at least one in ten books address this issue- In the Inheritance of Loss (Kiran Desai – Booker Prize Winner)
I do not understand why the west is so obsessed with post colonial insight, when there are so many other options available. This is another advertisement for Rushdie and Cynicism. I do not say Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children is the best though it is certainly one of the best. Part of the Booker’s decision involves popular macabre and resonance rather than the strict evaluation and analysis of the text itself and there have been enough criticism on Booker prize Committee, to give it the credibility over it’s decision. The media attention and hype drown the other good fiction into corners, read only by few. Salman Rushdie is a popular figure and constantly in news for marriages and divorce – so anything to do with him is news and I really do doubt whether people who voted for him, ever read his books. His recent The Enchantress of Florence – which is also in the Booker list for 2008 is just his another stereo typed fiction – something that I could never finish because there was nothing worthwhile there. The second part of the book was filled with only one word all over, which I do not like to mention here. I think the only element they look in non-European writers is Post colonial color or tone in the fiction coupled with their popularity.
It is better for the Booker Committee to delve deep into what are they doing to good books…