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Quichotte

A Novel
Written by: Salman Rushdie
Narrated by: Vikas Adam
Length: 16 hrs and 1 min
Categories: Comedy, Satire
5 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Publisher's Summary

A dazzling Don Quixote for the modern age - an epic tour de force that is as much an homage to an immortal work of literature as it is to the quest for love and family, by Booker Prize-winning, internationally best-selling author Salman Rushdie.

SHORTLISTED FOR THE BOOKER PRIZE

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 satirize the culture of his time, Rushdie takes the listener 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 Rushdie's work, the fully realized 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.

Praise for Quichotte

“Lovely, unsentimental, heart-affirming...a remembrance of what holds our human lives in some equilibrium - a way of feeling and a way of telling. Love and language.” (Jeanette Winterson, The New York Times Book Review)

“Brilliant...a perfect fit for a moment of transcontinental derangement.” (Financial Times)

Quichotte is one of the cleverest, most enjoyable metafictional capers this side of postmodernism.... The narration is fleet of foot, always one step ahead of the reader - somewhere between a pinball machine and a three-dimensional game of snakes and ladders.... This novel can fly, it can float, it’s anecdotal, effervescent, charming, and a jolly good story to boot.” (The Sunday Times

Quichotte [is] an updating of Cervantes’ story that proves to be an equally complicated literary encounter, jumbling together a chivalric quest, a satire on Trump’s America and a whole lot of postmodern playfulness in a novel that is as sharp as a flick-knife and as clever as a barrel of monkeys.... This is a novel that feeds the heart while it fills the mind.” (The Times, UK) 

©2019 Salman Rushdie (P)2019 Random House Audio

What the critics say

“Rushdie’s synthesizing energy, the way he brings together ancient myth and old story, contemporary incident and archetypal emotion, transfigures reason into a waking dream.” (Los Angeles Times)

“An exuberantly imagined and lacerating homage to the revered satire Don Quixote.... This spellbinding, many-limbed saga of lives derailing in the ‘Age of Anything-Can-Happen’ is a wily frolic and a seismic denunciation. Rushdie meshes shrewd, parodic humor with intensifying suspense and pervasive sympathy, seeding this picaresque doomsday adventure with literary and television allusions and philosophical musings. As his vivid, passionate, and imperiled characters are confronted with racism, sexism, displacement, family ruptures, opioid addiction, disease, cyber warfare, and planetary convulsions, they valiantly seek the transcendence of love....Rushdie’s dazzling and provocative improvisation on an essential classic has powerful resonance in this time of weaponized lies and denials.” (Booklist, starred review) 

“Everywhere he takes us there is both love and war, in strange and terrifying combinations, painted in swaying, swirling, world-eating prose that annihilates the borders between East and West, love and hate, our private lives and the history we make.” (Time

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  • Kindle Customer
  • Dallas, Texas, US
  • 2019-09-06

Still delivers the goods...

Rushdie delivers again with wonderful dialog, vibrant fleshed-out characters, and surprises until the end. I quite enjoyed it!

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • M.S.
  • 2019-09-08

16 hours of an old man's soapboxing

The protagonist of Quichotte is a man whose mental illness worsens after a stroke, leading him to stalk a famous actress. A teenage son sprouts from his imagination and also stalks a woman whom he once met briefly. (A quote: 'When she said, "go away", I know that she meant "come back."') Even knowing that these unrequited feelings are inspired by Don Quixote's pining for his Dulcinea, the modern setting and more detailed explorations of their mindsets makes the whole thing seem creepier and more sinister than Don Quixote, and isn't helped by the total lack of Cervantes' humour or wit.

Rushdie has plenty to say about the state of modern America, but his observations are nothing you haven't heard a hundred times before. The setup of 'father and son on a road trip' – yes, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is mentioned – is just an excuse for the father figure to rant on about current social and political issues. I'm convinced that one character moved to England just so that Rushdie could squeeze in some commentary about the UK too.

There are some magical and meta twists and turns, but the plot feels formulaic, and these won't come as a surprise if you've read anything else from the author. Though serious issues are brought up, they are addressed in a shallow way that doesn't give insight or inspire empathy. In reviewing this book, the New York Times described Rushdie as 'a writer in free fall', and I'm inclined to agree.

5 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • B JE
  • Boston, MA
  • 2019-09-13

A fantastic Don Q for the 21st century.

Rushdie demonstrates that he is a brilliant reader of Cervantes, a maze of broken stories, the blur of reality and fiction, the play between popular culture and high literature. Every word is a gem. But the performance of Vikas Adam is also outstanding, playing characters and accents like a master, I love his Italian Beppe Grillo. Not to be missed!

1 of 3 people found this review helpful