30 thoughts on “Quichotte — Salman Rushdie


    Chapter One

    “If she does not consent to becoming your mother, then you will never be born, and so it follows that you wouldn’t be here now. Does that focus your mind?”

    In the age when anything can happen, with no frontier between truth and lie, and gaps forming for false memories, an ageing childless pharmaceuticals salesman called Smile working for the family concern called Smile, creates a gestalt from all the daily daytime TV shows listed here as his passion, including one woman star from that world – whom he loves from a distance with the certainty that she already loves him – a woman who will be the mother of that black and white filmic boy, a Sancho to his Quichotte, come down from nowhere to become his son. Which part is Smile’s hindsight and which part unrequited love, I, at a great age, fail to understand. You will probably understand this first chapter better than I do, but appreciate it less? You could not possibly appreciate it MORE than I do! But appreciate it you will. It is prime Rushdie. Not sure how old HE is now! Appropriately, with my usual preternatural serendipity in book reviewing, it is the perfect accompaniment to the retrocausal story SACRIFICE by Aleksey Remizov that I read and reviewed here: https://nullimmortalis.wordpress.com/22826-2/#comment-15209 earlier today before reading this first chapter. The thirteen objects with which Quichotte/Smile has an OCD relationship, from motel to motel, notwithstanding. Black and white drained towards so far because it is all print on white paper?

  2. Chapter Two

    I think I will soon fall in love with this book. I have that sense of preternature, as I now read about Brother who is writing the story of Quichotte. Both he and Quichotte, yoked together, come from Bombay, balanced between paranoia and entropy, now in America, mingling with American mœurs and the backdrop of its 9/11 EVENT (see my review recently of Priest’s ‘An American Story’). Brother is writer of the ‘famous Five’ Eyes spy novels as well as of ‘Quichotte’. In rift with his sister, but also a Brother by dint of his father being a brother without a sibling, if I recall correctly. Yes, this book for me personally is already a work of genius, because it sort of gives a raison d’être at last to my Gestalt real-time reviewing processes upon which I have been working hard in recent years, e.g. “…that the imaginings of creative people could spill over beyond the boundaries of the works themselves, that they possessed the power to enter and transform and even improve the real world.”

  3. Chapter Three

    “In one of those extraordinary coincidences that enliven real life but are considered suspect in fiction,…”

    Or considered suspect in fiction REVIEWS, too, but they are interactive coincidences (or more than just coincidences?) that have enlivened me now for well over a decade. This chapter is meaty adumbration of Quichotte’s to-be-requited love from starry actresshood, Miss Salma R. Her life and personality, and as an aide-mémoire, at least for me if nobody else, “the -wood bridge from Bolly- to Holly-“, “a whole wolf pack of phobias and dark mental troubles […] Miss Holly Golightly would later rename the mean reds […] a panther in the corner of the room, waiting for its time”, “Christmas Eve, the place where Christmas was eternally promised for the next day but never arrived”, “Her spy drama ‘Five Eyes’ […] “the series introduced a wholly imagined chief executive who was obsessed by cable news, who pandered to a white supremacist base…”, “She had wanted to call the show ‘Changing the American Story’”, “Immigreat!’”, and amid the trillion communications of her fan mail she happened to notice one “sent by a smile.”

  4. Chapter Four

    “Yes: we must sojourn for a time among the English, for so long thought to be the most pragmatic and commonsensical of people, but presently torn asunder…”

    We now reach the satisfyingly tentacular description of Sister’s backstory, her rift (even greater than the Brexit rift yesterday in real-time of BoJo and his BroJo), yes, her rift with her Americo-Indian Brother (writer of mediocre spy fiction, she thinks) and her own Anglo-Indian racial contexts and heady career moves and even headier marital relationships in West London. I can see what Rushdie is in no rush to do here. And I am utterly captivated. Quichotte’s Quichotte. But who wrote whom? Full of precious or rich or proto-accomplished characters, most of them beyond my social sphere, also above my non-fiction head but readily ripe inside my fiction one. Or “stories should not sprawl in this way,…” You need at least five eyes to keep a grip on this novel, I guess. Amid “digital fear, Wi-Fi fear, twenty-first century fear.”

  5. Chapter Five

    “‘But don’t tangle me up in any of that, YAAR,’ he added. ‘I’m a pharmacist. I make pills.’”

    We learn more of Quichotte’s relative — Dr. R.K. Smile, and his wife Happy. His smilingly ruthless business methods, his Trumpo-Indian fallibilities, his connection with opioids, (addictive opioids aptly called SPI, pronounced ‘spy’, in mutual synergy with the meta-author of Quichotte?), Happy’s ideas about his becoming a named philanthropist of the Arts, in this ‘Age of Anything-Can-Happen.’
    This stuff is mind-buzzing stuff. All accreting towards a gestalt that you can almost foresee, but not quite.

    “Why must I care about asteroids and escalators?”

  6. After quoting this shown below yesterday here in connection with The Night Land’s Last Redoubt:
    “…I and he were both I — the same soul. He of that far date seeing vaguely the life that was (that I do now live in this present Age); and I of this time beholding the life that I yet shall live. How utterly strange!”
    we reach now…

    Chapter Six

    There is something similar here but different to Quichotte and his Sancho son and two selves of the same self meeting in Hodgson’s ‘futureness’ of today’s increasingly soon-to-benighted world ‘thiswise’ – the Sancho son shown as a white silhouette on the book’s front cover. Yet it is the father shown with the white silhouette of a lance. Meanwhile, this chapter in effect represents the first person narrative of what a character feels having been created IN or AS a fiction, including his inbuilt memories and the nature of the pecking order of authorhoods or fatherhoods above him, and, by this means, we usefully learn more of the backstory of his father (and, in turn, HIS lecherous father) and what this son intends to do vis à vis his father being intent upon wooing the unattainable famous actress… Rarefied stuff! Hyper-imaginative literature in overdrive. After dealing with several items of SF and “that nonsense about the Doctor and the TARDIS.”

  7. Chapter Seven

    “Love is an audition, Sancho.”

    A beguiling section where Sancho develops as Q’s son from black and white, via a talking cricket and an INSULA, towards full-blooded realdom, but appropriately, before this, they discuss an old black and white dating game on TV, then role-playing Q’s mighty Quixotic quest for the woman he desires, heading towards the “possibility of the impossible” and the “quantity theory of love” as the balance of mutually exclusive opportunities in the well-known butterfly effect. Also much tantalising, almost Lovecraftian, material to absorb here on the uncaring power of the universe.

    “Once you’re born, you’re born, that’s all there is to it; by whatever means you arrive, you’ve arrived. After that you’re the boss of yourself, and responsible only to yourself.”

  8. Chapter Eight

    “We have not, thus far, explored Salma R’s private life in New York City, her dark side, out of respect for her privacy. However, the privacy rights of fictional characters are questionable —“

    My mind almost feels it has been treated with ECT by the fiction-fact pecking orders here! Just as one example, Salma fell for a man, in spite of his politics, because of his fiction aura akin to her old TV series, in fact he was “exciting fiction become fact.” Meanwhile I sense Salma getting closer and closer to meeting Q, as the fiction trends that way, the eponymous Q who is still on his quest for her, with a sending ‘smile’, his connection to SPI, factored into by her huge fame (even you have heard of her, I guess), and her ability to be anonymous at will, manic/ depressive (but which is where vis à vis her bi-polarity), her self-medication by dint of a “compliant pharmacist.” The while (sic) blackbird on her shoulder. Today’s breaking news about opioid dependency in UK: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-49639914

    “She reached back for childhood, for her mother, for India, and felt the dear remembrances of things past slipping through her fingers like sand.”


    Chapter Nine

    “normal normal”

    Sancho ponders on our world’s new normals, and our prophets, like gestalt reviewers and other visionaries, are insanitised by their own prophecies, an amazing symphony of symptoms of our mœurs today, symptoms that all readers of this book, by dint of simply being or wanting to be capable of reading and appreciating this book, can all recognise and extrapolate and FEEL. The white woman and the white whale and the sounds of snoring and the motel syndrome, ‘Twin Towers’ tropes à la Priest and much more.

  10. Chapter Ten

    “Beautiful from Beautiful.”

    I wonder why many of the American placenames in this book have their population number in brackets. This book itself fills my already huge head, and it takes all my imaginative effort to encompass it, yet paradoxically it is eminently understandable and accessible. I shall never fathom THAT.
    As Quichotte and Sancho, here from the point of view of the latter, pass through the various valleys, via vales and peaks, veils and piques of writing that bolster Q’s existence, with Sancho being bolstered by Daddy Q’s existence which is itself fictional. Yet, here, we see Q through S’s eyes. I shall never fathom THAT.
    It is its own mentioned “literary panache” that counts.
    Q is still in quest of the gestalt that is Salma R “creation of words, thoughts and TV images”.
    The white American’s colour prejudice lumps the various people of colour together, whatever their count in the population numbers.
    Sancho has his yearning for a young woman called Beautiful from Beautiful (pop. 135, 473). His witnessing a gunning down of one of her connections in a hate crime, notwithstanding (pop. now one less?)

    “There was just this odd couple, a father and his parthenogenetic offspring, heading towards their doom.
    GOD, SANCHO DECIDED, was the Clint Eastwood ‘Man With No Name’ type. […] God was the Silence.”

    Also contains the world’s first blank story entitled with Cage’s own silence: 4’ 33”.

  11. Chapter Eleven

    “One minute he’s inspired by old science-fiction garbage and the next instant he’s back on his mystical voyage of the soul.”

    Well, I know I expect authors to know that I am likely to gestalt real-time review their works, but when they seed a work with such an obvious reference of ridicule at me — well, I celebrate and reap such seeds they sow. Here the connections with and around Salma do accrete, her opioid trips (SPECIAL opioids here furnished by the Smile corporation) are described with Rushdie-rich panache, and her backstory of a grandfather trying to kiss her when she was 12, a grandfather who now turns out to look like the man in the photo Quichotte sends of himself with a smile. And we also get to know more about Salma’s casual stud Anderson Thayer who, through gestalt synchronicity, somehow creates the Smile connection….and brings her even nearer to an encounter with Quichotte (and his CGI son), or so I assume. Happy?


  13. Mastodons and megaphones!

    Chapter Twelve

    “And sometimes he [Sancho] had a stranger thought: that just as Quichotte had invented him, so also somebody else had invented Quichotte.”

    “The veil is ‘maya’.” And perhaps as they have passed through the ‘veil’ — now explicitly mentioned in this chapter following my use of that word (as ‘veils and piques’) in this connection above in my real-time review — it is not surprising that they have now hereby entered — at least temporarily, on their quest journey to New York for Salma R — a small town where there are taking place some ‘metamorphoses’ (explicitly using that word at least three times) of some of their townspeople increasingly transforming into mastodons! The population number thus varies! Also there are separate references in this chapter to this phenomenon’s “parameters of reversibility” and “reversibility”. Amazingly, meanwhile, yesterday (before reading this chapter) I happened by chance to read and real-time review here Kafka’s ‘Metamorphosis’, and I also then quoted something from it about reversibility at the end of my review of this Kafka! You surely can’t make it up.

  14. Chapter Thirteen

    “He’s afraid of her half-sisterly half-love.”

    Compare these Indian siblings a few hours ago here to similarly Indian ones in Das’ ‘Shade of Dusk’ and its containing book’s runt/non-runt syndrome. But which is which? Who disinherited whom, or who inherited whom? Meanwhile, the fifth valley of the valleys (veils) of purification that Q and Sancho need to travel, and they end up in a shared hotel room in New York, beset by “sex shrieks” from neighbouring hotel guests. It may be my ageing memory but I somehow knew Q had a sister – the Human Trampoline who professionally bounces people into better careers – a half sister as it turns out, but I somehow recall there were other characters in this book called Brother and Sister. Brother who created Q from fiction. Author and character, which the runt, which the non-runt? ANYWAY, Q needs to reconcile himself with his sister H.T. before finally completing his quest for Salma R, his self-betrothed Beloved. Meanwhile, Sancho (now with his own hopeful spreading of wings in a discrete existence of youthful endeavour) is attacked by people in New York, people with literal dog-collars. A Meloy moment? A nationwide cur-cult? Meanwhile, before handing out Smile corporation opioids to Sancho to ease severe bruising, Q watches on TV a man dealing with eschatology and “the growing instability of the continuum or gestalt”, the need for transcending such entropy by harnessing the fact that, as it says here, “everything is connected.” And I feel I have found my métier with gestalt real-time reviewing. This being part of such a transcending battle. And this book – particularly this pivotal chapter – is the tipping-point. But tipping which way? The NEXT of our alternating currents will eventually show me, I guess. The internet of “boxes”, a million million connections, button to button, channel to channel, parallel to parallel. Even SF-literary book to SF-literary book, scintillant with mutual leitmotifs, I say.

  15. Chapter Fourteen

    “Sometimes the story being told was wiser than the teller.”

    Brother and Sister now, from the point of view of Brother as creator of Quichotte, and Brother fascinatingly and poignantly adumbrates the parallels with Q and Human Trampoline and Q’s created Sancho, Brother’s own Son being involved in some diaspora and conspiracy that now come home to roost by hacking or phone phreaking into Brother’s world, this being handled by a big man whom Brother met before, in Reagan’s days. With intimations that “…the surreal, and even the absurd, now potentially offer the most accurate descriptors of real life.” As my Gestalt real-time reviewing since 2008 also attests?
    Here, a building involved, with a giant Boeing inside it as simulation training for flying: the Twin Towers syndrome again? Meanwhile, I cannot do justice to all this, but Brother feels guilty about the estrangement of Son, hence his creation of Q’s creation of Sancho. Brother’s Son also wears a Man of the Mancha mask in real life. In this regard, another important book is Tem’s Book of Days here, where a father also creates a world of historical facts into the gestalt fiction of default guilt (or vice versa), a guilt regarding father-son relations. Here in the Rushdie, a father speculates saying to his estranged son: “I have longed for you so much that I dreamed of an old fool giving magical birth to the son he never had,…”

    “That the Author’s life was fake, just like his book.”

    TODAY in the news: Purdue Pharma (makers of OxyCONTIN and other addictive opioids) for bankruptcy in the US (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-49711618)

  16. Chapter Fifteen

    “Life had become a series of vanishing photographs, posted every day, gone the next. One had no story any more. Character, narrative, history, were all dead. Only the flat caricature of the instant remained, and that was what one was judged by.”

    A moving chapter where Sister, via Daughter, has electronic reunion with Brother (famous writer of Spy novels, one featuring the son of Osama bin Laden who, a day or so ago, if the news is to be believed, was caused to die by Trump), a reunion via a surrogate’s chess move, on the day she is told effectively that she is a Friday Car… Sister’s backstory career in English high politics, but being “dragged’” through the mud regarding her complaints about the restaurant (named after the black composer Sancho), a restaurant beneath her abode, her then being suspected of racism. Husband Jack, a miracle in ‘drag’ himself, after her first cancer, remains her prop. A pawn to King 4, Sister’s Daughter. I am so pleased now to hear of this black composer called Sancho https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignatius_Sancho. And the mancha mask connection with Daughter. So pleased, too, that, although my real-time reviewing is so near the cheap Snapchat of the Internet, it is more, I hope, the optimum blend of that new mindset of “vanishing photographs” AND a solid gestalt literary prop of hawling, via a new chess game of dreamcatching, the best “and slash or” aggregate of two worlds? Then pasting them as print in books. What one once was given thingness. Beyond the reach of – or being given – a shadow’s blood? A “healing possibility.”


    Chapter Sixteen


    One of Chambers’ Lethal Chambers in The King in Yellow? Would fit, if so, because some kindred soul sits on high, I sense, above the portal between our fraying Earth and the NEXT Earth to where we may hope to escape. Evel Cent, purveyor of NEXT, is now on TV being interviewed by Salma, with Q, now in forgiving reunion with his sister the Trampoline (who once sort of dated Evel, as she tells us,) watching this TV programme, along with Sancho. There is so much going on here and I often think myself confused and struggling to link things into a growing gestalt of two alternate worlds, until from NEXT I come to my own rescue and make myself understand all of it with clarity. Surely no other book can make the reader’s split personality whole again. Bouncing off Trampoline. Reaching my own Seventh Valley, as Q reaches towards his own. Thinking about it, bouncing keeps coming up and it is surely no coincidence that I am concurrently reading a massive book that I have already found has leaping, hopping and bouncing slowly but convincingly emerging as a preternatural thread from loads of old classic fantasy stories here, as chosen by the VanderMeers. Meanwhile, “…a slow assassination” etc, as a sort of Zeno’s Paradox, ‘Before Google’, ‘After Google’, ‘Blowback’, the power of words in worlds between, the Great Instability, trust and “betrayal blindness”, the Interior EVENT, and now I feel confused again but exhilarated “like a child riding a bouncy ball.” I am confident, however, that I will soon be back in more serious control of my understanding of what I read. As I shuttle from this reader to NEXT reader. And surely it is not a coincidence that there is an arguable typo on page 263, “space—time” with an en dash instead of a hyphen…

    “‘He was always the wrong half of a half-brother,’ the Trampoline told Sancho”

  18. Chapter Seventeen

    “There were moments when it seemed that the whole world was echoing his work in progress.”

    …as I have in recent years felt that the whole world of hyper-imaginative literature is coalescing to follow my #GestaltRealTimeReviewing as a mutual synergy in fact. For example, incredibly, in this chapter, there is a plane’s potential decompression as Brother goes from America to England for reunion with his cancer-dying sister. And L-J, in a concurrently reviewed book called GLITCH, does parallel, with similar decompression incident, for reunion with his cancer-dying mother! With other similarities. These two new books were published simultaneously, it seems to me. One could not have known about the other when they were being written.
    Also there are internal interconnections between the two parallel worlds in QUICHOTTE, one ostensibly fictional, the other not. Brother and Sister / Quichotte and the Trampoline. The importance of the specific opioid now smuggled by Brother for pain-killing Sister. The opioid that connects the parallel worlds with an ironic Smile. The similarity of child abuse in Sister and Trampoline…. and more that I won’t spoil. The Death Angel, “In most of the world the veil is not a free choice”, the populism in England reflecting that of America, “arseholery”, the nature of a “keyshot”, the Intentional Fallacy of Cervantes and Brother’s SF novel, and this chapter’s poignancy to die for. One chess move too far.

    “Maybe human life was truly fictional in this sense, that those whose lived it didn’t understand it wasn’t real.”

  19. Pingback: Synchronicity rampant… | THE DES LEWIS GESTALT REAL-TIME REVIEWS

  20. Chapter Eighteen

    If a novel can have only one pivotal chapter, then this novel has proved that dictum wrong. Q, with his “comforting TV”, becomes beset by the newscaster talking to him personally. Should he avoid the news channels, as Trump was once advised, I ask? “And yes: every man had his own Grail.” And Q reaches the end of the queue in his Quest. Conspiracies listed on page 312, unbelievably believed by so many. “Even the coincidence of the Q of his pseudonym with the handle of the architect of QAnon…” Meanwhile “Shadows were treacherous and cryptic counter-selves…” Floaters and spots in the eyes. The world now seems one giant Glitch or QuITCHotte, “Not in the seeing thing but in the thing seen.” Escape enabled by Eval’s NEXT planetary earth? Simple an overburdened anagram of Smile. “Loyalty to our community above all. The brown before the white,…” on the day today in my own real-time when we learn of the truth of Trudeau and “…everything was connected, moved beyond harmony.” The crux of Q meeting his Beloved by that simple linkage of Smile and what pain its hit can cure. Hitman or pain solver? Including Q’s chat with Hans Christian Anderson Thayer. Our world seen through that veil of ‘maya’ again. “strive and vie,…” The Glitch events worldwide listed on page 331. And EM Forster’s “Machine was stopping.” And compare again that other Glitch book…

    “It was as if he were a character in a show on TV and owing to a technical problem the transmission had frozen…”

  21. Chapter Nineteen

    “…who is Sancho without Quichotte? […] Who, without Groucho, are Chico and Harpo?”

    Honestly, I literally cried at the end of this chapter. My view of fiction apotheosised, fading in and out like reception, ranging from high definition to early analogue, on the brink of Glitch’s cut-out, with ghosts and tutelaries like a cricket and a blue fairy, here Sancho on his bus journey to a place called Beautiful for a beloved called Beautiful, his version of Q’s Salma. On the dubious edge of stalking, but not quite. Night as a series of passing absences. Sancho, the filial product of an old TV-addled brain, desperately seeking a wifely WiFi, I guess.

  22. 4F7790A1-D944-407C-B867-5050A51BA678Chapter Twenty

    “This was when the streams merged and fiction became fact,…”

    This is the second coda as epiphany, rapture, apotheosis, but do these words overstate the case? The Author considers his own glitch of heart arrhythmia, the need to finish this book before such untowardness intervenes, the Author’s own relationship with his son, in a world of cyberwars the latter has been working on. The Author speculating on how characters like Eval Cent can unexpectedly take over his novel, for good or ill. The potential of escape from this dying world to a brave new one. Fears of his own solipsism. Revisiting the town which was once beset by Mastodons, with due acknowledgement to Ionesco. Speculates on how all literature feeds on such borrowing. Consciously or UNconsciously borrowing, I say, in tune with ‘the synchronised shards of random truth and fiction’ – and the serendipities causing or caused by my Gestalt real-time reviewing. Snapshots. And an airplane window again.

  23. Chapter Twenty One

    “, so that the book of how everything became nothing cannot be written,…”

    From opioids to “The voids.” From Terrorism to Errorism.
    This third coda provides the book an ending simply to die for. The ultimate ending to this genuinely magnificent book, and anything I say about the ending would spoil it. Everything before that, too, because it all leads to that ending. So please forget everything you have already read in this real-time review. It should hopefully vanish by its own accord — I say hopefully, as I am no longer here to delete it.


  24. Pingback: PIERRE MENARD, AUTHOR OF THE QUIXOTE Jorge Luis Borges | The Gestalt Real-Time Reviews of Books

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s