In a tour-de-force that is both an homage to an immortal work of literature and a modern masterpiece about the quest for love and family, Booker Prize-winning, internationally bestselling author Salman Rushdie has created a dazzling Don Quixote for the modern age.
Inspired by the Cervantes classic, Sam DuChamp, mediocre writer of spy thrillers, creates Quichotte, a courtly, addled salesman obsessed with television, who falls in impossible love with a TV star. Together with his (imaginary) son Sancho, Quichotte sets off on a picaresque quest across America to prove worthy of her hand, gallantly braving the tragicomic perils of an age where “Anything-Can-Happen”. Meanwhile his creator, in a midlife crisis, has equally urgent challenges of his own.
Just as Cervantes wrote Don Quixote to satirise the culture of his time, Rushdie takes the reader on a wild ride through a country on the verge of moral and spiritual collapse. And with the kind of storytelling magic that is the hallmark of his work, the fully realised lives of DuChamp and Quichotte intertwine in a profoundly human quest for love and a wickedly entertaining portrait of an age in which fact is so often indiscernible from fiction.
Disclaimer: I received a physical ARC of the book from Penguin India in exchange for an honest review! However, the thoughts, opinions expressed in the review are entirely my own.
I remember reading The Midnight’s Children without appreciating the nuances of the novel; I was after all, a kid when I read it – and though I have been meaning to re – read, life and other books always got in my way #lifeofbookworm 😀
I do, however remembering appreciating the writing style of Salman Rushdie, the way he made the reader work for understanding what he exactly wrote. There was always a hidden meaning behind each and every twist and turn – yet that was enough for me to jump at the chance to review Quichotte.
Before, I proceed with my review, I have to expressly state, I haven’t read the classic “Don Quixote” so I went into the book, without any expectations or even hope for this adaption of the classic.
Ismail Smile is a television addict and is better versed in the happenings of the virtual world as compared to the real world – a situation all of us bookworms would definitely empathise with, for don’t we all spend our time immersed in the very fictional lives of our favourite characters, don’t we?
All the while Ismail fancies himself in love with Ms. Sophia, a character on TV; the character, not the actor; a distinction that is quite important; and writing a love letter to her under the name “Quichotte” – this leads him on a journey that is an experience in itself.
Within the pages of Quichotte, you will find everything; and when I say everything, I do mean everything; all the issues plaguing our society, from racisim, to misogyny to bullying to political issues – you name it, and it will be within these pages.
Now, the author is known for his very well opinionated thoughts; and that waters down on to the pages of this adaptation as well – the plot, the opinions expressed are also loud, brash and more – in – your face than the subtlety I had been expecting from this book.
For a non – classical reader like yours truly; modern adaptations become a way to understand the basic plotlines of the original classic; but with Quichotte, the excessiveness within the plot, wasn’t something that I could reconcile myself with; so it just became a study to understand a classic in the modern setting, rather than trying to understand the nuances of the plotline.