This post serves as both a “what I’ve been reading on the beach” as well as an explanation as to why I haven’t posted in a while.
I don’t even know where to start with Quichotte – so I’ll begin with a brief synopsis. It’s pronounced “key-shot” – they phonetically tell you in the book so don’t fight me.
Then the plot: a TV-addict and retired salesman, Quichotte, and his imaginary son, Sancho, take a journey across America, seeking the love of Quichotte’s life – the ironically named Miss Salma R, who he knows only from her television show.
A road journey, a tale of loss, love and forgiveness, of the unreality in which we live in a world of racism and absurdity, a perspective of the Indian diaspora like I’ve never read before, a commentary on society’s dependency on opioids as well as the metaphorical opioids of escapism that can be found on the other end of a screen.
It has taken me three months to get through it, but that’s not to say I didn’t think it was brilliant. I was in this bizarre situation where I was clearly having a miserable time reading it, and had to keep taking leaves of absence to read other books before getting the strength to return, yet I wouldn’t stop reading it because it is undeniably superb. Perhaps it is that every sentence written by Salman Rushdie is so brimful of meaning that after a page it seems as if you have finished a novel and need a small nap.
Though at times heavy handed with symbolism, it is what it sets out to be: the Don Quixote of modern times, a journey to the heart of what keeps humanity ticking, and the question of whether modernity and television is rotting its core.
For the first time I find myself saying both “bravo” and “good riddance” to a book. I never want to read this bloody fantastic book again.