Cervantes Street

by Jaime Manrique

I began to conceive of a novel, not a pastoral or chivalric or picaresque novel, but a new kind of novel, about a man who in many ways was like Alonso Quijano, like my father, like myself; a man who per­sonified the age in which I lived; someone like Columbus, a man of humble origins, who dared to be an individual at a time when men like him were only allowed to have small aspirations. My hero would be a man who believed he was as deserving of human dignity as any nobleman; a man who would break away from all the others who had come before him, just as Columbus had, as all dreamers had from the beginning of history; a man who dared to be different; who, like Alonso Quijano, lived his life out­side the imprisoning conventions created by society; who would not be afraid to be considered mad; a man who em­bodied the qualities of a new kind of gentleman; who was as much a soldier as a man of letters; who understood that the ancient relationship between the common man and the prince was obsolete; a man, a true gentleman, who could relate to the suffering of other human beings; who would help create new ideals to aspire to; who knew that good deeds and admirable actions, a kind heart and fairness for all, were more important than privilege and birth.

—Jaime Manrique, Cervantes Street (Akashic Books, 2012)

Tags:
Novels
Excerpt
BOMB 121
Fall 2012
The cover of BOMB 121
Share