Bruce's Reviews > The Enchantress of Florence

The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie
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Feb 18, 09

Read in February, 2009

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, revelatory dream-poetry of the quotidian had not been crushed by blinkered, prosy fact.”). His plot is complex, often seeming digressive in both time and space, contrasting, drawing parallels between, and finally interrelating people and histories of Akbar the Great’s Mughal capital of Hindustan and Italy’s Florence. Is it plausible? Certainly, within the context of magical realism, of which Rushdie is always a master, and so there is internal plausibility and satisfactory resolution, if an ongoing story can ever truly be resolved. Rushdie’s characters are vivid, alive (sometimes only in the minds of other characters), interesting, and kaleidoscopic, including real historical personages (Akbar, Machiavelli) and many others who are possible but imagined, his characters amazingly diverse and intense, growing and developing in exciting and unexpected ways. The story is not only an exploration of history itself but also a contemplation on the nature of imagination, creation, the relationship between God and humanity, freedom and authoritarianism, all presenting Rushdie with the opportunity to speak in the voice and style that is all his own and an enchantment to the reader. I loved the book.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Trisha I have to agree! There is a mesmerizing quality to Rushdie's writing that makes me feel as if I am being lured deeper and deeper into realms that are rich with mystery and enchantment. I love the way he uses language - and often find myself going back and re-reading whole sections simply because of the way they are written. I'm about 3/4 of the way through this book and because its plot is so convulted and complex I keep getting lost....but no matter! No doubt it will take me a while to get through it (and then I think I'll probably start all over from the beginning) but as far as I'm concerned it's well worth the ride.


Bruce I think that the older I get, and the more I become aware that I'll never have time to read everything I'd like to read, the more pleasure I derive from the use of language itself, quite independent of plot, consequently gravitating toward those authors who are masters of language.


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