Nicholas Mancusi in Time:
Quichotte, the Booker Prize long-listed 14th novel from Salman Rushdie, is pitched as a “Don Quixote for the modern age,” but the book–a brilliant, funny, world-encompassing wonder–is a far more ambitious exercise than mere homage.
The titular character (pronounced Key-shot) was born under a different name, in a city also under a different name: Bombay, now Mumbai. The Indian-immigrant traveling salesman of pharmaceuticals, aging, addled into holy foolishness by a lifetime of TV worship, and recently laid off, bestows the name Quichotte upon himself as a nod to Cervantes’ famous knight, or rather, as a nod to a French opera which was “loosely based” on the book. (“It seems you’re a little loosely based yourself,” Quichotte tells himself, aware that he might be cracking up a bit.)
Under his nom de plume, he embarks on a picaresque mission across America to win over the heart of one Salma R, a beautiful celebrity in New York City whom he knows only through the TV screen. For a squire to ride beside him in his Chevy Cruze, he conjures into being a son, named Sancho.