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The Enchantress of Florence

3.54 of 5 stars 3.54  ·  rating details  ·  12,109 ratings  ·  1,617 reviews
The Enchantress of Florence is the story of a mysterious woman, a great beauty believed to possess the powers of enchantment and sorcery, attempting to command her own destiny in a man's world. It is the story of two cities at the height of their powers-the hedonistic Mughal capital, in which the brilliant emperor Akbar the Great wrestles daily with questions of belief, de ...more
Paperback, 349 pages
Published January 6th 2009 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published 2008)
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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
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.


Ugh. Most likely will not finish.
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
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
Scott Gates
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
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
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
Nancy Oakes
Rushdie has this particular trait that I've noticed in his writing: he writes entertainingly, but the reader cannot simply sit back and be entertained. This book was no exception.

In one sense, I felt like Shahryar waiting for Scherezade to continue her tale. Every time I'd put the book down and come back to it, there was always something new, and something to look forward to. There's not just one story here, but several, and each one is intricately layered so that the reader has to stop and thi
Lori (Hellian)
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.
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 "
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
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
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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
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
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
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
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.
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
Paakhi Srivastava
An excellent narration of the tale of a woman seeking integration with her lost selves, of friendship between three boys, and the 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 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, interrog ...more
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
Rajeev Singh
This is my second Rushdie book after a prosaic experience with ‘Midnight’s Children’ which I left midway, having lost patience with Salim Sinai’s narrative.

Whenever I have come across a Rushdie book in a bookstore, I have been intimidated and often averted by the abstract printed at the back – the books seem so vague and unusual, judging from the cover, and the weird titles ‘The Moor’s Last Sigh’, ‘Shalimar the Clown’ and so on. They seem fabulist, religion-imbued (this trait owes itself to ‘The
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).
Lorina Stephens
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
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
Salman Rushdie is fundamentally a storyteller, and this book is one which reaffirms the power of stories to change people’s lives, and to change empires. Some might love it for its detail, and its delve into this historical magic realism, which I’d say is typical for a Rushdie book. The historical detail is rich, as evidenced by the long bibliography at the end of the book.

However, for me it was an exhausting read. There are too many layers, too many characters, and not enough focus. The titular
This is the first book by Rushdie i have read. Surreal, sensual, fantastic and self-indulgent. A marvellous tale blurring the line between history and fable. Rushdie’s language is beautiful. The work is rich in details, filled with lush imagery. I loved how he effortlessly weaves story within a story, touching on various historical personages.

The book begins with the arrival of a golden haired stranger at Fatehpur Sikri. A man who travelled across the road armed with a story. A man calling hims
I never got into this very well, It's not my type of story. I didn't appreciate how sexual it was, it seemed in the first half of the book there was too much swearing and whoreing around.
The second half of the book dropped the swearing and whores for a decent story thet was filled with philisophic pondering that to me never resolved into a colnclusion. Also I didn't like the end.
As far as the style he did a good job of blending fatastical reality and mythical history. I was never sure what was
Mustafa Aiglon
0)İçinde Floransa yer aldığı için 1 yıldız, kitabın adında Floransa olduğu için 1 yıldız. (Aslında 7 yıldız veriyorum. Arapların çakma 7 yıldızlı otelleri gibi)
1) Okurken hiç bitmesin istediğim; yavaş yavaş kana kana her cümlesini içmek istediğim bir kitap.
2) Amerigo Vespucci, Niccolo Machiavelli, Andrea Doria, Şah İsmail, D'Artagyan, Lorenzo Medici ve nicelerini tarihe olabildiğince sadık kalarak bir masal içine yediren muhteşem bir eser.
3)Bunu ben yazmalıydım dediğim bir yığın cümle.
4)İçinde y
Sumit Singla
Overall: 3.5 stars

Rushdie begins with a bang - a silver-tongued, yellow-haired stranger enters Akbar's court with great panache and a secret that can ostensibly topple an empire. The man who takes on many names and identities is at once a subject of suspicion, awe, confusion, and much conjecture at the Mughal court.

The first part of the book is action-packed and chronicles Mogor del'Amore's adventures on the way to Akbar's court and his interactions with some of the 'Navratnas' - the nine jewel
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SPSV Mrs. Rodgers...: Stephanie Smail 1 6 Oct 06, 2011 06:57PM  
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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 about Salman Rushdie...
Midnight's Children The Satanic Verses Haroun and the Sea of Stories Shalimar the Clown The Moor's Last Sigh

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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
“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.” 44 likes
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