Kyle Wheat's Reviews > The Enchantress Of Florence

The Enchantress Of Florence by Salman Rushdie
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Mar 23, 12

Read from September 29, 2011 to March 23, 2012

I have mixed feeling about The Enchantress of Florence. I thought many parts were excellent - Akbar’s musings were a joy to read. The novel is very clever and occasionally profound.

Further, I have never experienced anything like the intricate patterns that Rushdie managed to create out of each chapter. The prose was mosaic and (pardon) enchanting. By the end of each sub-story (well, by the end of most of them) I had to take some time to reflect on its kaleidoscope construction. This was what really got me through the novel, and kept me coming back.

The thing is, for as short as this book is, I put it down for extended periods of time without much hesitation. The narrative was not compelling - I did not find that the characters (whose histories, comings, and goings were shrouded in semi-mystical half-truths throughout), very real. I understand to some degree that this was the point, but it always seemed as if i *should* be caring about these characters more. The novel had the trappings of intricate character-study but no characters that were real enough to follow through on the promise. Central themes of this novel revolve around the fluidity of history and myth, reality and fiction - I understand that and I appreciate what it’s trying to do, but I was vaguely unsatisfied throughout. The magical realism here created beautiful fluidity in the narration but didn’t illuminate the human condition through the characters, even when it seemed to always promise that the illumination was right around the corner.

This was my first Salman Rushdie novel - I probably should have started with a different one, but as it is I’ll still be back for more.
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