First Impression Friday will be a meme where you talk about a book that you JUST STARTED! Maybe you’re only a chapter or two in, maybe a little farther. Based on this sampling of your current read, give a few impressions and predict what you’ll think by the end.
I have come across First Impression Friday through Krsitin Kraves Books. It piqued my interest so I decided to start my own First Impression Friday series. For my first First Impression Friday post for 2020, I’ll be previewing Salman Rushdie’s Quichotte.
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, Salman 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.
So here I am yet again with another Salman Rushdie work, my sixth from his fabled repertoire. Not that I am complaining though, considering how much I have begun to admire his mettle as a writer. He is a stable and creative storyteller with a command over language, humor and wit. His penchant for the magical and the fantastic never failed to amuse and fascinate me.
Being true to the Rushdie spirit, his latest work, Quichotte is another feather in the cap to his storied career. Quichotte, preferably pronounced as key-SHOT, was shortlisted in the 2019 Man Booker Prize, a further consolidation of the timelessness of Rushdie’s work. And yes, this work was inspired by the picaresque and seminal 17th century literary piece conjured by Spanish master storyteller, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra.
I have barely started with Quichotte. I am currently on the part where the major players in the story – Quichotte, Sam DuChamp and Salma R – and their respective roles are being built up. As early as the first three chapters that I have already read, I am already being reminded of how much emphasis Rushdie places on his character development, a centrifugal part of his writing.
Whilst the early parts of the story is about setting the key chess parts, I can already feel the pleasant reverberations of the various nuances of Rushdie’s writing. Although it still pales in comparison to the behemoth that is Midnight’s Children, I am being given an insight into the evolution of his writing. In terms of the writing, I can see parallels with his last work before Quichotte, The Golden House.
That being said, I am nonetheless thrilled with what is in store in Quichotte. It being inspired by a classic picaresque literary masterpiece, I can only expect a fair mix of entertainment and satire. I am already imagining how grandiose the delusions of Quichotte the character are going to be. His imaginary son, Sancho, is, I supposed, just the start. With the extent of Rusdhie’s talent, I am pretty confident that Quichotte is not going to be a rehash of the literary masterpiece that inspired it.
With what Rushdie has showcased so far, one can expect nothing but an original and entertaining piece that is going to be introspective. Rushdie has a blunt and distinct but witty manner of presenting his worldly views, as showcased in his previous works. Rushdie’s penchant for translating his world views into works of fiction have riveted readers time and again. His writing is not bounded by his era, rather, it evolves and takes shapes that is befitting of the times.
I am hoping (despite what is going to be an inevitably busy weekend) that I make further breakthroughs this weekend.
How about you fellow reader? What book are your currently reading? What do you think of it, so far? Do share in the comment box.