Guy Ridley, well-settled in late middle age, contends with several challenges.
He wishes to rebuild his relationship with his wife Gladys, from whom he has been separated for years. He works to resolve problems at the university that he believes the school’s leaders ignore. Because of urban renewal projects, he may lose the used bookstore he owns on the outskirts of a large university in the American Midwest. He struggles with a form of mental illness that brings demons into his consciousness. An avid reader, he begins to imagines that Cervantes’ Don Quixote and his squire Sancho Panza will relieve some of the burdens he carries. He finds satisfaction in his friendship with people who are sympathetic to him and in pieces of short fiction he writes, which are included in the novel, about the university and its neighborhood. Publication
Guy Ridley, in his late fifties, runs a used bookstore on the outskirts of a large university in the American Midwest. He has a few troubles:
Separation from his wife,
The onset of a mental illness that takes the form of oppression by demons,
Longstanding problems at the university continue to plague him
Life without steady, loving companionship on the margins of a a large city weighs on him.
Despite all this, he doesn’t give up on life or work. He strives to build up the arts in the local community. He takes pleasure in helping people who come his way. He reads constantly and has written two dozen sketches about aspects of university life that are included in the novel. He works to end the trouble that sent his wife away from the university.
A brief concluding section, written by a former employee at the bookstore who’s now on the university faculty. tells how Guy comes very close to disaster. Does he escape or sink?
This novel explores several themes:
The need for love,
The persistence of the past,
The value of stories.
Readers who love Cervantes’ “Don Quixote” may find this story very interesting.