Just as Cervantes wrote Don Quixote to satirize the culture of his time, Rushdie takes the reader on a wild ride through a country on the verge of moral and spiritual collapse. The fully realized lives of DuChamp and Quichotte intertwine in a profoundly human quest for love and a portrait of an age in which fact is so often indiscernible from fiction. Shortlisted for the Booker Prize.
Say his name like this: Key-shot. His quest is a long shot, and there’s a gun involved. (Trigger warning: The gun talks.) Quichotte needs more than one key to more than one door, although, at last, because this is a fairy tale, the final door opens by itself ... How we see the world—and how the world sees us—are the big themes of Cervantes’s epic. Rushdie’s version holds true to that tale, but because we are post-Freud, the matter of identity is also at the heart of Quichotte. Identity includes race. What does it mean to be brown and not white? What do white people see when they see brown people? ... Rushdie has always written as though the impossible and the actual have the same right to exist ... The lovely, unsentimental, heart-affirming ending of Quichotte...is the aslant answer to the question of what is real and what is unreal. A remembrance of what holds our human lives in some equilibrium—a way of feeling and a way of telling. Love and language.
Quichotte is one of the cleverest, most enjoyable metafictional capers this side of postmodernism ... A glorious 21st-century riff on Cervantes’s 17th century classic Don Quixote ... In Quichotte, Rushdie brilliantly demonstrates the way that a writer’s life seeps into their work, sometimes deliberately, sometimes less so ... The narration is fleet of foot, always one step ahead of the reader — somewhere between a pinball machine and a three-dimensional game of snakes and ladders ... We are a long way from the fertile lyricism of Midnight’s Children, and there is nothing here approaching the death of Changez Chamchawala in The Satanic Verses. But we are still watching a master at work ... Rushdie has taken bits of our shared lives, scraps of our language, and constructed a vehicle as wondrous as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. This novel can fly, it can float, it’s anecdotal, effervescent, charming, and a jolly good story to boot. I almost found myself wishing that it were Rushdie’s last book — because if so, it would be one of literature’s coolest sign offs, as Puckish as Prospero’s final soliloquy. But I don’t think anyone who reads Quichotte will want to release Rushdie from his bonds just yet. Applause, certainly, but also: Encore! Encore!
The novel begins promisingly...And then [Rushdie's] omnivorous imagination gets the better of his storytelling skills and it comes a bit unsprung ... by turns audacious, ridiculous and perceptive. Rushdie aims to encompass not just politics and culture in the U.S., but the U.K. and India as well. His text is a thicket of song lyrics, literary references, pop culture totems and factoids. But in attempting to include so much, everything suffers. Plot threads are dispatched cursorily. Incisive analysis boils down to correlation equals causation. Social commentary turns cartoonish ... Rushdie isn’t totally to blame, however, as reality today has become so implausible that true satire is difficult to conceive without pushing the boundaries into the realm of folly.