Tony's Reviews > The Enchantress Of Florence

The Enchantress Of Florence by Salman Rushdie
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Aug 26, 08

bookshelves: fiction-mainstream

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 very clearly the author’s erudition and fascination with folk heroes and legends. We learn a lot about Akbar, especially about his imaginary wife, who “could walk, talk and make love in spite of not existing.” Isn’t this a little far-fetched? When Rushdie gets to Florence, which he does to provide the traveller’s background, he provides us with a picture of libertinism that is unrivaled in literature. Florence becomes another Sodom, but there we meet another Enchantress – the one of the title. She, too, has supernatural powers, and is able to control those around her – especially men – with her mind. The story goes on and on. To cap this folly off, Rushdie provides an extensive bibliography to let us know which books he has consulted in the writing of this work. He also apologizes for any reference work to which he might have used but neglected to include in his list. Is this some kind of doctoral thesis? If you’re into this kind of writing, you might enjoy this book. I’m not and I didn’t.
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