Book Notes: Salman Rushdie’s Quichotte, 2

OK, so I finished the novel, and now I’m even more sure that it’s the best Rushdie’s ever written. Which is saying a lot because everything he’s written is brilliant. But this novel is so so good.

Quichotte is a heavily postmodern novel, so I can’t recommend if it’s not your kind of thing. But if you are at all capable of tolerating anything beyond hardcore realism, then this is the novel to slide yourself into an adventurous reading mode. And there are twists of the plot, including one at the end even I didn’t anticipate!

If you are a professor of literature, drop everything and read the novel. There’s nothing you are doing at work more important than reading a brilliant novel, believe me.

Loved, loved, loved the novel, need to reread it immediately. If Quichotte doesn’t win the Booker, that will be completely ridiculous.

Should People Know about Terminal Diagnoses?

In the USSR, there existed a tradition of not telling people about their terminal diagnoses. I always thought this was wrong because people deserve to know the truth about themselves, all that crap.

But now I’m thinking about my friend who died two weeks ago. What did she gain from knowing her diagnosis for 4 years? She’d been a happy person the day before she was told. It’s not a way of speaking. She was incandescently happy about her life.

And the day after the diagnosis, she was just as sick but now her life was effectively over. All she could think about was the diagnosis. What was the point of stealing those remaining years from her? Or having her undergo an extremely painful back surgery when she had 3 months left to live and the surgery wasn’t going to do anything to reduce the tumors?

What was the point of all this? She had barely any symptoms and no pain except for what was caused by these useless treatments. And any months or years she gained because of the treatments, she was so miserable that it wasn’t really life. Which is what she said, so it’s not my assumption.

And if we accept that a mental state has an impact on one’s physical state, how does it help to make a person severely depressed? I honestly can’t imagine that it helped her fight cancer to sit and brood about the injustice of it all.

I honestly don’t know what the answer is. What do you think?