Quichotte

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 04 Nov 2019

Member Reviews

He's such a great writer. The story within a story is one of the reasons Don Quixote is a favorite. While this may not be for all readers, it is great for those who enjoy stories about quests and complications.
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Quixotic road trip tale with classic Rushdie postmodern references ranging from current events and popular culture to literature and history. If you like Salman Rushdie--or just like big, bright weird novels, you've probably already started it.
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Rushdie's skillful writing swerves between the absurd tale of Quichotte, a man who's obsessed with a beautiful talk show host and who managed to wish a son into existence, and the meta-narrative of the isolated author writing Quichotte's story. The playful satire throughout this novel is fun - and ridiculous - to read.
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The book Quichotte, at a basic level, tells the story of Don Quixote in a modernized context. However, the book has many more layers than that. It is also the story of an unnamed Author, who is writing the story of Quichotte and his relationship with his writing and with other members of his family. The book is also indebted to other works like Pinocchio and short stories by Arthur C. Clarke, while providing new perspectives on these tales by placing them in new contexts. This is also a book heavily influenced by magical realism. Overall, though, I thought the book handled all of these things well, and it was easier to track the further I read. It offers interesting perspectives on modern-day American culture, such as the opioid epidemic and the addiction to television and "reality" tv.
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I actually ended up DNFing this book. Love Rushdie’s writing but I just couldn’t get past the halfway mark. From what I can say for what I read is that this book isn’t for the easily offended. It’s heavily satirical, and as most everyone knows, there’s a grain of truth to most satire. Rushdie hits on very, very relevant topics that need to be in conversation, but I felt like the story just wasn’t going anywhere. I was hoping for something closer to Midnight’s Children in regard to the magical realism but this book isn’t like that. I just felt like I was going on a delusional old man turned stalker’s journey. The irony of which is lost to me in relation to the societal, cultural, and political issues Rushdie focuses on.
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This is probably my favorite Rushdie. It captures the essence of Cervante's novel, but updates it with modern concern and worries. It's TV instead of novels that have "rotted" Quichotte's brain. THe author and Quichotte have a slippery relationship, easily interchanged for each other. Some of the name (Brother, Sister, etc.) made it tricky to connect with the characters and the ending felt a bit rushed, but other wise, this book was funny and full of nuggets of truth. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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I have been meaning to read some Rushdie for a very long time, but hadn't yet got around to it when this book came up on NetGalley. I was very intrigued: Rushdie, Booker prize shortlisted...hello, sign me up! Rushdie's Quichotte is a dual novel that tells the story of a mid-list spy writer telling a modern day Don Quixote about an Indian American drug salesman. The story is sprawling, with long passages and a mix of different genres. It required a fair bit of patience, but I am glad that I stuck with it.

Thanks to the author, NetGalley, and Random House for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Dazzling modern day Don Quixote. Thanks so much for this review copy, I really look forward to reading more books by Rushdie.
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This novel was unfortunately not for me.  As a Spanish teacher, I thoroughly appreciate a new perspective into the beloved story of Don Quixote, however I just never connected with Quichotte.
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This was a brilliant channeling of the mythos of Don Quixote into the current context, a romp and fantasy parable full of satirical barbs by way of social commentary.  As a whole, it feels like an appeal to honor the rare fools who believe in romantic love and noble sacrifice as our true path instead of cynically wallowing in our complicity or helplessness with respect to the pervasive nationalism, racism, and anti-immigrant attitudes that are poisoning our current societies and governments.   There are a few satirical indirect digs at Trumpism, but the target for his satire here is the fundamentals of our disorder and our dear leader makes no comparable appearance as he did in the background as an insane Joker figure in Rushdie’s last book, “The Golden House”.  

Our hero, Ismail Smile, is a middle-aged, immigrant citizen with childhood roots in Mumbai.  HE has long worked as a traveling sales rep for a Big Pharma company run by his cousin, now innocently flogging to the medical establishment in the western U.S. their hottest product, “InSmile”, a sublingual fentanyl spray.  He is suddenly fired because he can’t keep sales up the way the company’s cadre of young sexy saleswomen can (often recruited from strip clubs).  Cast adrift with no current family connections, he travels fairly aimlessly in the west, communing with nature on the one hand and on the other retreating to his addiction to schlock TV (e.g. “The Bachelor”) in the cheap motel rooms he can afford.  

Two events transform his defeat into a man on a worthy quest and lead to his metamorphosis from a fool into a surprising hero for us all.   In the first event, one starry night he accidentally conjures up a young companion, Sancho, whom he invests with the identity of his son.  He comes with all the knowledge, language, and social skills of Ismail, but in every other way he is an unformed tabula rasa.  He hungers like all teenagers do to experience the pleasures of being alive and to make a difference in the world.  But his reality is not grounded, so he feels essentially like a crude black-and-white show instead of alive in vivid technicolor.  Sort of like Pinocchio.  Other Disney touches include some magical help from an Italian version of Jiminy Cricket (yes, you are in for some comical fantasy treats if you take this up).      

The second event is Ismail’s mental transformation into a Quixote (Quichotte, or Q as I will refer to him as) on a quest to attain his fantasy love for a TV talk show host, Miss Salma R, who has the stature and fame of an Oprah.   And who just happens to come from the same neighborhood in Mumbai as he did, though she was born to a Bollywood star mother and had some success of her own as a movie actress there and in Hollywood.   Q conceives of a series of challenges to make himself worthy of her love, which he calls the Seven Valleys of purification, which he and Sancho will pass through on the way to Salma in Manhattan.   At each phase, Q will enjoin Sancho to give up with him the arrays of pleasures, knowledge, or beliefs so that only devotion to the Beloved remains.  Sancho tends to see Q as crazy and spouting gobbledygook, but learns to trust him and his strategies to escape the multiple situations where violent racism against foreigners turns against them (sadly, one of which happens in a café in my childhood home town of Tulsa).  A response from one of the attackers provides an example of the Trump shadow in this tale: 

"Get out of my country and go back to your broke bigoted America-hating desert shitholes.  We’re gonna nuke you all."

Meanwhile, Q’s letters to Salma have begun to break through the deluge of fan mail and social media messages, leading her to see him in a sympathetic light and not as a dangerous stalker.  If I had to capture the attention of some heart-throb of my own (say, Scarlet Johansson), I might wish I could come up with a line from Q such as this: 

"I am a sleepwalker, walking as if through a dream, until I awake into the reality of our love."

Q’s obsession with Salma makes for a temporary cure for his despair, which is eloquently expressed in this reverie on the night sky:     
"Up there was the immensity of the immensity, the endless distance of the distance, the impossible scale, the thunderous silence of all that light, the million million million blazing suns out there where nobody could hear you scream.  And down here the human race, dirty ants crawling across a small rock circling a minor star in the outlying provinces of a lesser galaxy in the inconsequential boondocks of the universe, narcissistic ants mad with egotism, insisting in the face of the fiery night-sky evidence to the contrary that their puny anthills stood at the heart of it all."

Amid real pathos to engage your empathy, there are plenty of surprising turns to lift you away into absurdity and competing story threads that widen your view.   An example with the former is a bizarre encounter with mammoth-people in New Jersey.  No tilting at windmills; the windmills tilt at our dynamic duo.   As for the widening gyre, we spend significant time with Q struggling over how to heal a longstanding breach in his relationship with his sister as a prerequisite to achieving any success with his love of Salma.  On a parallel track, we break through into the story of the fictional author of this tale (called “Author”), who seems in the writing to be working out his own barriers to finding meaning in this degraded world we are now living in, including his own breach with a beloved sister.  

I realize many readers may have little patience with such a postmodern trope, but I loved this meta-plot addition to the stew.  Rushdie’s own experience with his fiction breaking through as a disturbing reality impacting his personal life (i.e the Islamic fatwa incurred from his novel “Satanic Verses”) provides some justification for the strategy.  As a payoff for this apparent diversion, Rushdie brins in some science fiction elements to achieve a splendid merger of these parallel stories of a writer and his creations.  

As we ride along with this modern fable, we have no idea what kind of success Q will have in attaining his Beloved.  An idealistic love based on fantasy is bound to collide with realities and unknown human faults that reside with Salma.   When Q finally intersects her in person, we come up against a severe challenge of the fate of such a love when the Beloved requests of him a form of help that conflicts with the moral codes of a true hero.   We end up with a poignant parable on the pervasive issue today of the ends justifying the means.  In the same vein, Rushdie’s ends in serious reflections on the problems with our society justify his means in reviving and revising Cervantes picaresque approaches.

This book was provided for review by the published through the Netgalley program.
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I have to admitt that I could not finish this book. I think Rushdie is very talented, but this book was too much, too cynical, too meta. It didn't feel focus and in the end very pretentious. Maybe it was the wrong time to read it.
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I love Don Quixote and Salman Rushdie is one of my favorite authors so I had very high hopes for this book. It totally delivered on the satire element I was hoping for and reads like true Rushdie. Don't pass on this if you are a Rushdie fan.
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For more reviews and bookish posts please visit: http://www.ManOfLaBook.com

Quichotte by Salman Rushdie is a novel that takes Miguel de Cervantes’ story The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha and updates it to the modern age. Mr. Rushdie is an award winning, and international bestselling, author.

Sam DuChamp , a writer of espionage novels, creates a character for his new novel named Quichotte (pronounced key-shot), a man loosely based on his namesake. Quichotte, a man in his late 60s or early 70s, is consumed with everything on TV, from dramas to idiotic reality shows – and especially with a Bollywood actress who is now a Hollywood celebrity and the apparent heir to Oprah herself – Salma R.

Quichotte and his imaginary son (who somehow becomes real) take coast to coast trip so the elder gentleman can profess his love to Salma. Slowly DuChamp realizes that Quichotte’s story is actually his own.
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“As I plan my quest,” Quichotte said, drinking from a can of ginger ale, “I ponder the contemporary period as well as the classical. And by the contemporary I mean, of course, The Bachelorette.”

I liked Quichotte (pronounced in this variation, on instruction from the author, as key-shot). It manages to be both fun and important — witty and conversational while dealing with themes like opioid addiction, racism, loneliness, childhood sexual assault, family, and regret. (Okay, that makes the book sound really depressing, but it’s not!)

Our story’s hero is Quichotte, of course — an old man selling pharmaceuticals on the road, living in inexpensive motels and hotels that he can only hope have cable included. In his old age and loneliness, he’s really started to believe that television is reality, and so he’s fallen in love with one Miss Salma R, a sort of Oprah 2.0 (even called “Oprah 2.0” by book-Oprah herself). Both Quichotte and Salma grew up in the same tiny village in India, on the same street even, and found their way to the US. 

Quichotte decides that he’s going to drive across the country to woo Salma, because this is the age of anything-can-happen and love will find a way. He also imagines a son into existence, whom he names Sancho. Salma, for her part, is bipolar, depressed, and an opioid user. And she finds herself entangled with Dr. RK Smile, Quichotte’s cousin and former employer, who sells them.

But that’s not all there is to the story. A few chapters in, we’re introduced to the Author, referred to as Brother, who’s writing Quichotte’s story. He’s also from that street in the small village of India. He is estranged from Sister, just as Quichotte is estranged from his sister. In fact the more you read, the more you realize that Brother is pouring himself into Quichotte’s story.

What makes this novel really engaging is the way you can watch Brother grapple with his own life and family as he writes his way through Quichotte’s story. Without the element of Author/Brother and Sister, I think the story would have fallen flat. But with it, we get a glimpse into the human experience through his and his characters’ eyes.

Without spoilers, the ending was weird. I’d love to chat about it with anyone who’s read the book. I also found that I could easily put it down when I was called away to other things — in fact, when I reached the end of part 1, I paused and read two or three other books with more urgent timelines before starting up again. But I still enjoyed it, I’m glad I read it, and I can see why it caught the eye of the Booker Prize judges.
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VERDICT: Brilliant take on Don Quixote. Tragicomedy on our society and where it’s going.  

First, I was totally blown over by the first pages of the book. I loved its humor, and satirical view of our society (mostly American, British, and Indian) and culture – though I’m not sure Rushdie would even dare use this word in reference to our modern age. However, it’s not satire for the mere fun of it, and that’s probably why it worked for me (I usually don’t like satire).
This is more like a tragicomedy, a warning signal, highlighting signs of the end times (in the After Google age!) at the moral, political, and social levels, because of our doings or not doings. And then our efforts to look for another planet to escape to, when we have finally wrecked ours.
Now to go more into the plot. This Quichotte is not crazy with chivalry books, but with TV shows. 
And the love of his life, which will launch him on his journey, is a television talk-show superstar. Like Dulcinea though, Miss Salma R has no idea first who Quichotte is, and who knows if she will reciprocate his feelings.

Then, the book gets more complex, with more layers added, and some readers may be tempted to give up at this point. Please, don’t!
You realize we are dealing with a book within a book – which I thought was an awesome way to do what Cervantes did, especially in Book 2, and in the many meta-literature passages throughout his work – as you may remember from my notes on Don Quixote, I was fascinated by this aspect, and it works just as well here.
But then layers multiply, with some on Quichotte, some on his author, Sam DuChamp, who also wrote spy novels (which leads to another subplot), some on Sam’s family, and sometimes they combine, blurring the boundary between fiction and reality, within the novel itself..
What’s also really neat, is that you realize the book is so much more than a modern adaptation of Don Quixote (NB: like the classic, each chapter title contains a description of what that chapter is about): his Sancho is actually his son (yes, Daddy Q, lol, has a son), and the way he came to life is a direct allusion to Pinocchio – with many more references to this other classics all along.

Their journey cannot but make you think of Dante’s Divine Comedy, The Canterbury Tales (incidentally, other amazing classics I read recently in my 50 classics challenge), or The Odyssey. I also noticed references to Moby Dick, and of course to Being There, by Kosinski.

The book is packed with tons of cultural references, from TV shows, movies, sports, music, ads, social media, the big Pharma (another important part of the plot), and many more fields, and I’m sure I recognized only a few!
Big themes are obviously present, such as for instance our stance towards mortality (is it also a message on Rushdie himself?), the environment, immigrants, guns, and terrorism.
This is all done in a very lively style and tone, that made me chuckle all along.
From time to time, the author tries something different at the level of writing, for instance in the hilarious passage on the different types of snoring (in chapter 9). Though it’s less funny if you see it as an image of our current general boredom.

The book seems to me like a tour de force to describe our shallow entertainment society. This was brilliant to use the basic story of a famous classic to do so. I also feel I only scratched the surface of the book. Like for Don Quixote, the author (Rushdie) alludes to the state of mind of his hero, but making the question more complex than for Cervantes: is Quichotte crazy, or just confused because of the craziness of our world?
(My original review, see link to my blog post), has lots of quotations to illustrate my points
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As I just finished Don Quixote, I had to read this book. I've only read two other books by Rushdie: his children's books Haroun and the Sea of Stories (loved) and Luka and the Fire of Life (hated). Although I enjoyed some parts of Quichotte, on the whole it did not come together for me. Rushdie's writing was a mishmash of cliches, quotations, and derivative elements, meant no doubt as parody and homage, but lacking a distinctive "music" of its own. The dissolution of the world of the novel in the end paralleled the dissolution of any caring I had developed for the characters, as the whole scenario just became sillier and more bizarre. Maybe that was the point, but it left me feeling cheated rather than exhilarated.
Along the way I thought often of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, who have played similar kinds of games with words, language, and literature, but have done it so much better. Either of them would be more deserving of the Booker Prize, in my opinion.
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There are certain stories that invite retelling. These are stories that have embedded themselves deeply into the collective psyche, demanding to be told and retold.

The story of Don Quixote has been one such story. Even from its inception some four centuries ago, when Miguel de Cervantes put pen to paper and spun out the tale that would become the most influential Spanish literary work in history, the work deemed by many to be the genesis of the modern novel, the tale of the erstwhile knight errant and his quest for love and chivalry continues to resonate.

The newest exploration of the classic story comes from Salman Rushdie, whose latest novel is “Quichotte.” It’s a layered metafictional take on the tale, a story that succinctly blends the modern with the postmodern as well as a deft use of a classic touchstone to explore a much more current cultural landscape.

Reality and surreality collide as an elderly Indian-American man, his once-sharp mind somewhat addled by a steady diet of TV and travel, is swept up into a romantic notion – a notion for which he’s willing to cross the country. But there’s more to this man’s world than he could ever know, for despite his own resistance to the idea of a higher power, he is in fact subject to the whims of his own creator – though perhaps not in the way one might expect.

Ismail Smile lives a solitary life as a pharmaceutical rep, living out of a suitcase as he travels the American Southwest shilling for the multibillion-dollar drug company run by his cousin. He is much older than the usual drug rep, kept on as a kindness, though his charm is not inconsiderable – he moves a fair amount of his cousin’s opioid painkillers.

The line between fantasy and reality is blurring, however, leading Ismail to come to a realization: he is meant to be the Great Love of one Miss Salma R., a former Bollywood actress who went on to become one of America’s preeminent television personalities, second only to the great Oprah herself. In an effort to connect with his perceived love, Ismail adopts a persona with which to write her letters – he will become Quichotte, so named after a half-awake hearing of the Jules Massenet opera “Don Quichotte,” based on the beloved Cervantes tale.

And off goes the newly-dubbed Quichotte, ready to put himself through whatever trials and tribulations necessary to prove his worthiness to his beloved. But what is Don Quixote without his Sancho? Through the pure power of regret and a wish spent on a desert-witnessed meteor shower, Quichotte conjures a son out of thin air, a Sancho with whom to wander through the rest of his journey. But despite his atypical conception, Sancho is possessed of more than a few typical teenage behaviors – including a desire to be his own man, a desire thwarted by the tenuous nature of his own reality.

All this is happening at the behest of a low-rent crime novelist sporting the pen name Sam Duchamp who has decided to spread his literary wings and create something altogether different. Quichotte, Sancho and the rest are the product of the writer’s imagination. Instead of his standard potboiler fare, Duchamp is striving for something more meaningful, and in doing so, is pouring much more of his own story into the one being told.

The two tales unfold side by side, each man embarking on a likely fruitless quest to rediscover and reclaim some small part of themselves. Both seek connection, but neither is particularly well-equipped to find it … or to handle it if they should actually succeed in locating it.

Along the way, thoughts and themes that span the American experience enter the picture. The struggles to define cultural identity for South Asian immigrants. The capitalist celebration and human cost of the opioid crisis. The de-evolution of popular culture through the lens of trash TV. The outsized power of talk show gurus and celebrity scientists. The meaning of love, filial and romantic alike. All of it wrapped in a metafictional mélange that lends itself beautifully to thoughtful exploration, using the old and familiar to comment on the new and unexpected.

Seems like a lot, no? And yet Rushdie keeps every plate spinning, moving swiftly but smoothly from idea to idea. There are numerous places where it seems as though one or more of these plates might drop – that they MUST drop – yet the author always arrives in the nick of time, ensuring that everything remains in constant motion, always advancing toward the shared conclusion. Even as the pace accelerates toward a raucous, over-the-top conclusion that is nevertheless somehow perfectly logical, the story stays the course.

The story-within-story writer-as-character trope has long been a mainstay of postmodern fiction, but Rushdie manages to give the conceit some fresh heft. His fascination with the nature of story has long been a central part of his work; that depth of interest lends itself to a narrative meatiness that eliminates any whiff of cliché or gimmickry. There’s a nigh-constant sense of existential overlap as one world bleeds into another in ways both obvious and surprising.

If you’re looking to embrace the ongoing breakdown of the barriers between fiction and reality, it’s hard to argue against a figure like Don Quixote, whose character is fundamentally defined by not just an inability to distinguish between the two, but a stubborn unwillingness to do so. Rushdie lays that classic journey atop a 21st century map; the result is madcap and manic, funny and weird and heartbreakingly sad.

“Quichotte” is an exceptional work, one that searches for hope even against a deeply cynical belief that nothing matters. If it’s possible for a book to be optimistically nihilistic, then that’s what Rushdie has given us with this one.
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Published by Random House on September 3, 2019

Quichotte is about the quest for love, happiness, fulfillment, meaning, or whatever it is that people search for, often fruitlessly, even when the quest is delusional and obsessional. It is also about reconciliation or its absence in familial relationships, the “destructive, mind-numbing junk culture” in which we live, the twinned topics of immigration and racism, and “the intertwining of fictional and ‘real’ realities.” Salman Rushdie offers stories within stories, crossing and combining genres: a family saga bumps up against a search for alternate universes; a quixotic quest combines a love story with elements of fantasy and mystery. A little Cervantes, a bit of Camelot, some Arthur C. Clarke, a couple of parodied Lifetime movie plots, a sprinkling of mythology, any number of classic crime novel themes — Rushdie pulls it all together and makes it fresh and relevant to the contemporary world.

In a style he has perfected, Rushdie mixes references to Greek classics, Eastern religions, and American/Bollywood pop culture (music, television, movies, and sometimes even a book) in sentences that are surprising, entertaining, and insightful. Rushdie portrays America in all its complexity, illuminating each America — the one where education is valued and the one where education is brainwashing, the one where vaccines keep kids safe and the one where vaccines are a con game, the one where only white skins matter and the one that embraces diversity — by placing America today into a larger historical and cultural context.

He does this by nesting stories within stories. The central story revolves around Ismael Smile, a pharmaceutical salesman who retires involuntarily at the instruction of his employer-cousin, who still has Smile make occasional discreet deliveries. An Internal Event befuddled Smile’s memory, leaving him unable to separate constructed from actual reality. His life consists largely of watching television, a pastime that sparks his obsession with Salma R. He becomes “a brown man in America longing for a brown woman.” Thinking himself unworthy of Salma, Smile decides to write her a series of letters, using an assumed name, to recount his exploits and win her admiration. He eventually comes to understand that by becoming worthy of the woman he loves, he might feel worthy of being himself.

Smile writes his love letters using the pseudonym Quichotte, the French version of Quixote. Constructing an alternate reality is consistent with the age in which he lives, the Age of Anything-Can-Happen, where even the host of a scripted reality show can become president.

Salma R., a Bollywood actress who starred in an American television series before becoming America’s next Oprah, is further proof that Anything-Can-Happen. Rushdie gives her a full and amusing history and makes her smart, beguiling, and capable of foiling all the men who want to control her. Salma embarks on her own quest, one that she can only fulfill with opioids supplied, coincidentally, by Quichotte’s former employer.

The next nested story, a level removed from Smile’s, reveals that Smile is the imaginary construct of a writer who has turned his attention from spy novels to serious literature. The aging novelist, born in India and now living in New York, identifies himself as Brother but writes as Sam DuChamp. He tells the reader about his broken family and suggests that “broken families may be our best available lens through which to view this broken world.” Brother conceives Smile as his alter-ego, just as Brother is presumably Rushdie’s. Brother also confides in the reader that Smile’s encounter with apocalyptic oblivion is Brother’s attempt to attempt to explore the topic of death, which will soon enough visit Brother and everyone else, bringing an end to the world, or at least to its perception, a distinction that presumably has little relevance to the dead. Brother eventually travels to London to meet with Sister, from whom Brother has been estranged for 17 years, since a falling out over the division of their inheritance.

Smile imagines he has a son named Sancho. Some chapters are narrated by Sancho, who takes on a reality (and a quest) of his own. Sancho is vaguely aware of a creator lurking behind Smile, an entity he thinks must be God. Of course, Rushdie created Brother who created Smile who created Sancho, which must make Rushdie the father of all gods — or at least imaginary gods, since Smile does not believe in a deity, and thus neither does Sancho. Nor does Sancho believe in Jiminy Cricket, even when he finds himself taking (or rejecting) instructions from the Italian insect who wanted to be human.

So there’s the setup, all packed into the first quarter of a novel that, being one of Rushdie’s, is dense with ideas. In his delightfully meandering prose, Rushdie observes the world’s peoples and problems, including America’s ugly history of racism and white supremacy, and its British counterpart in Brexit. Rushdie (through DuChamp) opines that modern stories must sprawl to reflect a world connected by communication, travel, and immigration. His story suggests that migrants are made to feel unwelcome by those who do not travel, including English citizens who share a “wild nostalgia for an imaginary golden age when all attitudes were Anglo–Saxon and all English skins were white.” Characters discuss identity and the difficulty of preserving an old identity while absorbing a new one.

Rushdie touches upon the acquisition of the use of wealth to create OxyContin addicts (Smile’s cousin and former employer is modeled on, although a lesser version of, the Sackett family), Russian hackers, the hidden shame of child abuse in families that shelter abusers, fear of death, the loss of mental faculties, and whether family members can ever forgive unforgiveable offenses. Perhaps the novel is so multifaceted that no single story can be explored in depth. Perhaps the story’s treatment of the opioid epidemic and of racism directed at immigrants is too cursory to be revealing. Perhaps the characters are reflections of their times rather than realistic characters a reader will care about (Rushdie does not create sympathy for Smile in the way that Cervantes built sympathy for Don Quixote). Perhaps the plot is a mad swirl that never quite settles. Notwithstanding all the objections that, perhaps, a reader could lodge against Quichotte, the book stands as an absorbing and amusing indictment of a divisive “junk culture” that probably deserves the clever ending Rushdie imagines for it. Rushdie might leave a reader dazed, but he always dazzles.

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I felt that this one wasn’t for my taste. Generally, I can get into a Rushdie book and enjoy it but maybe I just wasn’t up for this one (may need a redo at a later time to adjust my perspective). It is a bit chaotic and wild and this was not where I needed to be right now. I guess timing is everything with the books in our lives. I’m sure a reread later will cure me of this funk. But for now it wasn’t my thing 
#Quichotte #NetGalley #RandomHousePublishingGroup #RandomHouse
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I was confused, entertained, and exhausted by Rushdie’s latest novel, Quichotte.  There are layered plot lines, in a Shakespearean novel within the novel, and because the characters have overlapping personalities and lives, they tended to blur when I put the book down and returned to it later.  Rushdie’s rapid-fire satiric humor is funny, although I often felt like I was probably missing half of the cultural references (from ancient to pop culture…  the references abound.)  As Rushdie takes on all of the problems of the day from opioid addiction to climate change to Brexit, I began to feel like his character in paraphrase,  "I have my life to live and my crises to contend with, and that is all I can handle right now.  The apocalypse of the West will just have to wait in line."
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