Comfortably Numb

Sheila Kumar's Storehouse

Published on: 10/30/19 2:02 PM

Book review: Quichotte by Salman Rushdie

QUICHOTTE by Salman Rushdie. Penguin Books India.

I never ever thought it`d come to this. That, after a complete and total infatuation with the works of S. Rushdie that has lasted many  long years, I would actually find anything written by him tiresome.

But the overly verbose Quichotte tired me out. Why, why,  why should  we have to hack our way through thickets and thickets of words to get at the story?

On one level, I was luxuriating in the glorious use of language characteristic of Rushdie. On another  level, I was impatient with all the obfuscation. So, literary panache was balanced out by a projectile disgorging of almost everything the author knows.

However, old loyalties made me stick on and so, I read of unrequited love, troubled relationships, racism, Hans Christian Anderson or a bronze statue thereof, much mental turmoil, the illegal misuse of opoids, the finer details of cancer, the end of America or something very like it.

This book contains all the madness of Don Quixote minus the wry humour of Cervantes. Cervantes took a pot shot, tilted at the cultural absurdities of his time. Quichotte does the same but the telling of this tale lacked that old magic. lacked any kind of magic, in fact.

And yet, and yet. Witness this killer crack: He had gone to India to visit family and friends and in a Bombay street an urchin was distributing business cards. He took one. Are you alcoholic, it read. We can help. Call this number for liquor home delivery.

Elsewhere, the Author is told: I`ve been reading your books sir, I estimate you are telling the reader that the surreal, even the absurd, now potentially offer the most accurate descriptors of real life. 

All this erstwhile fan/ faithful reader has to say is, in so so so so many tediously strung together words, sir?




CervantesDon QuixotefictionPenguin Random House IndiaQuichotteReviewSalman Rushdie

Sheila Kumar • October 30, 2019

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