24 October 2007

The 200-word review: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (trans. Edith Grossman)

Don Quixote is called the first modern novel, and many say it’s one of the greatest. I think many are saying that just to sound intelligent and hoping that nobody reads it. In its time it may have been great, but to my modern mind, this book is boring, repetitive and ludicrously long. A parody on chivalric novels, it could have achieved its ends in 100 pages rather than 940.

Don Quixote is a man who’s read too many chivalric novels and thinks he’s a knight errant. He appoints the village idiot, Sancho Panza, as his squire and goes in search of adventures. Most of these adventures feature increasingly beautiful blonde women and revolve around supposedly amusing incidences of mistaken identity, with Quixote believing inns are castles, windmills are giants and the aforementioned beautiful blondes are exotic princesses. None of the adventures are connected and the whole story is so disjointed I would often get to the end of a chapter wondering if there was any point in me reading it since it had no relevance. The second part, published twenty years after the first, is more cohesive and interesting, but it’s still not worth three months of my life!

1 comment:

SHOEGAL said...

So are you starting 'War & Peace' next then?