Quichotte A novel

Salman Rushdie

Book - 2019

"Quichotte, an aging traveling salesman obsessed with the "unreal real" of TV, falls in impossible love with a queen of the screen; while obsessively writing her love letters, he wishes an imaginary son, Sancho, into existence. Together they set off across America in Quichotte's trusty Chevy Cruze to find her and convince her of his love. Meanwhile, Quichotte's tragicomic story is being told by the author who created him: Brother, a mediocre spy novelist in the midst of ...a midlife crisis. As their stories intertwine, we are taken on a wild, picaresque journey through a country on the edge of moral and spiritual collapse. Just as Cervantes wrote Don Quixote to satirize the culture of his time, Rushdie brings us a new twist on a classic. Quichotte is a profoundly human love story and a wickedly entertaining satire of a corrupt age in which fact is so often indiscernible from fiction. With unforgettable characters and riveting suspense, this dazzling novel showcases an essential storyteller at his brilliant best"--

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Published
New York : Random House 2019.
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
pages ; cm
ISBN
9780593132982
059313298X
Main Author
Salman Rushdie (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Rushdie follows his last scathing best-seller, The Golden House (2017), with an exuberantly imagined and lacerating homage to the revered satire, Don Quixote. As Cervantes did four centuries ago, Rushdie attributes his tragicomic tale of a delusional romantic to another author, a midlist, Indian American crime writer using the pen name Sam Duchamp, who believes that his spy novels have put him in actual danger. While he tries to sort out his escalating travails, he finds himself writing a strange story about a chivalric, retired traveling pharmaceutical salesman utterly bewitched and befuddled by his marathon television immersions. No longer able to distinguish between truth and lies, reality and TV, he embarks on a cross-country quest to woo his beloved, Salma, a superstar talk-show host. Taking the name Quichotte from a French opera about the legendary knight-errant, he conjures up a TV-spawned teenage son to accompany him on the road and, of course, calls him Sancho. 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.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Rushdie's dazzling and provocative improvisation on an essential classic has powerful resonance in this time of weaponized lies and denials. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Rushdie follows his last scathing best-seller, The Golden House (2017), with an exuberantly imagined and lacerating homage to the revered satire, Don Quixote. As Cervantes did four centuries ago, Rushdie attributes his tragicomic tale of a delusional romantic to another author, a midlist, Indian American crime writer using the pen name Sam Duchamp, who believes that his spy novels have put him in actual danger. While he tries to sort out his escalating travails, he finds himself writing a strange story about a chivalric, retired traveling pharmaceutical salesman utterly bewitched and befuddled by his marathon television immersions. No longer able to distinguish between truth and lies, reality and TV, he embarks on a cross-country quest to woo his beloved, Salma, a superstar talk-show host. Taking the name Quichotte from a French opera about the legendary knight-errant, he conjures up a TV-spawned teenage son to accompany him on the road and, of course, calls him Sancho. 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.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Rushdie's dazzling and provocative improvisation on an essential classic has powerful resonance in this time of weaponized lies and denials. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Best-of-the-Booker Rushdie revisits the Knight of the Dolorous Countenance—except now the story goes contemporary, with a traveling salesman falling for a TV star and marching across America to prove himself worthy. As Rushdie told the Guardian while rereading Don Quixote last year, the great Spanish novel "feels strikingly contemporary" but maybe "a little bit repetitive," so expect things here to be crisp. Copyright 2019 Library Journal.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

This latest from Rushdie (The Golden House) is nothing but extraordinary. Our main character, Quichotte (an alternate spelling of Quixote), is an aged, poststroke Indian American traveling pharmaceutical rep who is confused about the boundary between TV and real life and inhabits a netherworld of fantasy. He is enamored of a mega-famous Indian American talk show host, Salma R., to whom he writes beautiful love letters. On a second level, the book overtly narrates the writing of the main story through the character of the author. This brings an added level of interiority, exposing and commenting upon the process of the novel in progress. The life of the author and that of Quichotte mimic each other, Quichotte's story taking place across America and the author's centered on London. Both converge on opioid abuse, the loss of father-son connection, and estranged brother-sister relationships, though Quichotte's story goes the extra mile to include the imminent destruction of the earth with an escape portal to alternate dimensions as the cure. VERDICT This incisively outlandish but lyrical meditation on intolerance, TV addiction, and the opioid crisis operates on multiple planes, with razor-sharp topicality and humor, delivering a reflective examination of the plight of marginalized personhood with veritable aplomb. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 3/11/19.]—Henry Bankhead, San Rafael P.L., CA Copyright 2019 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Rushdie's rambunctious latest (following The Golden House) hurtles through surreal time and space with the author's retooled Don Quixote on a quest for love and redemption in an unloving and irredeemable U.S.A. In this story within a story, Sam DuChamp, author of spy thrillers and father of a missing son, creates Quichotte, an elegant but deluded, TV-obsessed pharma salesman who strikes out cross-country with the son he's dreamed into existence, to kneel at the feet of an actress by the name of Miss Salma R. Quichotte and son Sancho brave Rushdie's tragicomic, terrifying version of America, a Trumpland full of bigots, opioids, and violence. They experience weird, end-of-time events—people turn into mastodons, rips appear in the atmosphere—but also talking crickets and blue fairies offering something like hope. Allowing the wild adventure to overwhelm oneself is half the fun. Rushdie's extravagant fiction is the lie that tells the truth, and, hilariously, it's not lost on the reader that he shares this Falstaffian and duplicitous notion with none other than Trump (who is never named). Rushdie's uproarious comedy, which talks to itself while packing a good deal of historical and political freight, is a brilliant rendition of the cheesy, sleazy, scary pandemonium of life in modern times. Agent: Andrew Wylie, the Wylie Agency. (Sept.) Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

The award-winning author of Midnight’s Children presents a modern adaptation of Don Quixote that finds a courtly, addled salesman embarking on a cross-country journey with his imaginary son after falling impossibly in love with a television star. Simultaneous.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER ' An epic Don Quixote for the modern age, 'a brilliant, funny, world-encompassing wonder' (Time) from internationally bestselling author Salman Rushdie SHORTLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE ' '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 ReviewNAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY TIME AND NPR 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 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 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"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's 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)