Don Quixote

Monday, August 21, 2006
A friend of mine has challenged a group of us to read Miguel de Cervantes' "Don Quixote". She's having a party this weekend for us all to get together and discuss the book, share some Spanish cuisine and have a little fun. It's a long book - my edition, translated by Edith Grossman, is 940 pages long. Now, that's not a big problem, I've read big books before. One of my all time favourites (other than Jane Eyre) is Alexandre Dumas' "The Count of Monte Cristo". READ IT. REVENGE is better than Christmas. And PATIENCE is definately a virtue.

I have to confess that it was never a book that I had a desire to read. I didn't know much about it other than he was some spanish guy who ran around attacking windmills. However, I said that I'd go so I picked up a copy, and it sat on my table for about a month. To be honest, I wanted to finish Arthur Herman's "To Rule The Waves" before I attempted to dive into the adventures of the man of La Mancha. However it took a lot longer than I had hoped. Late last night, I finished it off (a pretty good overview of the rise and unfortunately, the fall of the greatest naval power the world has ever known).

With 6 1/2 days to finish (or to come as close as possible) it seems a near impossible task. That would be over 150 pages per day! Yikes. Very daunting indeed but I'm always willing to tackle a problem head on so I opened it up and started reading. I quickly decided to bypass the prologue, note by translator, and the introduction.

I need to confess that I've had some bad experiences with fiction lately. The last bit of fiction I read was Timothy Findley's "Pilgrim". I had wanted to read this book for over a year and finally got a chance to. Despite the great overview on the cover, it wasn't as good as they made it out to be although it wasn't too bad. The one before that was Dostoevsky's "Crime and Punishment". This was an amazing book - I LOVED IT. That is until the last 10 pages which completely blew chunks. It was as though Dostoevsky didn't know how to end it (I had a number of GREAT ideas) so he just gave up . After those two disappointments, I decided to stay away from fiction for awhile. So it was with not a small amount of apprehension that I cracked the cover on Don Quixote.

Why didn't someone tell me how fantastic this book is? It has to be one of the funniest things I have ever read! Granted I'm only 70 pages is and we've already covered the Windmill scene, but I'm dying to get a chance to jump back in. I'm fairly certain that this is going to become one of my all time favourites - I just hope that this doesn't turn out to have an ending like C&P...


Wandering Coyote said...

I find Findley hit and miss. I loved The Telling of Lies, and Not Wanted on the Voyage was good but weird. Headhunter gave me the willies. But I couldn't get into The Wars, which he is famous for, and I tried reading The Pianoman's Daughter but couldn't get into it.

Candy Minx said...

Oh oh I LOVE DQ. And I am very happy to hear you find it funny....yes it is true not many people mention it is funny. I have read this with my online book club which really helped kleep me focused, its a heck of a long read. Good thing you've got a group going. I am reading Proust right now, read it as a kid...and I am enjoying it WAY more now...and no one says Proust is hilarious, sly and funny dialogue and characters.

Can't wait to hear what you think of the rest of it...

Karen said...

Hi Candy! Oh my goodness! This is hilarious! DQ and Sancho just left an inn (which of course he thought was a castle) where they got beat up yet again. And sancho was thrown into a blanket and tossed around. They then encountered two herds of sheep which were "attacking each other". I soooo wish I didn't have to work...I'd spend all day reading this!

WC - I'd like to read Not Wanted but am a bit leary after the disappointment with Pilgrim.

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