"Midnight's Children" was published more than 30 years ago, and it made Salman Rushdie a literary star. The novel won the Booker Prize, beating out such books as Muriel Spark's "Loitering With Intent," Doris Lessing's "The Sirian Experiments" and "The Comfort of Strangers" by Ian McEwan.
Rushdie would be propelled much further into the public consciousness two books later, after the publication of "The Satanic Verses." Iranian cleric Ayatollah Khomeini declared a fatwa in 1989 seeking the assassination of Rushdie as punishment for the book's ostensible blasphemies. The author was forced into hiding.
Rushdie chronicles that period in his new memoir "Joseph Anton," an unexpected combination of mortal fear and chatty socializing. "People think, 'How odd it is that he goes out,'" Rushdie told The Times' Hector Tobar. "Because for a long time they had this image of me as sealed away from life."
Apart from the the troubles around his later work, the novel "Midnight's Children" remained popular with British readers. It was named the "Booker of Bookers" in 1993, on the occasion of the prize's 25th anniversary.
"Midnight's Children" is a magically inflected tale of children born at the hour of India's independence from England in 1947, which also marked the partition of India and Pakistan.