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The Enchantress of Florence

3.56  ·  Rating Details ·  14,000 Ratings  ·  1,766 Reviews
A tall, yellow-haired, young European traveler calling himself “Mogor dell’Amore,” the Mughal of Love, arrives at the court of the Emperor Akbar, lord of the great Mughal empire, with a tale to tell that begins to obsess the imperial capital, a tale about a mysterious woman, a great beauty believed to possess powers of enchantment and sorcery, and her impossible journey to ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published May 27th 2008 by Random House (first published 2008)
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jordan
Sep 04, 2008 jordan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
On occasion a novel receives harsh treatment from critics not based on the actual work, but rather because it is not what the critics want it to be; this then is the only explanation I can find to explain the harsh, often shrill, reviews received by Rushdie's equisite "The Enchantress of Florence." Having read several of these negative assessments I find the same sub-text runs through them all, namely the complaint that "Enchantress" is neither Rushdie's masterwork "Midnight's Children" nor that ...more
Madeline
Jul 29, 2015 Madeline rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a little over halfway through this and so far almost every single female character is a prostitute or a slave. Three women have committed suicide because of a man. Also there's a female character who is literally a figment of a male character's imagination and she's more dynamic than any of the (few) real women in this fucking book.


description

Ugh. Most likely will not finish.
Algernon
Jun 12, 2011 Algernon rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011
Welcome to realm where Story reigns, courtesy of the master of ceremony Salman Rushdie.
In a somptuous palace of red stone dwells the absolute ruler of the world, the great Mughal Emperor Akbar the Great - warrior, philosopher, despot and lover. A setting worthy of the Arabian Nights, and according to those tenets here comes a traveler / con-artist / magician calling himself the Mughal of Love, He will have to redeem his life like Scheherezade through stories : improbable stories, fantastic stori
...more
Elizabeth (Miss Eliza)
While every review seems a need to state the basic plot of the yellow-haired stranger appearing in Akbar's court I will quickly skip over this and go straight to what I thought. I felt that the book was very uneven, there where parts that were just wonderful and deserving a full five stars, in particular the story of the illuminator who disappeared into his own artwork and the concept of Jhoda, and others that were so very boring that the average became a two.

The main problem I had was that it
...more
Ben Babcock
As a neophyte of Salman Rushdie's work, I was not fully prepared for The Enchantress of Florence, although I should have been. Rushdie possesses an uncanny ability to manipulate perspective. In his stories, the flow of time is always questionable, and subject to change--if it flows at all. And his characters are larger-than-life, capricious archetypes that embody the virtues and flaws of humanity.

In this novel, Rushdie runs two stories parallel to each other: that of Emperor Akbar's court, the e
...more
Bonnie
I'm surprised with the hatred I feel towards this book. I mean, it's Salman frickin' Rushdie, right? Isn't he some kind of literary god? I'm going to have to read his other books to see, because this one was trash.

I've read sexist books before. There are plenty of them out there, but usually I can glide over the sexist bits because overall the plot/characters/writing are good enough that I choose to ignore the fact that the women are horribly written (looking at you, Robert Jordan). But in this
...more
Becky
Feb 22, 2012 Becky rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Becky by: Kenny
When this book was chosen for my real life bookclub, I was a little nervous about it. I'd never read anything of Salman Rushdie's before, and I wouldn't have chosen this one to start with (if ever). I'll be honest, the premise looks kind of boring.

But then I started reading it. And I was completely surprised by not only how much I liked it, but by how funny it was. Irreverent, and witty, and whimsical and a little weird, with more than a dash of gutter-humor funny that had me giggling like a fi
...more
Scott Gates
Jun 24, 2008 Scott Gates rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Filled with lush emptiness. There is more love-at-first-sight in the Enchantress than all other stories put together. Entire cities fall in love at first sight. And the level of subtlety rarely rises above this. After a promising first 80 pages or so, it begins to resemble a cartoon (in a bad way). Even the blasphemies in this book—-which seemed to be produced by Rushdie perfunctorily, like a band that always makes sure to play its most popular song—-are wooden and innocuous.

It’s too bad this b
...more
Lori
Jun 05, 2008 Lori rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading this is like eating a bowl of creamy ice cream. Luscious words that seem to slide down and enervate but tastefully lingers to remind you it's not as light as you first thought. Reading Rushdie is like a spark of recognition with a fellow traveler and I tip my hat in greeting, to say hello! it was lovely walking with you for awhile, thank you for reminding me what it is to connect with someone, hope to bump into you again further down the road, and may you have a good journey.
Patricia Nedelea
To me, the enchantress seems like one of the most charming female characters ever. Magical, a bit scary, unforgettable. Her story is totally worth reading.
Niledaughter
My first read for Rushdie …well , I was confused how to rate this book . This does not mean that I hardly liked it.No ,it is just that there were parts deserved 5 starts for me while other parts simply irritated me!!! still ...I do recommend it , and I highly appreciate the work that has been done in this novel, I totally understand the declaration that it took him years to write this one .Even as reader he pushed me searching and thirsty for more about the subject!

"the enchantress of Florence "
...more
Bruce
Feb 18, 2009 Bruce rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have yet to be disappointed by any of Salman Rushdie’s novels, and The Enchantress of Florence proved to be no exception. Rushdie’s language is wonderful, his metaphors sensual and evocative (the novel’s opening sentence is, “In the day’s last light the glowing lake below the palace-city looked like a sea of molten gold.”), his vocabulary delightful (“…[he:] move[d:] toward his goal indirectly, with many detours and divagations.”), his images rollicking with creativity (“The visionary, revelat ...more
Knjigoholičarka
Sep 26, 2013 Knjigoholičarka rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: salman-rushdie
Verujem da većina nas nikada nije čula za Akbara Velikog, mogulskog vladara koji je vladao u isto vreme kad i slavna engleska kraljica Elizabeta, i to podjednako velikom i moćnom imperijom, samo na drugoj strani globusa. Možda u školskom programu za učenje istorije zaista nema vremena da se spomenu baš svi veliki svetski vladari, ali eurocentrično poimanje istorijskih događaja koje nam se usađuje u glavu dovodi do krajnje iskrivljenog shvatanja poretka u svetu i propušta da sve deliće svetske is ...more
Christa
Aug 19, 2008 Christa rated it liked it
Shelves: library
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Grace Tjan
This story has all the ingredients that should make it wonderful : Akbar, one of the most intriguing of Mughal emperors and his mysterious Fatehpur Sikri, Renaissance Florence in all its colorful glory under the Medicis, Machiavelli, Jannisarries, grim Ottoman sultans, epic battles, and even a murder or two. But somehow all these elements fail to gel into a cohesive story. The exotic locales and historical figures are ably rendered in lush, sometimes breathless prose, but they lack character tha ...more
BAM The Bibliomaniac
This book is very bland. I feel like I'm supposed to be having these deep epiphanies and I'm not thinking deeply enough or something . Absolutely nothing is coming to me.
I've had a major disconnect with the author, and I'm just not sure why. I really enjoyed the storyline until the book jumped in time. Then I completely lost my equilibrium.
Jesse
Jan 04, 2009 Jesse rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
this is the first book i have read by rushdie and it's good enough to encourage me to read "midnight's children" which i hear is his best book. if anyone has any suggestions as to something besides that, i'm open for some advice. this book was fairly entertaining, but it seemed to get wrapped up in itself and stumbled to the finish, rushing through the most important part of the plot in about 20 pgs, while spending the previous 270 pgs, slowly spinning an east meets west orientalist yarn. the pa ...more
Cristina
Jul 01, 2015 Cristina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: británica
Salman Rushdie és un humanista però no un artista.

Ambientada a l’ Índia, Florència i Istanbul del segle XVI, i utilitzant com a fil conductor la història de tres amics i un personatge femení molt potent l’ autor realitza a la novel·la una sèrie de reflexions sobre l’ amor, la religió i el poder per acabar concloent que l’ ésser humà busca sempre el mateix i resulta ser víctima, també, dels mateixos mals, independentment de la seva procedència.

Respecte a l’estil, va presentant multitud de person
...more
Alan
Feb 26, 2009 Alan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Salman Rushdie is in top form in this historical novel set in Mughal India and in Renaissance Florence. A mysterious Italian shows up at the court of the Mughal Emperor claiming to be his relation. How could this be? He has yellow hair and pale skin. Slowly the story unfolds.
Rushdie creates a dreamlike atmosphere in which magic can and occasional does happen but more often humans make their own choices and accept their own fates. It's a meditation on the nature of love, of imagination, of loyalt
...more
Sine
Sep 17, 2016 Sine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Neredeyse somutlaşıp cana gelmiş bir cinsiyetçilik var evet, yok demek imkansız. Ama hikayenin kendi çerçevesi içinde garip bir şekilde çok da rahatsız etmiyor. Çok uzun yıllar boyunca yapılan araştırmaların sonucu olduğu belli, 400 sayfadan bile az bir kitap yerine 400'er sayfalık üç ciltli bir seri bile olabilirmiş. Böyle bir "konsantre"lik hem güzel hem de yorucu, özellikle büyülü gerçekçi bir masal olduğunu düşünürsek.

Her şey bir yana, çeviri muazzam olmuş. O kadar güzel ki aslını okur gibi
...more
Paakhi Srivastava
An excellent narration of the tale of a woman seeking integration with her lost selves, of friendship between three boys, and perspective of the greatest mughal ruler Akbar. Rushdie's storytelling includes his reflections on meaning of religion, of 'seeking' in every man, of beauty and power that every woman holds, unification and fragmentation of one's identities..some portions are poignant, others are just descriptive and some are powerful that compel you to dwell into self reflection, interro ...more
Nicole
May 08, 2014 Nicole rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: get-rid-of
So far, this book is enjoyable, and well-written as Rushdie always is, but I can't help thinking that it's not as good as some of the others, the ones that I love (Shame, Midnight's Children, the Satanic Verses, and of course Haroun and the Sea of Stories).

I think three things are maybe the difference.

1. The title led me to expect a lot more from the female characters, or rather a lot more from how they are portrayed. There's just the tiniest whiff of women being valuable mostly for being beaut
...more
Jon
Feb 11, 2009 Jon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a wonderful book. A vast series of Arabian Nights tales, all linked, but with tantalizingly fluid chronology and meaning, with some rock-hard realistic sections in the Florence of the Medicis, although now that I think of it, those had plenty of enchantment too. The book is divided into a number of chapters, each titled on a separate initial page by its first few words. Some of them: "In the day's last light the glowing lake" "At dawn the haunting sandstone palaces" "And here again with bri ...more
Alta
This is my first Rushdie book--usually, I don't like to read authors around whom there is too much noise. What a surprise! An excellent stylist with great wit. I am not a big fan of historical fantasy, but the "action" is here interspersed with big philosophical questions, which are weaved in naturally (not an easy thing to do in a historical novel).
Tina.
Jan 09, 2008 Tina. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2008
Well, Rushdie can pretty much do no wrong by me. So, yes, five stars. He's just so good.
I hope I don't have to wait another three years for his new creation.
Sidharth Vardhan
"This is a work of fiction. A few liberties has been taken with the historical records in the interests of truth"

With the above warning starts the most researched of all Salman Rushdie's books. Akbar, his court as well as some other members of royal family are brought to life. Same can be said about European figures of time including Machiavelli, Amerigo, Columbus as well as Vlad III the dracula king.

Magical realism has been used to explain true actions of historical figures which can not be exp
...more
Tony
Aug 21, 2008 Tony rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Rushdie, Salman. THE ENCHANTRESS OF FLORENCE. (2008). **. It’s obvious that I’m not Rushdie’s targeted reader. This is a book of marvels, but not a marvelous book. It’s the story of a travelling salesman who journeys from Florence to India to the Mughal ruler Akbar’s court at Sikri (near Agra, and which I visited during my time in India). He supposedly has a “tale which only the emperor’s ear may hear.” The rest of the book provides the tale – a long, drawn-out series of marvels that demonstrate ...more
Bandit
Sep 23, 2015 Bandit rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to check out Rushdie and this sounded like the most interesting available ebook at the library. Well, now I can say I've read a Rushdie book. Reviewing it is entirely trickier. To use an alliteration (because they are fun) it's an enchanting exhausting epic that reads like a fairy tale for adults, historical fiction and a great romance rolled into one. There is an undeniable beauty to his writing, at times its positively spellbinding in terms of how the time passes while reading ...more
Γιάννης
Ικανοποιητικό παραμύθι με στοιχεία ιστορικού μυθιστορήματος. Μου άρεσε περισσότερο από τους Σατανικούς στίχους (το μόνο άλλο του Ρουσντί που είχα διαβάσει) αλλά και πάλι είχε σημεία που έκανε κοιλιά και από το φινάλε κάτι μου έλειπε.
Lorina Stephens
May 02, 2012 Lorina Stephens rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The publisher's blurb for The Enchantress of Florence does credit to the surface plot of the story. However, to read a Rushdie novel is all about depths, dimensions -- mirrors, if you will. And it is mirrors this novel addresses, from the handmaiden of the Enchantress herself, to relationships, histories, and philosophies. To read this novel is like looking at a mirror reflected in a mirror; the depths are infinite.

There is the mirror of Qara Koz and her handmaiden, and again of that relationshi
...more
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Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie is a novelist and essayist. Much of his early fiction is set at least partly on the Indian subcontinent. His style is often classified as magical realism, while a dominant theme of his work is the story of the many connections, disruptions and migrations between the Eastern and Western world.

His fourth novel, The Satanic Verses, led to protests from Muslims in several coun
...more
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“If you were an atheist, Birbal," the Emperor challenged his first minister, "what would you say to the true believers of all the great religions of the world?" Birbal was a devout Brahmin from Trivikrampur, but he answered unhesitatingly, "I would say to them that in my opinion they were all atheists as well; I merely believe in one god less than each of them." "How so?" the Emperor asked. "All true believers have good reasons for disbelieving in every god except their own," said Birbal. "And so it is they who, between them, give me all the reasons for believing in none."

-- From "The Shelter of the World
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“Make as much racket as you like people. Noise is life and an excess of noise is a sign that life is good. There will be time for us all to be quiet when we are safely dead.” 48 likes
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