Bruce's Reviews > The Enchantress of Florence
The Enchantress of Florence
by Salman Rushdie
by Salman Rushdie
Feb 18, 2009
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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