AmberBug com*'s Reviews > The Enchanted

The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld
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it was amazing
bookshelves: 2014, rj-julia-signed-editions

Shelf Notes Review

Dear Reader,

This has to be one of my favorite books I've read this year. What a great year for books, I've had more 5 stars this year than I would have ever thought. I wonder if this has to do with the blog and getting more involved in the literary world. My "to-read" list has grown so fast in recent years and the recommendations keep rolling in. I've noticed that I hardly ever read a book I hate and if I do, more than likely... it's left unfinished. You'll notice that our reviews for 1-2 star ratings are VERY few (a handful at most). I mean, think about it... if you read the premise, the book has a recommendation from someone, and you have some inkling to read it... you would suppose that you'd like the book at least a little, right? Ugh, this has to be one of my biggest digressions yet (on this blog), and I apologize. I think the bottom line is this, I pick the books I read and I think I'm getting better at picking them! This book, alas, I did not pick. RJ Julia Bookstore can take credit for that. This bookstore has a first edition, signed copy, club that you can join and get the book shipped to your door every month. Great selection, really! Check it out.

Enough about that, can we finally talk about the book? Okay, sorry... entirely my fault. The Enchanted is all about the secrets people hold, and this is all set in a prison. The term "magical realism" definitely applies here. Even though this is set in modern time, whenever we're transported into the prison via the characters, you almost feel transported back through time. The prison itself is ancient, the tone always seems very old fashioned. This is really hard to describe to you, I think you'd better just read it yourself, hehe. The story goes back and forth between the perspective of an inmate, a "lady" investigator and the warden (plus a few minor characters here and there). We get to know these characters very intimately, as we're told their backstory (and a few others). We start to feel the pressure of the jail cell walls and that impending doom of death knocking on those jail bars. The tone of all of this is very dark and mysterious.

You can't read this without feeling the magic it holds. Think of it like this, you're in a dark and wet cellar that has row after row of damaged books... and when you open one of them, you find the pages come to life and they reach out and grab hold tight to drag you inside. At first you feel unsettled by the story but then you start to empathize and yearn for closure. Each prison inmate has that story to tell, and we get to see a glimpse of that from two of them among others who come and work within the prison. The stories are tragic, honest, powerful, beautiful, and terrible all at the same time. The Author uses fantasy mixed with the bitter and disgusting reality of the prison system, telling a tale of magical horror. Don't be scared, don't turn away, read everything because there is a very serious lesson to be learned here. I've never read anything like this and I think everyone should experience it.

Happy Reading,
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Quotes AmberBug Liked

Rene Denfeld
“After a time, it seemed that the world inside the books became my world. So when I thought of my childhood, it was dandelion wine and ice cream on a summer porch, like Ray Bradbury, and catching catfish with Huck Finn. My own memories receded and the book memories became the real memories, far more than the outside, far more even than in here.”
Rene Denfeld, The Enchanted

Rene Denfeld
“She thinks how sad it is that we remember the killers and not their victims. What if the world forgot Hitler and remembered all the names of his victims? What is we immortalized the victims?”
Rene Denfeld, The Enchanted

Reading Progress

March 28, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
March 28, 2014 – Shelved
March 28, 2014 – Shelved as: 2014
June 12, 2014 – Started Reading
June 21, 2014 –
page 106
45.49% "Honest, powerful, beautiful and terrible all at the same time. The Author uses fantasy mixed in with the bitter and disgusting reality of jail to tell this story. I've never read anything like it."
June 23, 2014 –
page 256
100% "pending review"
June 23, 2014 – Finished Reading
June 24, 2014 – Shelved as: rj-julia-signed-editions

Comments Showing 1-3 of 3 (3 new)

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message 1: by Mary (new) - added it

Mary Nolan This is going to be the next book I read - you sold me on it!

AmberBug com* Great! Oh Mary, do you ever check your email? I want it, if you do! Arianna and I have planned a trip to RJJ next Tuesday for that Random House event. Also, we plan on two more events after looking at the calandar... Amy Bloom and Edan Lapuki (sp?). I can send you the links via email? Do you use google calendar? I also can invite you to those events via that. ;)

AmberBug com* Oh, i got your email off your profile. Yahoo, I'll send you the invites.

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