With a wealth of fancy and an irrepressible high spirit, this beloved adventure story pokes fun at the exaggerated social and literary conventions of Cervantes’ day. Driven mad by reading too many chivalric romances, Don Quixote decks himself out in rusty armor and a cardboard helmet, determined to become a knight-errant and roam the world righting wrongs. He persuades the practical Sancho Panza to become his squire, and his inspiration on his quest is the peasant girl Aldonza, whom he idealizes as his queen of love and beauty, Dulcinea. From his first fighting encounter with a score of windmills to his climactic confrontation with a victorious enemy, Don Quixote’s feeble mind and heroic heart have earned him a place as one of the best-loved characters in fiction. A work consistently ranked among the greatest in all of literature, Don Quixote de la Mancha has inspired and influenced a host of notable writers over the past four centuries.
A Classic....takes some intellect
Okay. I'll be honest. This is a classic and everyone should read it, and preferably listen to it, at least once in life...sort of like the Bible or Shakespeare. The narrator is very interesting and adds a lot of spirit to the reading and has a nice accent that seems very appropriate. This is the down side. If you are not the sharpest tack in the shed...you may want to really take your time listening to this (which may take about a year). It is very deep, has a lot of metaphors and is not a casual listening type book. Also, don't fall asleep listening to it or you'll have some very weird dreams. With all of this said....try it. You might find the experience enlightening.
This novel is one of the originators of so many of the modes and morals we take for granted. Even centuries old, the stories are presented with a humor and muse that appeals to a modern reader...or in this case listener. The narrator keeps the listener interested with his pleasant tone and entertaining accents when representing the various characters. If you don't have time or patience to read Cervantes, I recommend this narration.
1775 translation by Tobias Smollett
I like Smollett’s translation because it does not have the awkward feel of a translation even if he achieved that by writing “what Cervantes would have written if he had been English”.
The narrator follows Smollett’s lead by using English voices. Don Quixote sounds like a slightly dotty old Oxford don, and Sancho Panza his fawning scout. The nasal tones given Sancho did become a little wearing after a few hours, but I was never in doubt who was speaking.
The preview comes from the prologue, which is not typical of either the writer or the reader. Most of the book, for instance, uses “you”, not “thou”.
The issue with all audible recordings is the difficulty in navigating them. Don Quixote is a collection of “chivalric adventures” embedded in a loose narrative. If you want to listen to (or skip past) Marcella’s story in chapter IV, for example, there is no easy way unless you took the trouble to note the file and offset the first time you heard this version of the book from beginning to end. For me, that lowers the price I am willing to pay.