Seemita's Reviews > Quichotte

Quichotte by Salman Rushdie
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really liked it
bookshelves: fiction, satire, booker-sl-ll, india, america

Stories beget stories. And amid nauseating realities, they are probably our only vehicle to a meaningful sail.
There are people who need to impose a shape upon the shapelessness of life.
And so, a Quichotte upon a Sam DuChamp, a Sancho over a Marcel DuChamp, a Human Trampoline over a Sister (DuChamp) – well, fictional characters to mirror the real characters including the author who is penning ‘Quichotte’. That’s right. A book within a book. A journey within a journey.

This book, as you know by now, is heavily (and lightly) drawn from Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra's magnum opus, 'Don Quixote'. And so, like the original, it chronicles the journey of the eponymous central character and his companion, Sancho and unlike the original, the two buddies turn father and son/ sister here – Quichotte and Sancho on a long, wide road trip to meet ‘the Beloved’, Miss Salma R and their creator, Sam, estranged in present from Marcel and his sister, longing to bury the hatchet before it is sunset.

The appeal of this book lied in doing the near impossible – making the two parallel tales meet . In such absolute command is the storyteller that to this reader, the foursome appeared to be members of an intriguing maze that refused to let go of any member despite them tottering into each other’s turf. Each character came blazing with such a demeanour and lingo of his own, interspersed with value systems, that I was forced to take sides and allow biases to rear their heads.
Beyond that, there’s only madness, aka getting religion. I have no intention of going crazy or getting religion.

… detachment is the key to survival. Obsession destroys the possessed.
In immensely rapturous and hubbub tones, Quichotte and Sancho epitomized the generational shifts and filial urgency without the melodrama. In near opposite fashion, Sam DuChamp’s discovery of his son and his penance towards his sister was filtered across monochromatic chapters that befit a lost, egoistic man in his late 50s.

Infusing the conversations with the scent of old Bombay and 90s’ America, the bane of today’s religious bigotry and calamitous science, the changing couture of courting and companionship across last two decades or more, the ambiguous modern-day chicanery of nihilism and radicalism, the vicious bite of political degradation across the world and irrational need for social media validation, the heartening sameness of life-driving emotions, Sir Rushdie spins a yarn so wide, so minute and so deliciously intoxicating that I smiled, hurrahed, sobbed, chuckled, guffawed, slumped without a care for the time and place.
Life had become a series of vanishing photographs, posted every day, gone the next. One had no story any more. Character, narrative, history, were all dead. Only the flat caricature of the instant remained and that was what one was judged by.
And almost like a tribute to his penmanship, akin to his’ to the great Cervantes, I read him at airports and flights, at beaches and hotel rooms, in different cities and time periods, in chaotic and serene joints. And must I say, Sir Rushdie was, clearly, one helluva helmsman.


P.S. Odyssey and Moby Dick, among others, make guest appearances and reaffirm my faith that stories are, after all, interconnected.

--

Also on my website.
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Reading Progress

September 9, 2019 – Started Reading
September 9, 2019 – Shelved
October 4, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-37 of 37 (37 new)

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Ravi Gangwani I am also reading it is currently .., And in love with it :)


message 2: by Agnieszka (last edited Sep 17, 2019 02:20AM) (new) - added it

Agnieszka Hey, Simi, long time no see ... Hope you're doing fine :)
Are you enjoying the new Rushdie? Will be curious what you make of it. And in the meantime a big hug :))


Seemita Ravi wrote: "I am also reading it is currently .., And in love with it :)"

Glad to know that, Ravi. He is packing a punch, alright!


Seemita Agnieszka wrote: "Hey, Simi, long time no see ... Hope you're doing fine :)
Are you enjoying the new Rushdie? Will be curious what you make of it. And in the meantime a big hug :))"


My dear Agna! So lovely to hear from you! I am doing fine albeit seeing the hours evaporate at the altar of my office isn't a very pleasing sight. But chugging along, nonetheless :)

The new Rushdie is interesting till now. As usual, there is immense hidden in a capsule and I am enjoying its unfolding. I hope the vibe remains the same till the end.

How are things with you? I miss reading your reviews. I have so much to catch up!


message 5: by Jonfaith (new)

Jonfaith Your review is rather compelling. I have become rather adept at fence-sitting.


Michael Fabulous review, "deliciously intoxicating" in itself. Loved it too, and hope for inspiration on pinning down why from your eloquence.


Jonathan K Have this book on hold at the library so I expect to be reading it soon. Hopefully his use of epic length sentences have been downplayed in this one :)


message 8: by Alcornell (new) - added it

Alcornell Seemita, beautiful review Again! I feel hopeful—needing to pry open some space between ‘America’ and ‘being American’—maybe SR offers some of that. Thanks for the lovely glimpse.


message 9: by Gaurav (new)

Gaurav What a delightful review, Seemita. I've been planning to take it up however, perhaps not so strongly since I did not enjoy some of his past books and therefore was not inspired enough to read further. But having read a few of positive reviews about this one, I was moved quite a bit and this beautiful review of yours shred away my apprehensions regarding it, if there were any. Will pick it up soon. Thanks for it.


message 10: by TBV (new)

TBV Excellent review, Seemita. Nice to see you reviewing again.


message 11: by Hanneke (last edited Oct 08, 2019 11:58PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Hanneke Seemita, dear, so great to read your beautiful review. So good that you found time to write it and I loved to read your take on the book. Having read Quichotte myself recently, I found it so overwhelming that I just couldn't write a review on it that would make sense. But you certainly did!


message 12: by Himanshu (new)

Himanshu Seems like an experience that doesn't go easy on your brain. But again that's how Rushdie rolls his dice. Your review is an absolute treat, Seemita. I can't believe how much you have expressed through this succinct review. An achievement in itself. Glad to have come across it! :)


Seemita Jonfaith wrote: "Your review is rather compelling. I have become rather adept at fence-sitting."

Thanks, Jon. And fence-sitting isn't bad at all; I meet the chap every now and then!


Seemita Michael wrote: "Fabulous review, "deliciously intoxicating" in itself. Loved it too, and hope for inspiration on pinning down why from your eloquence."

Thanks a lot, Michael! I am glad we share similar liking for this book. And I completely understand your position. I, myself, felt so overwhelmed by the themes and pace and emotions and language of this one that I was compelled to pen my thoughts while still on vacation, while the din of everyday was still miles away. I wish you find the air to gather your thoughts soon.

And it is so good to interact with you after a while. Hope all is well.


Rakhi Dalal Loved your review, Seemita. Now that I am reading it, I can relate so well with your thoughts :)


Kevin Ansbro I agree, Seemita, with this outlandish, magnificent tale, Rushdie was one helluva helmsman.
An absolutely fabulous review!


Seemita Jonathan wrote: "Have this book on hold at the library so I expect to be reading it soon. Hopefully his use of epic length sentences have been downplayed in this one :)"

Err... the epic sentences are his Achilles heel, Jonathan; I am afraid you won't have much respite here! But then, they were spunky to the hilt and kept me glued.


Seemita Alcornell wrote: "Seemita, beautiful review Again! I feel hopeful—needing to pry open some space between ‘America’ and ‘being American’—maybe SR offers some of that. Thanks for the lovely glimpse."

Thanks so much, Linda! So good to hear from you. Well, Rushdie shall most certainly turn into an ally if you are looking to navigate that space. But be on guard; he also erects mirrors at unexpected junctions and forces self assessment. A heady ride, this.


Seemita Gaurav wrote: "What a delightful review, Seemita. I've been planning to take it up however, perhaps not so strongly since I did not enjoy some of his past books and therefore was not inspired enough to read furth..."

Thank you, Gaurav. I concede Rushdie isn't a blast every time; on the contrary, he can be quite trying. There are atleast 3 books I haven't finished of his'. But this one, in particular, was a riot. Here's wishing you a good ride with good ol' Quichotte.


message 20: by Dolors (new)

Dolors Fabulous review, Simi... and this is no light thing, as this book seems quite challenging to review, and you have done it beautifully, conveying Rushdie's ability to find interconnections between stories, characters and life! I need to go back to his magic, I have been lost in the bushes for too long! ;P
Sheer pleasure to read you once more, Simi. Your prose soothes and inspires, as always.


message 21: by Ilse (new) - added it

Ilse Such a joy to read your compelling rendition of what sounds an immersive reading experience, Seemita. Aren't it our encounters with books that make us forget time and place and sucking us in like this why we decide to read, over and over again, with each new book we open? I feel I cannot read this before having read 'Don Quixote' first, meanwhile will keep your review in mind.


Seemita TBV wrote: "Excellent review, Seemita. Nice to see you reviewing again."

Thanks a lot, TBV! I am trying to find my feet here again :) Hope you are doing good.


message 23: by Fionnuala (new)

Fionnuala I'm very very curious to discover how Rushdie makes his two parallel tales meet, Seemita, so I'll take example and courage from you and read it soon — you're clearly quite impressed with it!


Seemita Hanneke wrote: "Seemita, dear, so great to read your beautiful review. So good that you found time to write it and I loved to read your take on the book. Having read Quichotte myself recently, I found it so overwh..."

My pleasure. I completely concur with your sentiment; this book was a beast in its coverage of issues and to pack them all into a review was a proposition I, too, felt intimidated by. But eventually, I settled for what came rushing to my mind, at the risk of leaving things that might have been a scorcher otherwise. I am glad you liked my take. And please attempt to record your thoughts too, dear Hanneke; I would love to read! :)


message 25: by Sookie (new)

Sookie The reviews from GR folks have been positive and that gives me hope to pick this one up. I adore Quixote and I keep reading it every now and then. Am a bit apprehensive how Rushide's Quixotic narration would be.


Seemita Himanshu wrote: "Seems like an experience that doesn't go easy on your brain. But again that's how Rushdie rolls his dice. Your review is an absolute treat, Seemita. I can't believe how much you have expressed thro..."

It was a riot, Himanshu! Of course, we expect nothing less of Rushdie but to have so much substance condensed into a 400-odd pages novel is an achievement even for a veteran novelist like him. And so, imagine my joy to have brought to you its flavor through a much timid review of it! Glad it worked. And the pleasure is altogether mine :)


Seemita Rakhi wrote: "Loved your review, Seemita. Now that I am reading it, I can relate so well with your thoughts :)"

And having just returned from your wonderful review, I feel like doing a hi-five, Rakhi! :) He has been churning out absolute smashers since last three years. The only flip side of it all is the fodder, which easily draws from the turbulent times we are living in.


Tsung Nice to have your review as an intro Seemita! I'm on to Quichotte next.


Seemita Kevin wrote: "I agree, Seemita, with this outlandish, magnificent tale, Rushdie was one helluva helmsman.
An absolutely fabulous review!"


Thanks, Kevin! Now that I have enjoyed his last two outings, I might lock horns with 'The Midnight's Children' , a fourth time! Hallelujah!


Seemita Dolors wrote: "Fabulous review, Simi... and this is no light thing, as this book seems quite challenging to review, and you have done it beautifully, conveying Rushdie's ability to find interconnections between s..."

You absolutely must revisit Rushdie, D! Your luminous review of 'The Midnight's Children' is still fresh in my memory. With your deep understanding of themes and their hidden meanings, even this book shall be a wonderful place to pick up that string . I look forward to your thoughts. And many thanks for your shoutout, dearie; this reviewer knows your magic is real :)


Seemita Ilse wrote: "Such a joy to read your compelling rendition of what sounds an immersive reading experience, Seemita. Aren't it our encounters with books that make us forget time and place and sucking us in like t..."

Pleasure is entirely mine, Ilse. To be honest, Rushdie's skill of writing a book with a palimpsest-type texture has always intrigued me. Despite the density and multiplicity of subject matter, his books work because he imparts authenticity to each layer. In here too, he has been successful in amalgamating the literary and the political, the real and the magical. I suppose this book has its own merits and can be enjoyed even without prior acquaintance with 'Don Quixote'.


Seemita Fionnuala wrote: "I'm very very curious to discover how Rushdie makes his two parallel tales meet, Seemita, so I'll take example and courage from you and read it soon — you're clearly quite impressed with it!"

Oh you shall love it, Fio! With your penchant for establishing connection across authors and books, events and quirks, this one should emerge nothing short of a treasure trove to dip in and retrieve gems from. I am hoping your courage won't wane and you shall give this a shot ;)


Seemita Sookie wrote: "The reviews from GR folks have been positive and that gives me hope to pick this one up. I adore Quixote and I keep reading it every now and then. Am a bit apprehensive how Rushide's Quixotic narra..."

Well, it certainly stands on its own, Sookie. I would suggest not to keep the original in mind while reading this one - the artistry shall be more pronounced then.


Seemita Tsung wrote: "Nice to have your review as an intro Seemita! I'm on to Quichotte next."

My pleasure, Tsung. And I can't wait to hear your thoughts!


message 35: by Laysee (new)

Laysee "A book within a book. A journey within a journey." - What a trip this must have been! You captured it so brilliantly, Seemita. It is always a pleasure to read your reviews. I am a bit fearful of Rushdie, so I may wait until I find courage to read him.


Seemita Laysee wrote: ""A book within a book. A journey within a journey." - What a trip this must have been! You captured it so brilliantly, Seemita. It is always a pleasure to read your reviews. I am a bit fearful of R..."

Going by your reading choices, Laysee, you have absolutely nothing to fear! This book is immensely accessible even though it draws from events and props spanning across continents and times. You shall have a visual rush, like the one we get when we are handed over 3D-vision glasses and placed in a dexterous simulator. I say, go for it! :)


message 37: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl So I love how your reading experience stays true to the global reach of the novel, Simi. I’m so glad I found this review, even if a little late. Your beautiful language makes me want to comb my shelves for the Rushdie book I know I have somewhere in my pile to read...


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