Synopses & Reviews
A Latinidad List
Best Book of 2012
"Cervantes Street is exciting to read...Under Mr. Manrique's pen, the world of renaissance Spain and the Mediterranean is made vivid, its surface cracking with sudden violence and cruelty...This novel can be read as a generous salute across the centuries from one writer to another, as a sympathetic homage and recommendation...Cervantes Street brings to life the real world behind the fantastic exploits of the knight of La Mancha. The comic mishaps are funnier for being based in fact. The romantic adventures are more affecting. Cervantes Street has sent me back to Don Quixote.
--The Wall Street Journal
"Manrique adopts a florid, epic style for his tale of 16th-century Spain, one with the quality of a tale told by a troubadour rather than written on the page. He ably captures the human qualities of the legendary writer, as well as his swashbuckling."
"Manrique has penned a well-written, well-researched, fast-paced narrative ... An entertaining book ... and a superb retlling of Cervantes's life."
"Cervantes Street is historical fiction at its best. Compact and intense... The characters are wonderfully draw, the environments are detailed and colorful and the feeling is genuine... a gripping, adventuresome novel with profound insight into the ways in which we choose our destiny."
--New York Journal of Books
The novel is exciting, paced well, interesting and with a literary mystery to boot.”
"Hold onto your hats because Manrique has crafted a brilliant pastiche... This fun, diverting, swift odyssey into Cervantes' travels... puts tall tales where they belong, in capable fiction... Cervantes Street should be in your hands."
"A sprawling vivacious big-hearted novel. Manrique is fantastically talented and this is perhaps his masterpiece."
The actual facts of Miguel de Cervantes's life seem to be snatched from an epic tale: an impoverished and talented young poet nearly kills a man in a duel and is forced into exile; later, he distinguishes himself in battle and is severely wounded, losing the use of his left hand; on his way back to Spain his ship is captured by pirates and he is sold into slavery in Algiers; after prolonged imprisonment and failed escape attempts, he makes his way back home, eventually settling in a remote village in La Mancha to create his masterpiece, the first modern novel in Western literature: Don Quixote.
Taking the bare bones of Cervantes' life, Jaime Manrique has accomplished a singular feat: an engaging and highly accessible take on a brilliant, enigmatic man and his epoch. This is an archetypal tale of rivalry and revengefeaturing Cervantes's antagonistic relationship with the man who would go on to write his own sequel to Don Quixotethat is sure to garner comparisons to Peter Shaffer's Amadeus, Alexandre Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo, and, with its extraordinary recreation of the life and times of Cervantes, to Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall.
Jaime Manrique is a novelist, essayist, and poet. His critically acclaimed novels include Latin Moon in Manhattan and Our Lives Are the Rivers. He is a Distinguished Lecturer in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature at the City College of New York.
"Novelist, essayist, and poet Manrique (Our Lives Are the Rivers) reimagines the already larger than life true story of Miguel de Cervantes, who flees Madrid after a near-fatal duel, loses use of his left hand in battle, is kidnapped and sold into slavery by pirates, who believe he 'will fetch a good ransom because he's a war hero' and, finally, pens the masterwork Don Quixote. Too good a story to be true? Perhaps, but what Manrique is really interested in is not the sensationalism of Cervantes's life but his star-crossed relationship with Luis de Lara, who lacks Cervantes' talent and heart, but gets the money and the girl. Neither man is satisfied with his lot in life, and they compete and support each other in turn, both jealous of what the other man possesses (Manrique assumes both points of view). Manrique adopts a florid, epic style for his tale of 16th-century Spain, one with the quality of a tall tale told by a troubadour rather than written on the page. He ably captures the human qualities of the legendary writer, as well as his swashbuckling, and explores the downside of artistic talent, even offering a theory about the origins of the false Don Quixote. Agent: Thomas Colchie. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Cervantes like we've never known him: the rogue, the lover, the soldier, the slave, and above all, the poet. In this novel, Jaime Manrique reminds us that the great writer was a man of flesh and blood whose eventful life seemed destined for great literature."
"Jaime Manrique has written an exceptional historical novel, recreating with imagination and detailed accuracy the world of Late Renaissance in Spain. Manrique's rendering of the life of Cervantes is brilliant, and his solution to the mystery of who wrote the false Quixote is fascinating, and very persuasive."
A mesmerizing fictional biography of Miguel de Cervantes (author of Don Quixote) that Junot Diaz calls a "masterpiece."
About the Author
Jaime Manrique: Jaime Manrique is a novelist, essayist, and poet who lives in New York. His critically acclaimed novels include Colombian Gold, Latin Moon in Manhattan, and Our Lives are the Rivers.