Quichotte by Salman Rushdie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Oh my goodness.
Okay, so you fans of Midnight's Children, behold... Rushdie has gone off the deep end with the sublime, the meta, the satire, and especially the meta. Did I mention meta? I mean, META, BABY.
Yes, yes, this is a modern take and full homage to the Cervantes classic, but it's a hell of a lot more than just that. For one, our Quichotte is a self-made man in all the best ways like Quixote, but instead of going overboard with Chivalry, we see the full age of tv sitcoms, reality tv, and even SF shows. And yet, this is only a small fraction of the book, itself.
Say what? Yeah. He's practically a minor character in comparison with the author who creates him or the Med Salesman who takes on the role, the far-off maiden who becomes the quest (and I love her own story, huge,) or the sister of the author who must be reconciled. And let's not even start getting into Sancho, the imaginary son of Quichotte who has his own quest to become fully-FULLY real, a-la Pinnochio, Jimmy Cricket, and the Blue Fairy. :)
It's CRAZY, yo! And it is FAR from being a simple satire. After all, we have alternate realities, the end of the world, a moral and ethical decay that is purely American, while flavoring all the waters with Hindu culture in grand Rushdie style.
Is it a mess, too? Yes. But gloriously so. As in, let's just put ALL the crazy on the table here and tie it together with all-too-real interpersonal quests and redemptions and seeking love, whether fixing estrangement between siblings, sons, or yourself. It's also heart-rending, not crazy at all, and subtle. And sweet. Right before it gets crazy cool.
A lot of these kinds of novels often bounce off me. Modern, Avante-Garde, meta for meta sake, too clever by half. But this one has a spark in it that spoke to me. Sometimes I was on the verge of saying 3 stars, then sometimes 4, then back to 3, and then things come together brilliantly and I'm right there with an enthusiastic 5. So what am I saying?
Be patient. It's wild but worth it. :)
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