“The Little King”
by Salman Rushdie
from the July 29, 2019 issue of The New Yorker
It’s been a while since I really enjoyed something by Salman Rushdie, but I haven’t been keeping up with his most recent two novels, Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights and The Golden House. I’ve always found his style compelling — the voice he employs will often sweep me through one of his books — but as my years have extended I’ve been unable to see much more that I connect with. I’m sure a lot of that is just me, so I welcome the opportunity to read something new. This piece is an excerpt from his forthcoming novel, Quichotte, which is scheduled to hit shelves in the United States on September 3.
As expected, the voice of the first paragraph is welcoming:
There once lived, at a series of temporary addresses across the United States of America, a travelling man of Indian origin, advancing years, and retreating mental powers, who had developed an unwholesome, because entirely one-sided, passion for a certain television personality, the beautiful, witty, and adored talk-show host Miss Salma R., whom he had never met: an infatuation that he characterized, quite inaccurately, as love. In the name of this so-called love, he christened himself Quichotte, for the opera “Don Quichotte,” and resolved to be his “beloved” ’s knight-errant, to pursue her zealously right through the television screen into whatever exalted high-definition reality she and her kind inhabited, and, by deeds as well as by grace, to win her heart.
It’s got Rushdie’s usual fairy tale tone, and it mixes in his interest in playing with his own story: Salma R. And obviously he’s also playing with Don Quixote.
I haven’t been able to read the story yet, so I’ll leave this here for now. Please feel free to comment below and let me know your thoughts on Rushdie’s work, this story, your interest in Quichotte, etc.