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Publisher's Summary

Don Quixote is one of the world's first novels and by far the best-known book in Spanish literature, was originally intended by Cervantes as a satire on traditional popular ballads, yet he also parodied the romances of chivalry. By happy coincidence he produced one of the most entertaining adventure stories of all time and, in Don Quixote and his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, two of the greatest characters in fiction.
(P)1998 Blackstone Audiobooks

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Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    259
  • 4 Stars
    173
  • 3 Stars
    136
  • 2 Stars
    61
  • 1 Stars
    57

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • 4 Stars
    83
  • 3 Stars
    51
  • 2 Stars
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Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A MUST READ CLASSIC

A must read classic says it all

16 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Don Quixote (revised sorry)

To only see Don Quixote de la Mancha as merely a book of humour, simply a manifestation of belly-laughs (which it does provide in abundance), would be seeing just the very fringe of its brilliance. What would be missed? Missing would be Cervantes as one the shrewdest observers of human nature ever.

Don Quixote seems a book running full-tilt at phantoms that have no existence, save in Quixote and even Sancho's imaginations. But the truth is, this book touches at the imaginings, and mines at the characters of us all. Don Quixote opens the window to all experiences, real or imagined, of existence -- our existence. Sancho is the first filter, the first critic of that experience, seventeenth-century Spain the second, and we, dear reader, the third. In this last taking we become the co-dependant Quixote and Sancho looking through the mirror; measuring the world amongst the impractical, the idealistic, the fanciful, and the truest of all illusions -- reality.

Still not said is the Cervantes' plays within plays, adroit social comment, and the author's cutting jibes at pretense. (And of course his broadsides at the pretenders to the True History of Don Quixote.) These departures present themselves carefully -- although sometimes abruptly -- as soliloquies, cutting criticism, contemplative moments, sonorous stories, and even as novels. In this, Cervantes is always intentional in leaving us wedded to the Adventure, while implementing these punctuating asides to incite and motivate our viewpoint.

Perhaps the greatest book ever written.

As to the reader of Don Quixote, Robert Whitfield? I would listen to him read the phonebook. Perfection!

41 of 54 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • James
  • Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  • 01-08-09

Excellent

I was a little apprehensions about the length of this "book" and due to some of the comments about the narration. After having given it one listen I can attest to the quality of the narration and to the fact that it uses a good translation (Tobias Smollet) which I thoroughly enjoyed especially due to the "Shakespearean" quality of the text. The narration is very well done using different voice characterizations and a variety of British accents to differentiate each character. Very funny. "You are in the right, friend Sancho."

31 of 42 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Tobin
  • Alton, IL, USA
  • 03-12-05

One of the top ten books ever.

Written in the early 1600s, Miguel Cervantes' novel about the delusional knight's adventures has become a classic staple of historic literature.

Don Quixote is a middle-aged man who, having read too many chivalric novels, actually believes he is a knight and sets out on his adventures. He is aided by his trusted squire, Sancho Panza, to whom Don Quixote has promised an island over which to rule once he completes his adventures and wins over his only love, Dulcinea.

The adventures which follow are exciting and entertaining. Don Quixote charges at windmills, mistaking them to be giants. He mistakes a country wench to be Dulcinea who has been enchanted by an evil magician's spell in order to look like a country wench. In short, he can't distinguish reality from his fantasy.

This novel is long, and unless you're a classic literature buff, you can get away with the abridged version. What makes the book such a classic is the complexity of the characters. Don Quixote isn't insane all the time--there are times when he seems to know more about reality than he lets on. Sancho Panza seems like an idiot for following Don Quixote around, yet Sancho goes back and forth between criticizing his master's idiotic notions and adoring some of them as well.

Moreover, the source of Don Quixote's madness is his obsession with books on chivalry. Yet this book itself is a story about a chivalric knight. By taking this story's message to heart, aren't we committing the same errors as Don Quixote did with his novels?

I liked Robert Whitfield's narration, especially his depiction of Sancho Panza. He made it easy to follow despite a large cast of characters.

33 of 45 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent

An excellent narrator and an excellent novel. Contrary to the statement concerning the received opinion about philosophical and literary merits in Wikipedia, the first part is better than the second, unless you really really like the idea of jokes being played on Don Quixote at his expense. I find audio books an excellent way of finishing really long books that I have never managed to read to completion on the printed page. Cervantes makes Don Quixote pay for his misguided love of chivalric tales with more beatings than the human body could realistically stand. This sadism is presumably the result of Cervantes' feelings regarding this literary genre. But ironically, in the novel nearly everyone else gets caught up in Don Quixotes' madness, and the common Romantic reading of the book is to find Don Quixotes' behavior admirable. The book is heralded as a eulogy to chivalry and Quixotic enterprises when the intent was to ridicule and quash. One can admire doomed enterprises for a worthy cause - but Quixotes' undertakings are all misguided and/or cause more harm than good. It's a pity another emblem for such things cannot be found.

12 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Bruce
  • Knoxville, MD, United States
  • 08-10-07

As enjoyable as Moby Dick, but with less whales.

If you haven’t read/listened to Don Quixote, it is worth the time to do so. Fighting windmills is over and done with right away, leaving a whole lot of adventure (and even more rhetorical digressions) for you to discover. I felt like I was listening to Moby Dick meets the Divine Comedy. I didn't get most of the inside and political jokes, and with an audiobook you don’t have footnotes. But I did the same with Dante, and didn’t really feel cheated. You don’t need to know who someone is, I think, if they are insulted with enough wit. I also learned that “At night all cats are gray.” Words to live by. I think I want to buy a copy in Spanish so I can look at some of Sancho’s quotes. Had Frodo taken Sancho instead of Sam, he’d have been in big big trouble. (Just had to point this out. It kept occurring to me all through the story.) I’m very glad I spent the time to listen to Don Quixote. I would complain about the ending, but considering that the day, age, and powers that were, I’ll leave well enough alone. The narration and accents were wonderful, and really helped keep my attention during some of the digressions.

27 of 40 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Dad of 10
  • Enola, PA, United States
  • 07-28-06

An excellent translation masterfully read

Extremely well read book that may be a little long for modern tastes. I absolutely adored it.

Unlike The Hunchback of Notre Dame where length and boredom is due to descriptions of things, the length of Don Quixote comes because of the fun Cervantes is having with the reader. Cervantes is an amazing satirist. He skewers every sacred cow of his time and tears his contemporary pulp fiction writers apart.

I loved it. I listen while I exercise. It is a nice engaging book, but not so deep that I have to pause.

9 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Very amusing; well read

I am pleased the reader is English, but for Americans this may not be as pleasing. I really enjoyed the interpretation and characterisation of the voices. It added much to the humour of the story. I never managed to read the book, but now dip back into it to read back favourite passages. This was my first foray into audio books and I declare it a huge success.

9 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Just remarkable

I was a little hesitant to invest 36 hours but am certainly glad that I did. The book is just remarkable. In places (mainly from Sancho) it is laugh out loud funny. Published some 400 years ago it is the most modern of novels, both self referential and in the second part attacking a false sequel.
The narration is excellent with clear, differeing voices for the main characters.

20 of 30 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

A classic tale; wonderful narration & a nit

This is a wonderful tale.

Robert Whitfield's narration of this classic is engaging. I frequently found myself grinning like an idiot or laughing out loud listening to this on my iPod, to some embarrassment on my part when in public.

Virtually all the characters have distinct and recognizable voices - one doesn't need to hear (for example) "Sancho said" to know that it was indeed the Honest Squire speaking. Bravo Robert!

The translation is modern and idiomatic. Now the nit. If I have a complaint against this translation it is that the translator obviously does not know that "whence" means "from where." Instead, we constantly hear "from whence" all the time which means "from from where." Similarly, hence, henceforward, thence, thenceforward are almost always proceeded with the redundant “from.” Very irritating, given the frequency of use of these words in this translation.

12 of 18 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Anthony
  • 09-26-06

Much stranger than I thought

This is a good rather than great reading of a fascinating text. We all think we know Don Quixote, but the novel is much stranger than I expected, full of meandering digressions and stories within the story. I usually like digressive fiction (hell, I write it!), but here I was desperate to get back to the main narrative of Don Quixote and Sancho. I haven't the space or the time to give a detailed critique of the novel, but I can say that it's one of those that I'm very glad to have read, rather than one I've loved reading. The translation here is the one by Smollett. It's (of course) very old fashioned, but at least you are getting two great writers for the price of one.

16 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • David
  • 07-07-14

A long listen, but an utterly worthwhile one

Where does Don Quixote rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I would rank Don Quixote highly among the other audiobooks to which I have listened. While the story at time goes off on massive tangents, the characters and their classic encounters make this an essential listen. The story has a bit of everything; it is by turns a comedy, a romance, an adventure, a drama, and ultimately a poignant tale of friendship. This translation, by Tobias Smollett, is written in a robust and lyrical style. I felt this suited the narrative, though I understand it may not be to everyone's taste.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Sancho Panza. The only real choices here are Sancho or Don Quixote himself, and of the two, Sacho is by far the better character. He is the real heart and soul of the story.

Have you listened to any of Robert Whitfield’s other performances? How does this one compare?

I have never listened to Robert Whitfield before but I was most impressed with his performance. I loved the voices he gave to the main characters and his performance was delivered with great energy and wit.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

It's as big as the bible, so no! However - and this isn't a criticism of the audiobook, but of the book in general - there are vast sections of text which could be lost and it would only benefit the novel.

Any additional comments?

Overall, this is a great book, and deserving of its place in literary history. However, there is no denying that it is far too long in places. For this reason I have only given it four stars for story, as it really did try my patience at time. However, once you get past that, you are in for a real treat.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • mitchell
  • 09-22-15

Brilliant

It does go on and on a bit but I feel better for having persevered. It is like Hamlet in its vastness.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful