In 1881, after returning from Afghanistan Doctor John Watson is in need of rest and recuperation. He is also in need of a place to live, and preferablIn 1881, after returning from Afghanistan Doctor John Watson is in need of rest and recuperation. He is also in need of a place to live, and preferably a house mate to share the cost. Living in London is expensive. An old school friend introduces Watson to Sherlock Holmes and together they take up residence in 221B Baker Street.
At first Watson doesn’t really know what to make of Holmes, whereas Holmes appears to know a lot about Watson. He deduces things. Holmes sometimes assists Scotland Yard as a “consulting detective”, and, being called to the scene of a murder, he brings Watson along to demonstrate his methods. And so begins the famous partnership of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor John Watson.
I remember having a collection of classic novels as a child, they were probably abridged, I’m not sure, but there were some of Sherlock Holmes’ adventures among them. The Hound of the Baskervilles for definite, but I’m sure there were a few others. But this is my first reading, as far as I know, of A Study in Scarlet. And I have to say that while I really enjoyed the London bit, Watson’s diary as it were, the section in the middle covering the Mormons and Salt Lake City struck me as rather bizarre.
Possibly that was down to my expectations of what a Sherlock Holmes’ story was, or possibly it was just that it reminded me of Zane Grey’s Riders of the Purple Sage which I read a while ago. It also deals with Mormons and the role of women, and people trying to escape Mormon persecution and corruption. Whatever the reason, it just didn’t *feel* like a Sherlock Holmes story, despite it being the first ever written.
But I did enjoy getting introduced to Sherlock Holmes for the first time. All his little foibles and idiosyncrasies as encountered by Watson for the very first time. And Watson, trying to figure out what Holmes is all about. That was great. And also shows that Holmes is not some unfeeling, arrogant smug git i. Sure he thinks he is smarter than everyone else, but he is also aware that there is plenty he doesn’t know. And he is far from unfeeling. I’m looking forward to reading more Sherlock, I’m going to try and read them in publication order, but we’ll see what actually happens. ...more
When I hear death row I usually don’t think “enchanted”, and I usually don’t look for books set in prisons or about people awaiting execution. But allWhen I hear death row I usually don’t think “enchanted”, and I usually don’t look for books set in prisons or about people awaiting execution. But all last year, and before, whenever The Enchanted was mentioned it was usually followed with plenty of praise and good things.
I finally got around to reading it, I added it to Mount TBR before I started keeping track, so I’m not sure who first mentioned it, but whomever you are, thank you.
Some parts of this novel are told from the point of view of an inmate of death row. We aren’t told his name for most of the book, so I won’t mention it here, although it isn’t a spoiler to know. Other parts are third person narrated. So we get a close up look at life for a particular prisoner, and then a broader look at the prison and where various prisoners have come from. The warden’s home life, the investigator who delves into the lives of the soon to be executed, the fallen priest who ministers as best he can, various prisoners and guards.
It is a great read.
It is a book about how books and stories can offer freedom and the chance to experience other worlds and lives. Readers will probably be able to appreciate that aspect. It is mainly a book about the damage people do to one another, and how society creates monsters. It is about acknowledging that sometimes it really is society that is to blame for murderers and rapists. But it never tries to make light of the horrors of those acts. It never attempts to let anyone off the hook for their own deeds. The Enchanted seems to be saying that there must be a better way, a different way. And why can’t we help before these monsters are created instead of waiting until they have committed these terrible crimes to act.
And to be honest, if someone told me that about this book I’d probably think, hmmm, sounds interesting, but I doubt I’d feel any real desire to read it. So I’ll just say that it is also a beautifully written book. The first person narrator sees the world in a very different way to us, he sees golden wild horses running free where others feel earthquakes. He sees the world as though he inhabits a magical-realism book, while all the others live in a more normal world. He is the one who sees the prison as an enchanted place.
Denfeld herself is a death penalty investigator who works with men and women facing execution so there is a real sense of authenticity about the horrors of life in prison, about the damage prison life does to everyone. The corruption, the crimes that go on there. But it is her style of writing that makes it such a great book to read, it is so easy to just keep on reading, despite some of the horrible things that are described, I never felt like taking a break from it, or needed to put it down. I could have read it in one sitting if life hadn’t been going on.
For my first read of 2016 it has certainly set a high standard....more
entertaining and engaging but didn't work quite as week as the first book. Maybe suffers a little because it is the second in a trilogy. looking forwaentertaining and engaging but didn't work quite as week as the first book. Maybe suffers a little because it is the second in a trilogy. looking forward to book 3...more