Why did I love this book?
Don Quixote, who first appears in public in 1604, imagines himself riding around the world saving damsels in distress, righting wrongs, and punishing criminals, and his imagination is so powerful that it drives his life. I believe, therefore I am! That his beliefs are delusional does not seem to matter.
The only people he actually helps are the leisured aristocracy, who stand as proxy for all who dwell in the modern world. They become fascinated by his adventures—and for the very quality in him that they lack, his capacity for life. To use the terms of Don Quixote’s leading twentieth-century disciple, the great Gatsby, his redeeming quality is an enormous capacity for dreaming.
Nick, the narrator of The Great Gatsby, is perpetually on edge and lost, within and without, until he finally encounters someone who moves. Gatsby, this shadowy Caesar, attracting rumours like a light-bulb attracts moths, is bathed in a magical aura. But reality, which is sordid, soon crushes the beautiful dreams and the dreamer himself.