Rating: 4 stars
Don Quixote was another literary bête noir that I decided to finally tackle in 2015. At that point, it had been on my bookcase for 22 years. I’d flirted with it, but always put it back on the shelf the instant I opened it and saw again the tiny print on the page.
Books I read in 2014 (I’m mainly looking at you, Tristram Shandy) were doing a call and response with it, though, so I decided I’d start my 2015 reading year by facing down the Don who tilted at windmills.
When I started the book, I was expecting something as 17th century impenetrable as Shakespeare. Don’t get me wrong, I like Shakespeare, but Don Quixote as a story is more accessible than old Bill. Reading it was worth it. It was far funnier than I expected, and charming in its telling of the story of a madman and his wise but foolish squire. I laughed out loud on many occasions, but most of all at the episode at the Duke & Duchess’ castle with the wooden horse. Poor Alonso Quixano. I enjoyed the connection between the adventures, with characters returning for further encounters with Don Quixote, and people spoken of in travellers’ tales eventually materialising themselves. I struggled with the last 200 pages, not because the story telling weakened, but because I felt fatigued with reading about the futile wanderings of Quixote and Panza.