Don Quixote is the classic story. Called the first modern novel, this marvelous book has stood the test of time to become irrevocably intertwined with the fabric of society. Sixteenth-century Spanish gentleman Don Quixote, fed by his own delusional fantasies, takes to the road in search of chivalrous adventures. But his quest leads to more trouble than triumph. At once humorous, romantic, and sad, Don Quixote is a literary landmark. This fresh edition, by award-winning translator Edith Grossman, brings the tale to life as never before.
©2003 Edith Grossman (translation) (P)2003 Recorded Books
For all of my adult life I have been bombarded with snippets of Don Quixote never quite understanding the meaning and purpose of this figure. Listening to this excellent translation and performance, I reveled in the humor and wisdom and pathos and social critiques therein to be found. Remarkable!
It is mpossible to separate the three geniuses who made this such a fantastic listening experience. Of course they are Miguel de Cervantez - who wrote such an amazing piece over 400 years ago, Edith Grossman - who gave us such a glorious translation which reads like it was written both half a millennium ago and yesterday, and George Guidall who gives such an amazing performance that his every inflection becomes hilarious. The three together make this story wonderfully enjoyable from beginning to end.
Oh, puuulllleeeeze!!! Anyone who says their favorite character isn't Sancho Panza is lying or has been recently tossed in a blanket.
George Guidall's understanding of the humor and his ability to deliver it is spot on glorious. I think that had I read the book in print, I would have walked away thinking, "That was really good," but not "That was quite possibly the most hilarious and entertaining thing I've ever read." An absolute tour-d-force. One of my favorite narrations EVER.
Well, when poor Sancho got tossed in his befouled blanket, and then proceeded to remind us about the incident 200 times thereafter. Also the running "Helmet of Mabrino" gag was hilarious every time it came up.
Okay, here's a point I really want to make. My family and I listened to this recorded book (I had listened to it once before) on a couple road trips, which spanned maybe 6,000 miles. I have an 11 year old and a 13 year old, and mostly all they want to do is play video games non-stop. One of the best parts of the experience for me, was when the narrative was winding down, AFTER 39 HOURS, and my 11 year old says, "I wish Don Quixote never had to die and could just keep going on adventures forever." Seriously, this kid enjoying anything that isn't on a screen moving 200 majillion pixels/hr bores him, and he was thoroughly entertained by a classic four centuries old. Bravo Recorded Books, and thanks Audible for picking this title up.
My taste differs from kid books to gory horror books.
In one of the many introductions, the author mentions that he is not as well read or does not remember of what he has read in comparison to great works of fiction. He is advised to just mention other works and make things up. After the book is published, what can be done about it. This seems to be the advice Dean Koontz did in writing some of his books and quoting from The Book OF Shadows, a book that never existed.
As, one of the older classical works, this might be the most assessable to the modern common man. Unlike many of the other works, it is not full of poetic writing or long drawn out ways of saying one simple thing. If you are wanting to get your feet wet, I would suggest starting here.
The book is full of humor, only it gets silly and predictable. I would not want to listen to this all at once. I listened to nine and a half chapters, as it was too silly to continue for such a long time.
Guidall is one of my favorite narrators and he does not disappoint.
This is a superlative performance, thanks to George Guidall's unforgettable interpretation. I can't remember when I've had more fun. Don't be dismayed by the opening chapters, which are a challenging. Once Don Quixote and Sancho Panza hit the road, every scene is a delight. The characters are sharply drawn, the wit is sly and sophisticated, and the social commentary is relevant even today. Though I don't speak Spanish, I can't imagine a better translation. This is a book with a giant heart. You'll smile all the way through. I'd give it 10 stars if I could.
Very worthwhile. The book is all these things: funny, satirical, poignant, tragic, philosophical, profound, repetitious, and sometimes a bit tedious. The narrator is good, especially the way he does Sancho Panza, although there's not too much variation in the other voices. The obsession with women keeping their virginity, and the way moors (who are muslim) are sometimes discussed, can be tedious. But the whole book is rich in observations and reflections.
I was a bit daunted at taking on this huge classic. As an audiobook, it runs for over 30 hours. I had read only a little bit about the background of Don Quixote - I knew that it's considered by many to be the "first modern novel," and that there were two parts, published nearly a decade apart. Most of my knowledge of Don Quixote came from the musical, Man of La Mancha.
Don Quixote, Man of La Mancha, tilter at windmills, reviver of the profession of knight errantry, is a Spanish gentleman who has read too many books about the age of chivalry, and comes to believe they are true. Saddling up with a pot for a helmet and cobbled together armor, he sets out as Dox Quixote, the Knight of the Sorrowful Face, doing deeds of chivalry to glorify the name of his lady, Dulcinea (who never actually appears in the book).
A neighboring peasant, Sancho Panza, agrees to follow the mad knight as his squire, being fully aware that Don Quixote is mad and yet somehow convinced at the same time that the "knight" will fulfill his promise of achieving glory and riches and giving Sancho a governorship.
The adventures of Don Quixote are both amusing and tragic. Most of the book is picaresque, full of amusing, farcical characters not much less silly than the bemusing knight who is prone to attacking travelers, clergy, and windmills, under the misapprehension that they are giants or wizards under an enchantment. Most of Don Quixote's adventures end badly, with him riding off into the sunset leaving things worse than before. He and Sancho are a comical couple, always sticking together despite their frequent fights, Don Quixote mad and deluded (but, as the people he encounters frequently note, quite intelligent and lucid on all subjects except knight errantry), Sancho Panza a greedy, gluttonous fool who spouts made-up proverbs and amuses everyone with his simple logic.
Part One is mostly a series of misadventures, but in Part Two (written much later than the first part), Don Quixote and Sancho Panza develop more as characters, and there are also more recurring characters, such as the Duke and Duchess who, having heard of the "famous" knight Don Quixote, decide to humor him and be entertained by his adventures.
There is also a lot of meta-textual humor in the second part. Apparently after the publication of the first part of Don Quixote, one of Cervantes' rivals published an unauthorized sequel. Don Quixote makes reference to this "false" narrative about himself and encounters people who have read the fake Don Quixote stories - there are clearly a lot of in-jokes and little digs at the other author.
Don Quixote is a bloated, rambling novel that doesn't make a lot of sense at times, and like most early works of literature, is more of a stitched together series of stories than a single coherent work, but its recurring characters and a premise that carries through the (large) two-part book introduced ideas that would then be copied by other novelists henceforth. It's entertaining and should certainly be added to any well-read person's bookshelf, though I fear any translation loses much of the wit and linguistic wordplay, as well as the historical and social context, of Cervantes's original text.
Many people regard this as the greatest and one of the most important books of all time. I wanted to find out exactly why. At first, I was amused but slightly astonished by what I found - the book is farcical. I never disliked it, and the comedy and poetry of the writing were always enough to carry me along. But the further I went, the more the book melted down my defenses. By the end, I think I loved it and have a sense of what is so admired about this book. It is certainly unlike any of the other literary classics I have ever read before. Now I can't imagine missing out of the opportunity to have read the book.
The narrator is quite good.Very clear with a subtle change in voice for each character. His performance of Sancho Panza is the highlight. I have heard several narrators on audible who leave me awestruck. This wasn't one of those performances - this is the only reason for the 4/5 stars. I would however highly recommend this version (it's not clear to me what is missing from the performance - it just wasn't "magical"). The sound quality is excellent.
I can't comment on the translation. Some claim, this isn't the best translation. If that matters to you a lot, I would research this a bit more carefully
I had decided I needed to read Don Quixote, and did a search on Audible for a good version. The Edith Grossman translation was well regarded in the Audible reviews, so opted for this version... and was very well rewarded!
Translation is a funny thing, more art than science. Ms. Grossman did an outstanding job of translating not just the language, but the intention and soul. She has made this four-hundred year old classic accessible to 21st century readers, while still preserving the flavor of the age.
Typically, I download and read non-fiction works, where the narration is more documentary-style, and that suits the subject. For Don Quixote, George Guidall was better than I would have ever expected, in every way. The pacing, the myriad of voices for the wide cast of characters, the subtleties and dialect and understanding of the subject... were all reflected in this superlative reading.
Do not trust the historian who wrote the second adventures of Don Quixote, for he is from Aragon and writes of a false Don Quixote, much to the chagrin of the real Don Quixote. But fortunately, Don Andrea has testified that the Don Quixote of the second adventure is not the real Don Quixote. After all, the real Don Quixote never went to Saragoza, but instead went to Barcelona, where misadventures continued to befall him, where indeed, he met his comeuppance.
But do not despair for the noble knight errant, there is a true history of Don Quixote, one that can be found and read. One, indeed, in which the great achievements of the real and authentic Don Quixote and his squire Sancho Panza are recounted with great élan, not missing the faithful squire's considerable -- if unintentional -- witticisms. Why after all, would one stop at a single inappropriate proverb when a bird in hand is worth two in the bush?
Indeed, for the true historian of Don Quixote has captured not just the many witticisms of the luminous Sancho, but has in fact, anticipated all of the post-modern schtick. Who, after all, made the self referencing writer who questions the veracity of his own narrative, but the noble author of Don Quixote? Indeed, who but the author is so quixotic as to pre-empt the narrative twists of Tristram Shandy? Who, indeed.
For without this playful piece western culture would have been impoverished -- would not, in fact, have been able to tilt at its windmills! Indeed, it might like the hapless hero -- the knight of the sorrowful face -- have been left hanging on the blade rotating skyward. But, I say no more. For, to overpraise a knight errant -- for surely the author of so illustrious a history could be nothing less -- is to cause grievous pain. So, let us temper the praise; for praise tempered by wisdom is like the true tempered steel. And indeed, there are parts of the narrative that languish as if the noble author were given too much length of page, where indeed he should have stopped and blotted his ink rather than run on at length where such length was unwarranted, either because the subject was low-born or overly wrought. It does not matter. Suffice to say, at points it dragged.
Yet, do not for this reason, discount this noble history, for in it one is edified on more counts than one. Indeed, to enumerate so much would be tedious, dear reader, so I will leave it to you to discover the surprise -- like a Quixotian adventure (though hopefully requiring less bruisings for your squire).
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