Friday, January 22, 2016

Reader's Diary #1248: Miguel de Cervantes: Don Quixote

Often it's the case that when I finally wrap up an exceedingly long book, any lingering negativity I'd felt toward it begins to dissipate. I think, perhaps, of the time I spent on it a fondly. Plus there's a sense of accomplishment that might just cloud my judgement over the book's merits. Despite feeling completely bogged down in the sewers during Les Miserables, I still wound up enjoying it overall. I joked at the time that I'd gotten Stockholm Syndrome (there being no such phrase as Paris Syndrome, of course).

I wish I could say the same about Don Quixote. But, when the last chapter came around and it was titled, "On How Don Quixote Fell Sick, And of the Will He Made, And How He Died" I read it with relief. I've been picking away at this clunker for over a year. Thick as it was, that was still on the slow side, I admit, but there were periods when I just couldn't bear to pick it up as I'd grown so bored.

I do, however, remember at the very beginning thinking of how much I'd enjoy it. It started off funny, meta, and I started to think there could be a very interesting point to discover: are we all living naively like Don Quixote, convinced our lives have purpose when they don't? Is Don Quixote like an author, and us readers like Sancho?

Whatever the point was, it was lost in the details of a gazillion pages.

On the plus side, I do want to visit Spain now!

1 comment:

gypsysmom said...

I listened to Don Quixote and finished just a few weeks ago. I think it helped me get through it since your comments reinforced what I said in my review after I finished. I have a theory that books that were written more than 100 years ago work better when they are read aloud because the authors knew that many people were illiterate and they would be listening to someone else read rather than read them themselves. That would have been especially true when Cervantes was writing I think. I thought the humour and implausibility really came through because the narrator could inject those notes into his voice. I know lots of people don't like audiobooks but for me, if they have a good narrator, they are a pleasure. It may date back to my early years when we had no TV and we listened to radio serials. I enjoyed using my imagination to see the characters and the settings. Of course I do that when I read but since I am using part of my brain to process the words I don't think I imagine as vividly as when I am listening.

Forgive my lengthy musings. Congratulations on finishing a big tome.