A truth hidden within a fiction, within a fiction is what we are presented with by Eytan Halaban’s, Don Quixote Goes to Yale. Michael is an undergraduate at Yale, just about to graduate, who becomes fixated, nay obsessed, with the story of Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. Prompted by his Professor’s words, Michael goes in search of the hidden truth within Cervantes’ work of fiction – the treasure of Ricote. Michael’s girlfriend, Liz, a no-nonsense economics student thinks he is insane and threatens to disown him if he continues with this obsession, but she is in love with him. When Michael heads to Spain during Spring Break, to seek the treasure, Liz reluctantly follows behind him, still seeking to change his mind and encourage him to enjoy an all-expenses paid vacation with her. A collection of ne’er-do-well’s, also looking for the clue that will reveal the hidden treasure, are lurking in the background ready to pounce. Michael is not alone, though. Fortunately, he has his imaginary friend Boomie, a reflection of himself, to help him, plus of course, Cervantes and his book, Don Quixote.
I loved the premise of this story and must congratulate Eytan Halaban for his cleverness in constructing this idea. The story itself was a wonderful immersion into the times of Cervantes and Don Quixote. What I particularly liked about this tale was the way the author was able to weave the original Don Quixote text into his story. The fifteenth century text and the fades in and out into that time, by Michael, just added to the uniqueness and cleverness of this tale. Don Quixote Goes to Yale is a triumph, in my opinion. The author has woven together a modern story wrapped around the famous and classic tale of Don Quixote and his tilting at windmills. It was certainly easy to equate the modern-day Michael to the bumbling and perhaps slightly mad Don Quixote of Cervantes’ imagination. Michael’s journey to Spain was, it seems, a veritable tilting at windmills… or was it? An excellent book and one I’m sure all aficionados of classical literature will enjoy and lap up.