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The Enchantress of Florence

3.60  ·  Rating details ·  17,148 ratings  ·  2,033 reviews
A tall, yellow-haired young European traveller calling himself 'Mogor dell'Amore', the Mughal of Love, arrives at the court of the real Grand Mughal, the Emperor Akbar, with a tale to tell that begins to obsess the whole imperial capital. The stranger claims to be the child of a lost Mughal princess, the youngest sister of Akbar's grandfather Babar: Qara Koz, 'Lady Black E ...more
Hardcover, 359 pages
Published 2008 by Cape
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Average rating 3.60  · 
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 ·  17,148 ratings  ·  2,033 reviews

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Sep 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
On occasion a novel receives harsh treatment from critics not based on the actual work, but rather because it is not what the critics want it to be; this then is the only explanation I can find to explain the harsh, often shrill, reviews received by Rushdie's equisite "The Enchantress of Florence." Having read several of these negative assessments I find the same sub-text runs through them all, namely the complaint that "Enchantress" is neither Rushdie's masterwork "Midnight's Children" nor that ...more
Jul 29, 2015 rated it did not like it
I'm a little over halfway through this and so far almost every single female character is a prostitute or a slave. Three women have committed suicide because of a man. Also there's a female character who is literally a figment of a male character's imagination and she's more dynamic than any of the (few) real women in this fucking book.


Ugh. Most likely will not finish.
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Jun 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
Welcome to realm where Story reigns, courtesy of the master of ceremony Salman Rushdie.
In a somptuous palace of red stone dwells the absolute ruler of the world, the great Mughal Emperor Akbar the Great - warrior, philosopher, despot and lover. A setting worthy of the Arabian Nights, and according to those tenets here comes a traveler / con-artist / magician calling himself the Mughal of Love, He will have to redeem his life like Scheherezade through stories : improbable stories, fantastic stori
I'm surprised with the hatred I feel towards this book. I mean, it's Salman frickin' Rushdie, right? Isn't he some kind of literary god? I'm going to have to read his other books to see, because this one was trash.

I've read sexist books before. There are plenty of them out there, but usually I can glide over the sexist bits because overall the plot/characters/writing are good enough that I choose to ignore the fact that the women are horribly written (looking at you, Robert Jordan). But in this
Steven Godin
Nov 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
This is the second time now I have abandoned a Rushdie novel, so in all likelihood I won't bother reading him again. The fact I managed to get beyond the halfway point made me feel like I deserved a nice pat on the back. He is simply not a writer I hold in high regard anyway, and this twaddle just confirms that even stronger, as it's blatantly sexist, and an insult to women. Things started out quite promising, before I drastically lost interest. and couldn't care less about any of it's character ...more
Elizabeth (Miss Eliza)
While every review seems a need to state the basic plot of the yellow-haired stranger appearing in Akbar's court I will quickly skip over this and go straight to what I thought. I felt that the book was very uneven, there where parts that were just wonderful and deserving a full five stars, in particular the story of the illuminator who disappeared into his own artwork and the concept of Jhoda, and others that were so very boring that the average became a two.

The main problem I had was that it
Scott Gates
Jun 24, 2008 rated it did not like it
Filled with lush emptiness. There is more love-at-first-sight in the Enchantress than all other stories put together. Entire cities fall in love at first sight. And the level of subtlety rarely rises above this. After a promising first 80 pages or so, it begins to resemble a cartoon (in a bad way). Even the blasphemies in this book—-which seemed to be produced by Rushdie perfunctorily, like a band that always makes sure to play its most popular song—-are wooden and innocuous.

It’s too bad this b
Feb 22, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommended to Becky by: Kenny
When this book was chosen for my real life bookclub, I was a little nervous about it. I'd never read anything of Salman Rushdie's before, and I wouldn't have chosen this one to start with (if ever). I'll be honest, the premise looks kind of boring.

But then I started reading it. And I was completely surprised by not only how much I liked it, but by how funny it was. Irreverent, and witty, and whimsical and a little weird, with more than a dash of gutter-humor funny that had me giggling like a fi
Kara Babcock
As a neophyte of Salman Rushdie's work, I was not fully prepared for The Enchantress of Florence, although I should have been. Rushdie possesses an uncanny ability to manipulate perspective. In his stories, the flow of time is always questionable, and subject to change--if it flows at all. And his characters are larger-than-life, capricious archetypes that embody the virtues and flaws of humanity.

In this novel, Rushdie runs two stories parallel to each other: that of Emperor Akbar's court, the e
This would have been far better served by being a Silk type novella, an incantation that weaves its charms around us for the duration of one sitting- just long enough for the magic to work, not long enough for anyone to even think of wanting to look behind the curtain. The longer it went on, and the more tied to the reality of the world it became, the less it worked. So much of this could have been left to the readers to dream and imagine afterwards. So many subplots about hookers and pages of r ...more
Jun 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
Reading this is like eating a bowl of creamy ice cream. Luscious words that seem to slide down and enervate but tastefully lingers to remind you it's not as light as you first thought. Reading Rushdie is like a spark of recognition with a fellow traveler and I tip my hat in greeting, to say hello! it was lovely walking with you for awhile, thank you for reminding me what it is to connect with someone, hope to bump into you again further down the road, and may you have a good journey. ...more
Patricia Nedelea
Jan 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
To me, the enchantress seems like one of the most charming female characters ever. Magical, a bit scary, unforgettable. Her story is totally worth reading.
Aug 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
The curse of the human race is not that we are so different from one another, but that we are so alike.

I have an ambivalent relationship with Salman Rushdie – admire his writing/am impatient with his books; appreciate his artistry/sense I wouldn't like him in person – and The Enchantress of Florence was unsurprising in both its engaging craftsmanship and its eyeroll-inducing pretentiousness. Between Midnight's Children and The Satanic Verses, Rushdie has probably already said everything impo
My first read for Rushdie …well , I was confused how to rate this book . This does not mean that I hardly liked it.No ,it is just that there were parts deserved 5 starts for me while other parts simply irritated me!!! still ...I do recommend it , and I highly appreciate the work that has been done in this novel, I totally understand the declaration that it took him years to write this one .Even as reader he pushed me searching and thirsty for more about the subject!

"the enchantress of Florence "
Grace Tjan
This story has all the ingredients that should make it wonderful : Akbar, one of the most intriguing of Mughal emperors and his mysterious Fatehpur Sikri, Renaissance Florence in all its colorful glory under the Medicis, Machiavelli, Jannisarries, grim Ottoman sultans, epic battles, and even a murder or two. But somehow all these elements fail to gel into a cohesive story. The exotic locales and historical figures are ably rendered in lush, sometimes breathless prose, but they lack character tha ...more
BAM Endlessly Booked
This book is very bland. I feel like I'm supposed to be having these deep epiphanies and I'm not thinking deeply enough or something . Absolutely nothing is coming to me.
I've had a major disconnect with the author, and I'm just not sure why. I really enjoyed the storyline until the book jumped in time. Then I completely lost my equilibrium.
May 08, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: get-rid-of
So far, this book is enjoyable, and well-written as Rushdie always is, but I can't help thinking that it's not as good as some of the others, the ones that I love (Shame, Midnight's Children, the Satanic Verses, and of course Haroun and the Sea of Stories).

I think three things are maybe the difference.

1. The title led me to expect a lot more from the female characters, or rather a lot more from how they are portrayed. There's just the tiniest whiff of women being valuable mostly for being beaut
Dec 27, 2010 rated it liked it
I will leave plot synopsis to others. I enjoyed his lyricism and way with words. Several times I found myself re-reading or copying down a sentence just to appreciate it's beauty and wisdom. What I enjoyed far less was the very meandering nature of the book; like Russian nesting dolls, there is a story within a story and its hard to see the relevance until the end. With short stories taking the place of a longer, more constructed narrative, it's easy to get lost in the cast of characters. I als ...more
Aug 19, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sidharth Vardhan
"This is a work of fiction. A few liberties has been taken with the historical records in the interests of truth"

With the above warning starts the most researched of all Salman Rushdie's books. Akbar, his court as well as some other members of royal family are brought to life. Same can be said about European figures of time including Machiavelli, Amerigo, Columbus as well as Vlad III the dracula king.

Magical realism has been used to explain true actions of historical figures which can not be exp
Jan 04, 2009 rated it liked it
this is the first book i have read by rushdie and it's good enough to encourage me to read "midnight's children" which i hear is his best book. if anyone has any suggestions as to something besides that, i'm open for some advice. this book was fairly entertaining, but it seemed to get wrapped up in itself and stumbled to the finish, rushing through the most important part of the plot in about 20 pgs, while spending the previous 270 pgs, slowly spinning an east meets west orientalist yarn. the pa ...more
Paakhi Srivastava
Mar 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
An excellent narration of the tale of a woman seeking integration with her lost selves, of friendship between three boys, and perspective of the greatest mughal ruler Akbar. Rushdie's storytelling includes his reflections on meaning of religion, of 'seeking' in every man, of beauty and power that every woman holds, unification and fragmentation of one's identities..some portions are poignant, others are just descriptive and some are powerful that compel you to dwell into self reflection, interro ...more
Feb 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Salman Rushdie is in top form in this historical novel set in Mughal India and in Renaissance Florence. A mysterious Italian shows up at the court of the Mughal Emperor claiming to be his relation. How could this be? He has yellow hair and pale skin. Slowly the story unfolds.
Rushdie creates a dreamlike atmosphere in which magic can and occasional does happen but more often humans make their own choices and accept their own fates. It's a meditation on the nature of love, of imagination, of loyalt
Feb 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
What a wonderful book. A vast series of Arabian Nights tales, all linked, but with tantalizingly fluid chronology and meaning, with some rock-hard realistic sections in the Florence of the Medicis, although now that I think of it, those had plenty of enchantment too. The book is divided into a number of chapters, each titled on a separate initial page by its first few words. Some of them: "In the day's last light the glowing lake" "At dawn the haunting sandstone palaces" "And here again with bri ...more
Aug 03, 2010 rated it it was ok
Salman Rushdie is fundamentally a storyteller, and this book is one which reaffirms the power of stories to change people’s lives, and to change empires. Some might love it for its detail, and its delve into this historical magic realism, which I’d say is typical for a Rushdie book. The historical detail is rich, as evidenced by the long bibliography at the end of the book.

However, for me it was an exhausting read. There are too many layers, too many characters, and not enough focus. The titular
Mar 03, 2015 added it
This is my first Rushdie book--usually, I don't like to read authors around whom there is too much noise. What a surprise! An excellent stylist with great wit. I am not a big fan of historical fantasy, but the "action" is here interspersed with big philosophical questions, which are weaved in naturally (not an easy thing to do in a historical novel). ...more
Jan 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2008
Well, Rushdie can pretty much do no wrong by me. So, yes, five stars. He's just so good.
I hope I don't have to wait another three years for his new creation.
Aug 22, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book is gorgeous, the physical book. I love the cover, so it makes me sad that I don't want to keep it because I didn't like what's inside.

I like the concept of this book, kind of. It reminds me of Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities, in which Marco Polo talks to Kublai Khan about the cities he's traveled through. Much of this book is Niccolo Vespucci talking to Akbar the Great about his family's past travels and intrigues. I like the setting, which is mostly Sikri and Florence in the 16th ce
Heady mixture of history and fantasy--a tale of two 16th century cities: [Sikri in the Mughal Empire of the emperor Akbar, and Florence], three Florentine friends, a mysterious Mughal princess, Lady Dark Eyes, who becomes the "Enchantress of Florence". For much of the novel the story was confusing, until about halfway through, where all fell into place; the last half was much better than the first. Many other historical characters float through the story, such as the admiral Andria Doria. Intere ...more
Athul Domichen
Cruising between Mughal Era India and Medieval Italy, #SalmanRushdie blends history and mystery seamlessly. The story loses some steam in the middle but the absolute fluidity of his language keeps you going.

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Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie is a novelist and essayist. Much of his early fiction is set at least partly on the Indian subcontinent. His style is often classified as magical realism, while a dominant theme of his work is the story of the many connections, disruptions and migrations between the Eastern and Western world.

His fourth novel, The Satanic Verses, led to protests from Muslims in several coun

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