cover image The Enamored Knight

The Enamored Knight

Douglas Glover, . . Dalkey Archive, $14.95 (191pp) ISBN 978-1-56478-404-9

Cervantes's great novel, Don Quixote , has drawn the attention of writers such as Nabokov (who called it cruel) and Dostoyevski (who famously declared it "the saddest book ever written"). In this testament to his love of Cervantes's work, Glover, a novelist and short story writer (Elle ), offers an entirely sympathetic reading, in which no criticism (even Nabokov's) can withstand the claim of Cervantes's genius. The book's weakness lies in its structure: Glover can't seem to decide whether he wanted to write a book about literature and reading in which Don Quixote is the exemplar, or a treatment of Don Quixote that glances at literary theory along the way. As a result, his thesis never really coheres, and the reader is bombarded with extraneous descriptions of the many forms of humor available to a writer and the different ways to identify the novel form itself, from realist to romantic to "easy going." Still, the book contains beautiful insights into the characters and methods that animate both Don Quixote and the writing (and reading) experience, from the claim that Cervantes challenged the very notion of realism in fiction to observations about the ways in which desire functions in the production of all novels. (Nov. 10)