Miguel de Cervantes;
Edith Grossman (Translator)
So far, I had been surprised and elated at every piece
of literature that was supposed to be great and then was. I thought Crime
and Punishment would be hard, but it was a quick, satisfying read. Anna
Karenina was very daunting, but completely worth it. Well, Don Quixote
has been called the greatest novel ever written ... but I don't see it.
I thought it was a big letdown.
To be fair, I only read the first book. There are two
- each the same length, about 500 pages. The second one is supposed to
be much better than the first, but after trudging through 500 pages,
I do not have the patience to do it again. Perhaps some day.
I did read the SparkNotes for the whole thing, and
sure enough, the plot seems much better in the second half. The first
book has no themes or point of any kind - just a series of
strung-together episodes of Don Quixote's wacky antics. Some are enjoyable,
but they are repetitive. (He tilts at windmalls right in the first 50
pages! This must have become the famous part since no one ever read past
The second half has a more cohesive plot, and even
an overarching theme - with Don Quixote representing nobility and Sancho
representing the common man, Cervantes shows that the peasants triamph
over tradition by making Sancho much wiser than Don Quixote by the end
of the the story. A nice metaphor for a dawning of an entire new era
If you want to read this, do the opposite of what I
did. Read the SparkNotes or CliffsNotes for the first half, then read
them along with the second half of the actual book.