Martin's Must Reads: 'Quichotte'
“There once lived, at a series of temporary addresses across the United State of America, a traveling man of Indian origin, advancing years, and retreating mental powers, who, on account of his love for mindless television, had spent far too much of his life in the yellow light of tawdry motel rooms watching an excess of it and had suffered a peculiar form of brain damage as a result.”
I’m Betty Martin with "Martin’s Must Reads" and that’s the opening sentence of Salman Rushdie’s newest novel Quichotte or in Spanish, Quixote. This is two stories, one of the author Sam DuChamp or Brother and the other of Ismail Smile, the main character in Brother’s novel.
Until this latest work, Brother has only written unsuccessful spy fictions. He’s not sure where he came up with the idea to write a story of the lunatic Quichotte and his pursuit of the television star Miss Salma R, except as the novel evolves it has many similarities to his own life: an estranged, wealthy sister with cancer, a son and a quest for love.
Brother’s novel covers a lot of territory, “the mind-numbing junk culture of his time, obsessional love, father-son relationships, sibling quarrels, Indian immigrants and racism toward them, crooks among them, science fiction, crooked drug companies, and the end of the world,” all in less than four hundred pages.
The fly leaf says “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.”
If you’re looking for an engrossing novel that will spark any number of rabbit trails in your head, then you must read Quichotte by Salman Rushdie.