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73 of 75 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful translation, and a heavy book
How can a person provide a review of one of the most important works of literature in the world? In my case, I don't think I can, but I can offer observations on what it felt like to read.

I first read Don Quixote in a previous translation, and finally made it through the first volume in a few months. It was like pulling teeth. I knew that it was a famous...
Published on 2 July 2006 by Big Al

versus
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Mixed Bag
So Don Quixote of La Mancha and his trusty squire, Sancho Panza take on the world in true chivalric style in a multitude of farcical adventures, ever fuelled by the cock-eyed lunacy of our hero, The Knight of The Sorrowful Face, or later, The Knight of the Lions, much to the amusement and mockery of those they encounter.

Book I is, in my opinion, weaker than...
Published 19 months ago by Woolco


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73 of 75 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful translation, and a heavy book, 2 July 2006
By 
Big Al (London, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Don Quixote (Paperback)
How can a person provide a review of one of the most important works of literature in the world? In my case, I don't think I can, but I can offer observations on what it felt like to read.

I first read Don Quixote in a previous translation, and finally made it through the first volume in a few months. It was like pulling teeth. I knew that it was a famous story, and techically interesting, but the first three hundred pages seemed like repetitive episodes of the same joke. It appeared little wonder that the most quoted chapter around tilting at windmills was the first one.

This time around, with Edith Grossman's translation, it was a great deal more enjoyable. The text flows beautifully, and where it is impossible to translate nuances or technical terms, she explains all in informative footnotes. For once, I can only agree with the publishers: it is the definitive translation.

This is well worth the effort of braving the initial episodes, and taking the time to read properly. For me, it's only after the famous events such as mistaking sheep for an approaching army and suchlike are out of the way, that the book becomes really interesting. There are fascinating novellas that dwell on relations with the Moors, and the perils of young love in the 16th Century, which are at least as good as the main text.

So, by all means, buy this version. Particularly the paperback. The hardback was too heavy to read in bed.
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69 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent novel, 21 Feb 2006
By 
Rizwan Din (Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Don Quixote (Paperback)
This is the best book I have read in a very long time. Edith Grossman has made the story very readable and deserves to be commended. When I started reading Don Quixote, even though it is over 900 pages in length, I tried rationing myself to ten pages a day, hoping to savour the imagery and stretch out the joy for as long as possible. Suffice to say I couldn't do it. I am now very close to the end of the story, and I am already feeling sorry for having raced through the last few hundred pages.

As for the storyline, it concerns the many adventuers of an old man who adopts the life of a knight errant (Don Quixote), and his squire (Sancho Panza). The novel contains many sub-novellas (short stories and digressions), and so it could be thought of not as one book but many. I will not give any more detail, but I will say the mix of the absurd and intelligent, and the masterly writing style of Cervantes (and expert translation by Grossman), makes for one of the best books of all time.

This is the only book of fiction that I am not going to sell on; I hope to revisit Don Quixote every year from here on. Also worth mentioning is the wonderful illustration on the front cover by Pablo Picasso.

Follow up - March 2011: I have read my copy of Don Quixote so many times that the spine has cracked and pages are coming loose and falling out. I also saw fit to rip out the rather off-putting introduction by Harold Bloom, where Bloom compares Cervantes to Shakespeare...it is a rather horrible thing that had to be done away with. Grossman's translation has had me transfixed and at times perplexed (do we admire or pity Quixote?). Indeed, my obsession with the book and its characters and ideas has not diluted over the years, but has grown stronger; I am half way through the book for one final time and while I feel that I must hold on to this masterpiece as a physical object of admiration, once I have finished this reading I am planning to tape the book up with sellotape so as not to spend any more time reading it. An eternal wonder.
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74 of 78 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly brilliant, 24 April 2004
By A Customer
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This review is from: Don Quixote (Hardcover)
I had put off reading Don Quixote for many years imagining that it wouldbe difficult to read. The weight of the book, physically andmetaphorically just seemed too oppressing!
I couldn't have been morewrong. I had read so many rave reviews of Edith Grossman's translationthat I thought I would give it a go. I'm so pleased I did. This book is"laugh out loud" funny - I was not expecting to read bits aloud andgiggle! I think I expected to have to work hard to get through it but it'sa complete page turner! It also has a cinematic feel which to a nonliterature student like myself seems way ahead of its time and thecharacters, major and minor shine from every page. I now know why peoplesay this was the first modern novel - it contains all the elements of agreat read that we now take for granted. I have not read any othertranslations but Grossman's prose truly brought the book alive for me. I'mamazed how a book written in the late 16th and early 17th century can nowbe read in such an easy and accessible manner. Don Quixote can be read onmany levels (the joy of all great books) but if, like me, you were put offby it's stature, don't be, just dive in and enjoy.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ultimately satisfying, 14 Jun 2004
I came to this book knowing very little, and at first found it quite hard going. But once I got into it, I became determined to make it to the end, and I was glad I did. It's split into two volumes, and the second is quite different in style and content to the first. Whereas in the first part we follow Quixote & Sancho on their misadventures through Spain, with LONG diversions into the lives of minor characters (almost like mini-novels within the full text and filled with outrageous coincidences), the second part deals mainly with characters who have actually read the first volume and decide to play along with the duo's delusions and have some fun at their expense. Both Quixote & Sancho change a lot through this second volume, going to some truly unexpected places (especially Sancho on his "island").
By the time the final chapter came to a close, my opinion was one hundred percent positive, and I shall definitely re-read it one day (when I have a lot of free time!)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Mixed Bag, 27 May 2013
So Don Quixote of La Mancha and his trusty squire, Sancho Panza take on the world in true chivalric style in a multitude of farcical adventures, ever fuelled by the cock-eyed lunacy of our hero, The Knight of The Sorrowful Face, or later, The Knight of the Lions, much to the amusement and mockery of those they encounter.

Book I is, in my opinion, weaker than the second. Long periods are spent in the midst of digressive tales relating to subsidiary characters. And though, I suppose, consistent with chivalric literary conventions, the stories of Book I feel somewhat one dimensional and repetitive. The number of young wronged maidens of unsurpassed beauty found roaming the Spanish countryside, for instance, is quite remarkable.

One might argue: accept it for what it is and enjoy the tale. Which may be good advice, but it would also be tacitly acknowledging that there is something lacking here. For a less demanding audience - children say - the shortcomings of Book I might go unchallenged and the episodic nature of the story as a whole quite appeal.

Book II is an improvement. Fewer, if any, digressions, and the focus is firmly on our two protagonists as they navigate fiendish deceptions and reversals of fortune. Some really ingenious predicaments together with a more intimate study of our crazed heroes. Much of the pleasure of the book is found in the thoughtful exchanges between them in Book II - though, I wonder if much of Sancho's humour and word play is lost in translation from the Spanish.

A monumental literary classic, of course, which I increasingly enjoyed. And, undoubtedly, two unique and hugely sympathetic, legendary characters.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE book to buy for a first-time reader, 21 Jun 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Don Quixote (Paperback)
This childrens' adaption of the Spanish classic, Don Quixote, is presented in comic strip format. For those unfamiliar with Cervante's 'Don Quixote', it is a tale of a Romantic Spanish eccentric who, determined to restore the chivalry of centuries past, proclaims himself a knight and goes on to save damsels in distress and nobly battle giants, dragons and deviant villians. If he can find any.
Obviously, the author could not condense two large volumes of tales into a picture book, so the first few adventures are told - involving mistaken (or are they 'enchanted'?) giants, two 'armies' of sheep, and a helmet (?) of pure gold.
The charm of this literary masterpiece is not lost in four centuries, nor in this abridged re-telling, and would appeal to readers from the age of four to that of nine or ten.
As a retelling of 'Don Quixote' this maybe earns four crowns, but as a childrens' picture book, it deserves six! Average: five out of five.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maybe the first, maybe the best!, 15 Mar 2005
This book is often referred to as the first modern novel, and written while Shakespeare was still putting on plays in the early 1600s, we can see why. It is also one of the best novels I've read, with some of the best characters in literature.

The story follows the Don as he sallies forth as a knight errant in search of adventure, to win honour and fortune. Unfortunately, Quixote is not a knight but rather an old man with an unravelled mind infected by the reading of too many medieval romances depicting such deeds. The stage is set for a hilarious tale of hallucination and misadventure. With Sancho Panza his loyal squire he takes on spirits, evil enchanters and most famously, of course, giants in the form of windmills.
As we follow the ingenious Hidalgo we find him increasingly endearing, his complete faith in everything he believes is disarmingly lovable while also humiliatingly funny. I found it a surprise that the comedy still holds up today, yet a man trying unsuccessfully against outlandish situations of his own making is very much a cornerstone of today's sitcoms and movies. The character is therefore a familiar one and immensely engaging. While we laugh at him, we can't help admiring his dedication and fearlessness, through this Don Quixote manages somehow to keep his dignity. Above all it is this characteristic that keeps our esteem for him so high.
Sancho Panza, the lovable squire begins very much as a simple companion, only there to highlight the absurdities of the situations invented by the Don himself, but the character grows artfully throughout the adventure becoming indispensable for his simple wit and practicality. This so at odds with the high-minded madman leads to great comedy as conflict and friendship mix to form a subtly growing relationship that provides the foundation of the story.
We also meet a whole host of characters during the course of the adventure, each with their own tale to tell. Using this, the author is able to entertain us with diverse digressions, and stories within stories that never allow the journey to get stale and boring.
A must, must, MUST read. Hilariously absurd throughout as adventure piles on adventure and a new tale unfolds with every character met. Cervantes is a talented entertainer that treats his noble creation with a tenderness we can't help but share, while all the time haranguing him with all the humorous predicaments his malady makes possible. It WILL make you laugh, and if you have any heart it will also make you cry. Fantastic!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a story well told, 20 July 2007
By 
David Wright (Cornwall UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Don Quixote (Paperback)
For decades I wondered what all the fuss was about. Don Quixote remained in my mind - a mystical figure from a closed literary genre of long ago. I browsed numerous editions from a multitude of publishers and translators, but could never get past the first chapter or two. Nonetheless something always drew me back to the knght who was misplaced in time, action and outlook.
Then I chanced upon Edith Grossman's translation, and came to realise that it's not the tale but the telling that makes a story.
Don Quixote leaps from the pages of this translation with a force that carries his doubtful but loyal squire Sancho Panza in its wake. This is an hilarious and serious work. It speaks of honour and ridicule and aspiration beyond one's means. And it was written 300 years ago. So what's new?
Read Don Quixote if you want to ponder timeless issues faced by every generation. Should you wish to read it without pain and in English, make sure you choose Edith Grossman's translation. It's a gift from the gods of literature.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An utter masterpiece!, 13 Mar 2007
By 
Thomas Pots "T Pots" (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This novel is a superlative piece of literature, at once eloquent and bawdy, poetic and brash, sweet and rude, traversing through all these contrasts with the delicate ease of a masterly author.

Gushing aside, it is the architypal rivetting read and, despite its huge size, it is divided into many small episodes that make it idea bedtime reading. This translation is excellent and very well researched - there are masses of notes and references at the back to explain the meaning and context of thousands of names, phrases, verses, songs and historical events mentioned in the book.

I doubt there is praise too lofty for this book. I have no hesitation in recommending it.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maybe the First, Maybe the Best!, 27 May 2005
This book is often referred to as the first modern novel, and written while Shakespeare was still putting on plays in the early 1600s, we can see why. It is also one of the best novels I've read, with some of the best characters in literature.
The story follows the Don as he sallies forth as a knight errant in search of adventure, to win honour and fortune. Unfortunately, Quixote is not a knight but rather an old man with an unravelled mind infected by the reading of too many medieval romances depicting such deeds. The stage is set for a hilarious tale of hallucination and misadventure. With Sancho Panza his loyal squire he takes on spirits, evil enchanters and most famously, of course, giants in the form of windmills.
As we follow the ingenious Hidalgo we find him increasingly endearing, his complete faith in everything he believes is disarmingly lovable while also disastrously funny. I found it a surprise that the comedy still holds up today, yet a man trying unsuccessfully against outlandish situations of his own making is very much a cornerstone of today's sitcoms and movies. The character is therefore a familiar one and immensely engaging. While we laugh at him, we can't help admiring his dedication and fearlessness, through these Don Quixote manages somehow to keep his dignity. Above all it is this characteristic that keeps our esteem for him so high.
Sancho Panza, the lovable squire begins very much as a simple companion, only there to highlight the absurdities of the situations invented by the Don himself, but the character grows artfully throughout the adventure becoming indispensable for his simple wit and practicality. This so at odds with the high-minded madman leads to great comedy as conflict and friendship mix to form a subtly growing relationship that provides the foundation of the book.
We also meet a whole host of characters during the course of the adventure, each with their own tale to tell. Using this, the author is able to entertain us with diverse digressions, and stories within stories that never allow the journey to get stale and boring.
A must, must, MUST read. Hilariously absurd throughout as adventure piles on adventure and a new tale unfolds with every character met. Cervantes is a talented entertainer that treats his noble creation with a tenderness we can't help but share, while all the time haranguing him with all the humorous predicaments his malady makes possible. It WILL make you laugh, and if you have any heart it will also make you cry. Fantastic!
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Don Quixote (Wordsworth Classics)
Don Quixote (Wordsworth Classics) by Miguel De Cervantes Saavedra (Paperback - 5 May 1992)
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