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Enchanted Night: A Novella
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Enchanted Night: A Novella

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  502 ratings  ·  58 reviews
From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Martin Dressler comes a stunningly original new book set in a Connecticut town over one incredible summer night. The delicious cast of characters includes a band of teenage girls who break into homes and simply leave notes reading "We Are Your Daughters," a young woman who meets a phantom lover on the tree swing in her back yard, a ...more
ebook, 140 pages
Published December 18th 2007 by Vintage (first published 1999)
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review coming (I hope, time short)...

suitably dreamy and poetic, the choruses giving it music and rhythm, all the citizens are touched by magic, the manikin that comes alive for one bloke; another has a phantom lover. Gentle: there isn’t any evil here – mischief yes, the girls who burgle silently and re-arrange the furniture rather than steal, the boys who break into the library, the man who stalks the woman/is a voyeur..

..all murmur in your ear and the whole becomes thoroughly delightful, lig
Frederic S.
This is one of the great ones. It's on my small shelf of favorite books, and it's one I recommend to friends at every opportunity. I first discovered it in Tokyo's Kinokuniya Bookstore when it must have been newly-released. There it was -- that beautiful cover that draws you in and makes you at once curious and nostalgic. I've never seen a cover better-suited to the content of the book it embraces. Here, before our eyes, is a summer night in all its haunting mystery and swift-fleeting magic. All ...more
A friend of mine recently asked me, "What is experimental fiction?" and I had to admit I had no coherent conception of it.

I could've been a Kerouac-type jackoff, and said that, "Man, every time we sit down in front of our blank pages and fill them with our dreams of the self and the world and...pfffffffft, yatta...we're engaging in ann experiment," but while that's not precisely untrue, it's still bullshit.

Anyway, maybe this Millhauser fellow is engaging in a form of experimental fiction.

The boo
Taymara Jagmohan
Well have you ever read a book and forgot all about its story lines?
This is what happened in this novella. I liked such a taste, because it makes it resemble life a little.
You don't always remember everything you have done, but as your future unfolds within the cornering eyes, you remember you did that, and you did this.
Funny isn't it?
It is like love, you forget you're in it, and every new day you keep adding more to this unknown prescience.
I know not of love, for Im already in love.
With wh
I read this back in the late 90's along with Millhauser's Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer after the latter won the Pulitzer. I picked "Night" up again with the thought of using it in one of my classes. Both books fall in the genre of "magical realism" which I usually can't stand. But most of the vignettes that compose Night charm the reader. There's some really accomplished imagery and atmosphere, even amongst tropes that, at first mention, seem like they could be trite (a manne ...more
Lee Razer
"[A] prose that doesn't merely aspire to the condition of music but actually achieves it", says the blurb on the cover. Personally I never hear music when reading prose but if this novella were music it would be a fancifully composed tone poem. Aaron Copeland maybe, applying his recognizable Americanism. Or Debussy might be a better choice: an impressionistic tone poem of a summer night under a bright moon on a town on the edge of the woods (and thus, on the edge of a certain primeval wildness, ...more
Sometimes you'll happen upon a book, and you'll have this uncanny feeling of knowing it, or rather, of having known and loved its family for years. So it was as I picked up this slim nocturnal fantasia after having enjoyed some of Millhauser's more ambitious earlier stuff, and was again and again reminded of other works that hold a special place in my heart, such as Dylan Thomas's "Under Milkwood," Thornton Wilder's Our Town, Walt Whitman's "The Sleepers," Chopin's Nocturnes and Carl Sandburg's ...more
Carl V.
This was my third read of this novella in the last few years. It continues to be as much a delight as it was the first time I read it.

You can find my original review here:

and my follow up review here:
Jack Buck
I like the book's concept of intertwining vignettes, however, the magical tone was annoyingly similar of Bradbury's "dandelion wine." Good thing for Steven Millhauser he has written far better stories.
Ticklish Owl
Jul 21, 2010 Ticklish Owl rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Murakami fans
This book reminds me of After Dark by Haruki Murakami, with it's intertwined stories on a summer night. The prose borders on poetry, the words too rich at times, although it worked well in the mannequin and toy scenes. I might have enjoyed the audiobook more with a different narrator, this one is better suited to Bierce, Chambers, or Lovecraft.
Excellent language and magical elements--chorus is great and characters (especially the band of girls) were interesting. Moon set-up works well too to end the night.
Rachel Jones
Strange and sad occupants of a mid-century-ish suburban town collectively suffer full moon fever one hot summer night. I kind of loved this, but can totally see many readers hating it. This novella would be fun to dissect in a literature class.
Vincent Desjardins
Millhauser has a way of drawing a reader into his stories by turning the details of everyday life into something extraordinary. In this bewitching novella he suffuses his cast of wanderers, loners, lovers and dreamers with the radiant light of the moon. On a warm summer night, etched in moonlight, lovers are united, loners are befriended, dolls are awakened, children are entranced and mischief makers are surprised All are caressed and in someway transformed by the magical glow of the moon. It is ...more
Dawn Leitheuser
The moon brings on some strange behavior and that is evident in this sotry
Such a weird book, but I liked it. Full of magical realism, which usually puts me off, this book is composed of short chapters that explore the happenings in a suburb one night when the moon is almost full. It has an odd mid-twentieth century feel, but I'm not sure what the time period is supposed to be. A mannequin and some dolls come alive, which would normally be enough to make me put the book down, but Millhauser just has this way of making the ridiculous seem kind of serious. It's like he's ...more
Millhauser's novella is highly reminiscent of Ray Bradbury's work, particularly "Dandelion Wine." This story reads like a version of Bradbury for adults, or for the adult versions of Bradbury's characters. Millhauser also evokes epic poetry, particularly in the fantasy sequences involving the Moon Goddess: "Heart-stirred she rests, the goddess sharp-wounded." The novella serves as an American story of magic realism, and the brief chapters reward multiple readings, particularly as the titular eve ...more
Robin J
Charming and magical. An adult fairy tale perfect for a summer night!
Nicole Romine
I read this novella on the sultry first night of August, which was curiously, but appropriately timed. I struggle to write a meaningful review of The Enchanted Night that captures its dark, lyrical power. Reading this novella is a magical experience that left me feeling giddy yet intellectually satisfied. I would strongly suggest that you plan on reading this in one sitting (preferably on a balmy, mysterious summer night) as the rhythm of the narrative is an essential part of its allure. Simply ...more
Steve Horowitt
Even though I gave this three stars, it is due more to the novella nature of this book than the actual writing. Steven Millhauser has long been a favorite, and this book does not disappoint. Imagine, for two hours, being transported to an evening in a small coastal Connecticut town, where a full moon on a warm summer eve, makes everything is possible. Intimacy flourishes in the shadows, a collection of dolls come to life and even a down on his luck guy, gets a break...even if just for a while. I ...more
Heather Hay
When Anne Lamott said to write from a one inch picture frame, I think this book is what she meant. The beautifully developed characters' actions took me in surprising directions. I loved the short inserted segments of the stuffed animals in the attics coming alive to perform their own tragic love story. There are candy flavored character descriptions that are so subtle and concise. I wouldn't take this book on a vacation, because you may not want the distractions, but I would read this in my arm ...more
Man this book is stupid. The prose at a couple points was okay but they were pretty rare. I'm too lazy to write my own review so just read these negatives from Amanda's down there:

"There are, I admit, many negatives to this book which should make me dislike it. I don't really like the vignette style. There were far too many characters for such a short book. There is no climax, no action, no overarching plot, no real fiction form, actually, and no resolution (in fact, nothing to resolve, really).
i confess i was a little disappointed with this. i'm not sure what i was expecting. maybe i hoped for something that was actually enchanting. but some of it was just flat for me, the narratives kind of went nowhere, and in the end there was no impact. even for a series of vignettes, it needed impact.

so i didn't hate it, but i doubt i'll remember much of it in the long run. it was an easy read (short) and didn't irritate me. maybe i just wasn't in the mood.
Benjamin Obler
Loved the concept of this novella, obviously enough to buy and try, but found it lacking character depth and annoyingly fixated on moonlight. Plot is thin, which is sometimes necessary for a novella, but some elements (the discontent young women meeting in the woods, etc.) seemed recycled from his story collection "Knife-Thrower." At the 350th description of the blue shadows under the moonlight, I put it down.
Sep 21, 2007 matt rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
One of my all-time favorites. This little book is a beautiful meditation on the strange things that people do when it's dark. A few of the stories may seem old-fashioned or quaint (the dressing dummy thing has been done and done and done- but maybe it seemed like a new idea when he wrote it).
And I absolutely LOVE the cover image to this paperback edition.
Definitely not one of my favorite books of all time. While I didn't really enjoy the story, I liked the theme of liberation and obtaining personal desires. Each character's deepest dreams came to fruition when the moon was out; I found each story interesting and unique. Millhauser's language is also fluid and poetic, which I deeply admire in an author.
I liked the tone and magical feel of the book and there were some stunning moments but I didn't think it added up to enough and the ending felt rushed. After painstaking detail that followed characters through exacting small progress over the course of a dark night, the sum up felt like it washed its hands of the tone and style just to get the job done.
Printable Tire
I picked the two perfect nights to read this: after endless months of the usual dark cold New England abyss, the weather has warmed itself, and the night now is sharper, and full of pleasant smells and people walking around and adventure.

I enjoyed reading this book. I will try to read something by this author again.
Oct 31, 2008 Sarah rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Absolutely delicious read. Enjoyable by the tidbit, wonderful as the whole. Hard to beat the charm of stories like those of the girls who steal into homes and leave notes in the middle of the night, likely unlikely heroes with books as weapons, and one-eyed cuddly bears. As quick a read as you want it to be.
Garth Moore
Eh. I wanted to like this book for its brief, evocative, prose-like narrative style and its story line of how these seemingly desperate characters in this small town all awaken one evening under the spell of a summer moon. But, in the end, I wasn't impressed. Magical, but it just didn't grab me.
Tim Jones-yelvington
I really, really liked this, but I also felt like it was missing something... I think it was mystery. Millhauser's intentions were too clear, or too much just what they were and nothing more, too self-evident, and the prose sometimes a little bit overwrought, when it tried to sing it belted.
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What's The Name o...: Mannequin that awakens at night... [s] 6 22 Feb 04, 2014 08:04PM  
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Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer Dangerous Laughter Edwin Mullhouse: The Life and Death of an American Writer 1943-1954 by Jeffrey Cartwright The Knife Thrower and Other Stories The Barnum Museum

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“This is the night of revelation. This is the night the dolls wake. This is the night of the dreamer in the attic. This is the night of the piper in the woods.” 0 likes
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