Book Notes: Salman Rushdie’s Quichotte, part 1

I’m only half-done with the book, but I’m so enthusiastic about it that I can’t help saying something about it already.

First, a small disclaimer. I’m a huge fan of Rushdie’s and I’m positively predisposed to anything he writes. Even so, I think Quichotte is the best novel of his that I have read. It’s on the Booker Prize short list, and it’s definitely well-deserved, although I believe he has a very strong competitor on that list.

The novel has two strands. One has to do with a sort of a rewriting of Don Quixote, as is clear from the title. The second is about Indians and the opioid epidemic. Rushdie is amazing at writing about Indians. I’m not sure I understand his decision to make the Sacklers Indian and attribute the evil they did to an immigrant’s lack of respect for borders and boundaries, including those of a moral sort. But his writing about opioids doesn’t feel opportunistic or exploitative.

The Quixote part seemed strained and unnecessary at first. It’s filled with all sorts of Resister-type rhetoric, so I couldn’t get into it at first. But the deeper it gets, the less annoying it becomes. I’m still forcing myself not to leaf through the Quixote parts to get to the Indians but it’s getting easier.

Still, I can already see it’s a wonderful, wonderful novel from a really amazing writer.

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