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Previous BOMs - Authors; A - D > The Enchanted, by Rene Denfeld (Anything Goes BOM) ; Start Date September 12, 2015

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message 1: by Moderators of NBRC, Challenger-in-Chief (new)

Moderators of NBRC | 31138 comments Mod
                


This thread is to discuss The Enchanted, by Rene Denfeld. Be prepared for spoilers.


Synopsis:
A wondrous and redemptive debut novel, set in a stark world where evil and magic coincide, The Enchanted combines the empathy and lyricism of Alice Sebold with the dark, imaginative power of Stephen King.

"This is an enchanted place. Others don't see it, but I do."

The enchanted place is an ancient stone prison, viewed through the eyes of a death row inmate who finds escape in his books and in re-imagining life around him, weaving a fantastical story of the people he observes and the world he inhabits. Fearful and reclusive, he senses what others cannot. Though bars confine him every minute of every day, he marries magical visions of golden horses running beneath the prison, heat flowing like molten metal from their backs, with the devastating violence of prison life.

Two outsiders venture here: a fallen priest, and the Lady, an investigator who searches for buried information from prisoners' pasts that can save those soon-to-be-executed. Digging into the background of a killer named York, she uncovers wrenching truths that challenge familiar notions of victim and criminal, innocence and guilt, honor and corruption-ultimately revealing shocking secrets of her own.

Beautiful and transcendent, The Enchanted reminds us of how our humanity connects us all, and how beauty and love exist even amidst the most nightmarish reality


message 2: by Moderators of NBRC, Challenger-in-Chief (new)

Moderators of NBRC | 31138 comments Mod
What is a BOM (Book of the Month)?

At NRBC we use a more structured approach to our BOMs. We have a discussion leader and a reading date is set to start the book. A reading schedule is posted prior to the start date and discussion questions are posted each day regarding that section of the book.

More info under spoiler
(view spoiler)


message 3: by Moderators of NBRC, Challenger-in-Chief (last edited Sep 15, 2015 04:29AM) (new)

Moderators of NBRC | 31138 comments Mod


Chapter Breakdown

Date Pages Chapter starts/ends PPDQs


Sept 12 1-40 Start - CHRISTINA
"...weight of the dead even as the earth
rises and is born again"

Sept 13&14 41-129 "York is furious that the lady..." - DEREK
"....to get rid of the infection in your midst"

Sept 15 ***BREAK DAY***

Sept 16&17 130-end "The fallen priest comes down
the row...." - end


PPDQs = person posting Discussion Questions

Breakdown is based on this 233 page hardcover version of the book
The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld


message 4: by Christina (new)

Christina Pilkington | 198 comments Really excited to read this one! I'll also volunteer for DQs.


message 5: by Karen ⊰✿, Fiction Aficionado (new)

Karen ⊰✿ | 14466 comments Mod
Great! Thanks Christina :)


message 6: by Corey (new)

Corey (coreyhuffman) | 389 comments Looks like an interesting read. I think I'll join in.


Adrianna [SypherLily] (sypherlily) I've just joined, and I will be buying this book soon. I will read along :)


message 8: by Ron (new)

Ron I'm in also. Looking forward to reading it!


message 9: by Christine (new)

Christine (inhalesbookslikepopcorn) | 1052 comments I want to read this too


message 10: by Heather (new)

Heather Stott | 6 comments My book just came in the mail!


Kells Next Read  (kellsway) I really want to read this too. Hoping to get my copy today


message 12: by Lisa (new)

Lisa  Moore just requested my copy, will join in on this one.


message 13: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca (rebeccasg) | 3321 comments I hope I get this from the library in time!


message 14: by *Layali* (new)

*Layali* (layalireads) | 36 comments Excited to read this! Can't wait! :)


message 15: by Eva (new)

Eva Mejicano | 1 comments Book ready, and looking forward to read it :D


message 16: by Derek (new)

Derek | 16 comments Would love to read this. I will volunteer to submit DQs as well.


message 17: by Moderators of NBRC, Challenger-in-Chief (last edited Sep 05, 2015 01:32AM) (new)

Moderators of NBRC | 31138 comments Mod
Thanks Derek and Christina! I have added you to the reading schedule, please let us know if those days don't suit.

The breakdown for this one is a bit tough as it is a small book, but the writing is also small, and there are no chapter numbers/titles. So I've gone with a short first day, and then combined days plus a break day.


message 18: by Jacki (new)

Jacki | 236 comments Picked this book up from the library! Good timing :D


message 19: by Christina (new)

Christina Pilkington | 198 comments Dates work fine with me! Just picked up my library copy :)


message 20: by Lisa (new)

Lisa  Moore just picked up my copy today.


message 21: by Christina (last edited Sep 12, 2015 08:04AM) (new)

Christina Pilkington | 198 comments September 12th Questions for Pages 1-40


1. So far we don’t know too much about the narrator, especially his (or her?) backstory. What we do know is that he likes to read a lot. I found the writing to be very descriptive, full of metaphors and beautiful imagery. Since this book is written in first person, do you think the writing style is reflective of the narrator’s love of books and words?

2. There are SO many beautiful and thought provoking quotes in this book! Here’s one I like (pg 3) “Inside, the lies you tell become the person you become. On the outside, sun and reality shrink people back to their actual size. In here, people grow into their shadows.” Transforming yourself into someone else has a magical, or enchanted, quality to it. It’s like you are disconnecting from the world. What do you think about the connection between the title of the book and this quote? Did you notice this, too?

3. Another quote I liked: “There would be a new paragraph that I could swear I had never read before.” I’m not a big re-reader but I was nodding as I read this. Books, especially when you read them years later, can almost transform themselves into an entirely new story. At least they do for me! How about you? Do you experience a book differently the second time around?

4. One last quote: “Book memories became the real memories, far more than the outside, far more even than in here.” A few times in my life I found myself telling someone else a story about something that happened to me only to realize that I had been talking about something I had read and not actually experienced!!! Has anything similar happened to you? How powerful are book memories for you? Are they transformative- life changing?



message 22: by Constance (new)

Constance McKee (constance_mckee) | 40 comments I agree that the writing is very descriptive, full of metaphors and beautiful imagery. I think the narrator clearly loves words, has a deep connection to them--how else could he create such lyrical language and a word like "flibber-gibbet"?

The title, "The Enchanted," connects to your quote (“Inside, the lies you tell become the person you become. On the outside, sun and reality shrink people back to their actual size. In here, people grow into their shadows.”) as it does to so much of the writing in the book--the words themselves seem enchanted, as if they are not completely of this world. No ordinary person would see or say what this narrator does.

Like you, Christina, I'm not typically a re-reader, but I'm reading this book for the 2nd time, and I see all sorts of things I missed the first time. It gives me a wonderful feeling of discovery!

I have also told anecdotes from books I've read, thinking they actually occurred in my own life! Some books--perhaps this one will be one of those--are life changing. I have gained new empathy for both both sides of the death penalty issue and now look differently at life without parole.


message 23: by Chelsea (new)

Chelsea (chelseafairless) | 174 comments September 12th Questions for Pages 1-40


1. So far we don’t know too much about the narrator, especially his (or her?) backstory. What we do know is that he likes to read a lot. I found the writing to be very descriptive, full of metaphors and beautiful imagery. Since this book is written in first person, do you think the writing style is reflective of the narrator’s love of books and words?

So far I love the descriptive style of writing. And yes, it does seem to reflect the narrator well since he is well-read and yet not a perfectionist. He seems most concerned with expressing imagery well.

2. There are SO many beautiful and thought provoking quotes in this book! Here’s one I like (pg 3) “Inside, the lies you tell become the person you become. On the outside, sun and reality shrink people back to their actual size. In here, people grow into their shadows.” Transforming yourself into someone else has a magical, or enchanted, quality to it. It’s like you are disconnecting from the world. What do you think about the connection between the title of the book and this quote? Did you notice this, too?
Well, the narrator seems to be enchanted with the world he has created in his mind within the prison. He finds a way to be genuinely happy despite the severity of his life. That enchantment is only possible by disconnecting himself from the outside world, and he knows he would be lost if he were ever to be released. So whether or not he realizes that his view of the world is not entirely factual, it's how he copes.

3. Another quote I liked: “There would be a new paragraph that I could swear I had never read before.” I’m not a big re-reader but I was nodding as I read this. Books, especially when you read them years later, can almost transform themselves into an entirely new story. At least they do for me! How about you? Do you experience a book differently the second time around?
Generally, yes, although I think the first impression has a huge impact. With books I love, rereading them feels like going home after being away for awhile, and I find something new to appreciate each time. But with something I dislike, a second read can make me hate it even more; this happened to me with Wuthering Heights since I had to read it twice for school over the years, and I don't intend to revisit it.

4. One last quote: “Book memories became the real memories, far more than the outside, far more even than in here.” A few times in my life I found myself telling someone else a story about something that happened to me only to realize that I had been talking about something I had read and not actually experienced!!! Has anything similar happened to you? How powerful are book memories for you? Are they transformative- life changing?
Sometimes I can't remember if I learned something from a book or a movie or an article, but I don't recall ever mixing something up with real life. I have confused dreams with reality a few times, but not book memories. Regardless, a poignant passage in a book definitely has the power to change my outlook on something. Books are knowledge, and knowledge is power, after all.


message 24: by Karen ⊰✿, Fiction Aficionado (new)

Karen ⊰✿ | 14466 comments Mod
September 12th Questions for Pages 1-40


1. So far we don’t know too much about the narrator, especially his (or her?) backstory. What we do know is that he likes to read a lot. I found the writing to be very descriptive, full of metaphors and beautiful imagery. Since this book is written in first person, do you think the writing style is reflective of the narrator’s love of books and words?
This is I think going to be one of the most interesting parts of this book. The juxtaposition between this beautiful writing and the awful/evil person (we assume) that is writing it.

2. There are SO many beautiful and thought provoking quotes in this book! Here’s one I like (pg 3) “Inside, the lies you tell become the person you become. On the outside, sun and reality shrink people back to their actual size. In here, people grow into their shadows.” Transforming yourself into someone else has a magical, or enchanted, quality to it. It’s like you are disconnecting from the world. What do you think about the connection between the title of the book and this quote? Did you notice this, too?
Yes, I was surprised when he was talking about the place being "enchanted" and I guess this quote goes to his thoughts. Such an interesting view

3. Another quote I liked: “There would be a new paragraph that I could swear I had never read before.” I’m not a big re-reader but I was nodding as I read this. Books, especially when you read them years later, can almost transform themselves into an entirely new story. At least they do for me! How about you? Do you experience a book differently the second time around?
So true. Two books that I enjoyed MUCH more on re-reads were We Were Liars and The Great Gatsby. I also don't generally re-read books, but did as they were picked for book club and I had already read them. I certainly found lots of things I didn't in the first read

4. One last quote: “Book memories became the real memories, far more than the outside, far more even than in here.” A few times in my life I found myself telling someone else a story about something that happened to me only to realize that I had been talking about something I had read and not actually experienced!!! Has anything similar happened to you? How powerful are book memories for you? Are they transformative- life changing?
haha!
I don't think I've had any powerful memories, maybe just being a child and reading all of my grandmothers books from when she was a child (Anne of Green Gables, Pollyanna etc.). I still have the books and they are all 70+ years old now. Such a different feel and smell to them



message 25: by Karen ⊰✿, Fiction Aficionado (new)

Karen ⊰✿ | 14466 comments Mod
@Chelsea
re: #3. Wuthering Heights seems to polarise people! It is one of my all time favourite books and I've read it and seen it on stage dozens of times. It always interests me to find people who dislike it with just as much passion ;)


message 26: by Lisa (new)

Lisa  Moore September 12th Questions for Pages 1-40


1. So far we don’t know too much about the narrator, especially his (or her?) backstory. What we do know is that he likes to read a lot. I found the writing to be very descriptive, full of metaphors and beautiful imagery. Since this book is written in first person, do you think the writing style is reflective of the narrator’s love of books and words?
I love the writing of this book! I think that was the authors thoughts while writing this character, maybe it is the authors way of having us connect and place ourselves in the narrators life.

2. There are SO many beautiful and thought provoking quotes in this book! Here’s one I like (pg 3) “Inside, the lies you tell become the person you become. On the outside, sun and reality shrink people back to their actual size. In here, people grow into their shadows.” Transforming yourself into someone else has a magical, or enchanted, quality to it. It’s like you are disconnecting from the world. What do you think about the connection between the title of the book and this quote? Did you notice this, too?
That was my favorite quote so far. I thought it was just beautiful and truly captured how the narrator must feel in a dungeon prison waiting for death.

3. Another quote I liked: “There would be a new paragraph that I could swear I had never read before.” I’m not a big re-reader but I was nodding as I read this. Books, especially when you read them years later, can almost transform themselves into an entirely new story. At least they do for me! How about you? Do you experience a book differently the second time around?
Absolutely! I think that is the power of books, the older we get of perceptions change due to situations that happen to us in everyday life and it makes us change our feelings toward a book the second time reading it, because maybe we have a new perception due to something that has happened in our lives.

4. One last quote: “Book memories became the real memories, far more than the outside, far more even than in here.” A few times in my life I found myself telling someone else a story about something that happened to me only to realize that I had been talking about something I had read and not actually experienced!!! Has anything similar happened to you? How powerful are book memories for you? Are they transformative- life changing?
I haven't had that where I read something and thought it had happened to me, I have read a book and been so moved by it that I had to discuss it with friends and try to have them read it. I think that is the beauty of books, their works of fiction that can make you place yourself in that realm and just bring the reader to tears, or anger.


message 27: by Jacki (new)

Jacki | 236 comments 1. So far we don’t know too much about the narrator, especially his (or her?) backstory. What we do know is that he likes to read a lot. I found the writing to be very descriptive, full of metaphors and beautiful imagery. Since this book is written in first person, do you think the writing style is reflective of the narrator’s love of books and words?

Karen - I agree with you completely! You know the narrator has done something horrible to get in the position he is in, but already within the first 40 pages I'm getting emotionally tied to him - (view spoiler)- and I'm sure it has to do with the writing style. To me it almost has an innocence to it?

2. There are SO many beautiful and thought provoking quotes in this book! Here’s one I like (pg 3) “Inside, the lies you tell become the person you become. On the outside, sun and reality shrink people back to their actual size. In here, people grow into their shadows.” Transforming yourself into someone else has a magical, or enchanted, quality to it. It’s like you are disconnecting from the world. What do you think about the connection between the title of the book and this quote? Did you notice this, too?

Great quote! The narrator brought up the prison as the 'enchanted place' several times - maybe it has something to do with the narrator's obvious love for stories/books and his feeling that he is living inside a story (with people making up extravagant lies/back stories?).

3. Another quote I liked: “There would be a new paragraph that I could swear I had never read before.” I’m not a big re-reader but I was nodding as I read this. Books, especially when you read them years later, can almost transform themselves into an entirely new story. At least they do for me! How about you? Do you experience a book differently the second time around?

Absolutely. I'm a huge re-reader, especially with new installments in series. I read SO much that even with favorite books I forget the tiny details (minor characters, fun interactions). I try to re-read books before reading the new release to put myself back into that world.

Re-reading is also nice to see if books you enjoyed at one point stand the test of time. I just finished The Dark Unwinding for the second time (first read in 2012) and found myself enjoying it MORE. Was such a treat to re-visit this. I've definitely had re-reads go the other way though :)


4. One last quote: “Book memories became the real memories, far more than the outside, far more even than in here.” A few times in my life I found myself telling someone else a story about something that happened to me only to realize that I had been talking about something I had read and not actually experienced!!! Has anything similar happened to you? How powerful are book memories for you? Are they transformative- life changing?

I may have had this as a child, but not recently. Similar to this though (and I'm sure this is the case for many), I LOVE reading about places I'm visiting or have visited. Makes being in that situation much more significant to me.


message 28: by Derek (new)

Derek | 16 comments 1. So far we don’t know too much about the narrator, especially his (or her?) backstory. What we do know is that he likes to read a lot. I found the writing to be very descriptive, full of metaphors and beautiful imagery. Since this book is written in first person, do you think the writing style is reflective of the narrator’s love of books and words?

I do believe the writing style is reflective of the narrator's love of books and words. One thing that stuck with me is that he didn't really know how to read that well when he first entered prison. Now, he is an avid reader and seems to digest the words, almost allowing those words to try and give him somewhat of a new life. Those same words seem to give him permission to philosophize about the life he is forced to endure versus the life he still somewhat fantasizes about on the outside.

2. There are SO many beautiful and thought provoking quotes in this book! Here’s one I like (pg 3) “Inside, the lies you tell become the person you become. On the outside, sun and reality shrink people back to their actual size. In here, people grow into their shadows.” Transforming yourself into someone else has a magical, or enchanted, quality to it. It’s like you are disconnecting from the world. What do you think about the connection between the title of the book and this quote? Did you notice this, too?

I honestly believe the narrator is trying to create an alternative reality. I sometimes wonder if he wants to die just to escape this new reality. That's why I think his love of books and especially words is so important - he's able to escape into a reality he so desperately wants (and perhaps that's why "The White Dawn" keeps coming up in this story: maybe, just maybe, he really DOES want to be rescued).

3. Another quote I liked: “There would be a new paragraph that I could swear I had never read before.” I’m not a big re-reader but I was nodding as I read this. Books, especially when you read them years later, can almost transform themselves into an entirely new story. At least they do for me! How about you? Do you experience a book differently the second time around?

Absolutely. In my line of work, I often find myself reading and re-reading several lines of passage in order to garner new meaning and new information that I might have missed on my first read-through. Thankfully, books (especially good books) give us permission to do so. Books have multiple layers - it's our job to delve into each of those layers for the surprises they offer us.

4. One last quote: “Book memories became the real memories, far more than the outside, far more even than in here.” A few times in my life I found myself telling someone else a story about something that happened to me only to realize that I had been talking about something I had read and not actually experienced!!! Has anything similar happened to you? How powerful are book memories for you? Are they transformative- life changing?

I think the most powerfully transformative book memories are the ones that lead to discussions - meaningful ones, at that - and personal discoveries, where a curiosity about a passage or an author's use of words almost begs me to spend a little time researching.


message 29: by Derek (new)

Derek | 16 comments Hi, all; I'll be posting the next round of discussion questions on our break day. I have "The White Dawn" on order and it should be arriving today. I wonder if there is anything in that book that is particularly striking to our narrator?


message 30: by Chelsea (new)

Chelsea (chelseafairless) | 174 comments Karen wrote: "@Chelsea
re: #3. Wuthering Heights seems to polarise people! It is one of my all time favourite books and I've read it and seen it on stage dozens of times."


Yes, I've found that Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre tend to be love-or-hate books:) I hate WH and love Jane Eyre, and my cousin is the opposite. I suppose that means they're great books if they open up such passions in both directions.


message 31: by Ron (last edited Sep 14, 2015 05:52AM) (new)

Ron 1. So far we don’t know too much about the narrator, especially his (or her?) backstory. What we do know is that he likes to read a lot. I found the writing to be very descriptive, full of metaphors and beautiful imagery. Since this book is written in first person, do you think the writing style is reflective of the narrator’s love of books and words?

Yes, I’d say that is true. The imagery of his surroundings is sometimes so different from what we would expect to see. Through the stories he has read he sees beauty where others see only pain.

2. There are SO many beautiful and thought provoking quotes in this book! Here’s one I like (pg 3) “Inside, the lies you tell become the person you become. On the outside, sun and reality shrink people back to their actual size. In here, people grow into their shadows.” Transforming yourself into someone else has a magical, or enchanted, quality to it. It’s like you are disconnecting from the world. What do you think about the connection between the title of the book and this quote? Did you notice this, too?

When first reading the book’s jacket, I expected the prison walls themselves to somehow be the enchanted of the story, but that thought was quickly erased as I met the narrator. He is like the quote he speaks, except it’s in reverse for him. He grows within this place.

3. Another quote I liked: “There would be a new paragraph that I could swear I had never read before.” I’m not a big re-reader but I was nodding as I read this. Books, especially when you read them years later, can almost transform themselves into an entirely new story. At least they do for me! How about you? Do you experience a book differently the second time around?

I also rarely re-read a book. There have been some I have read twice. When doing so, I have had that experience to a point, or else I remember again as I am re-reading, and it becomes a déjà-vu moment. If given enough time between re-reads, the book would be experience differently because I have changed.

4. One last quote: “Book memories became the real memories, far more than the outside, far more even than in here.” A few times in my life I found myself telling someone else a story about something that happened to me only to realize that I had been talking about something I had read and not actually experienced!!! Has anything similar happened to you? How powerful are book memories for you? Are they transformative- life changing?

I will sometimes catch myself weaving a “book memory” and a real memory together into one story. Sometimes the experience I had had in real life was very close to a passage read in a book, so then the two become tangled. I think as readers we have much in common with the narrator of The Enchanted, to a point of course. Our experiences are changed by what we read.


message 32: by Constance (new)

Constance McKee (constance_mckee) | 40 comments Derek wrote: "Hi, all; I'll be posting the next round of discussion questions on our break day. I have "The White Dawn" on order and it should be arriving today. I wonder if there is anything in that book that i..."

I'll be very interested in what you think of "The White Dawn," since it is so significant to our narrator. If you like it, I might read it, too.


message 33: by Karen ⊰✿, Fiction Aficionado (new)

Karen ⊰✿ | 14466 comments Mod
Derek wrote: "Hi, all; I'll be posting the next round of discussion questions on our break day. I have "The White Dawn" on order and it should be arriving today. I wonder if there is anything in that book that i..."

I just finished reading the Sept 13&14 section and I think I agree with The Lady when she tells the priest why she thinks the book is so important.
But when you read it you may find there is more to it?!


message 34: by Derek (last edited Sep 15, 2015 04:24AM) (new)

Derek | 16 comments September 13 & 14 questions for pages 41-129

1. We're beginning to focus on the eyes of Arden. With the shifting perspectives and points of view, what do you think the author is trying to portray? Why are the eyes suddenly becoming more important to the story?

2. After a particularly telling scene involving "The White Dawn: An Eskimo Saga" (James Houston), Arden receives his own copy of his beloved book. Near the end of this reading, The Lady says that "If you understand what makes him tick - what is magic for him - then you can understand anyone." How is it possible that a book can open a window of understanding to one person? What makes a book someone's magic? (Question inspired by Karen's comment)

3. We are, indeed, beginning to see how "The White Dawn" is playing an important part in Arden's life. Two very important quotes in this novel are listed here: "...in watching a man, his face, his hands, his movements, waking and sleeping, and in listening to the tone of his voice, you may come to know him better than he could ever know himself" (72); and "There is one thing and only one thing, to rise and greet the new day, to turn your face from the dark of night, to gaze at the white dawn" (274). If these two quotes are the only quotes that can help us see and understand Arden's "magic", what might we be able to infer about Arden as a person?

4. Do you believe Arden is truly ready to die, or is it something else? What else do you think might be revealed about his past or personality that could open a new door or window?

5. A beautiful quote here: "Love isn't stopped by illness." What does this say about the human condition both inside and outside the world of the characters? Has an illness - an infection - stopped some from being able to love?



message 35: by Derek (new)

Derek | 16 comments If we need a person to post discussion questions for the last part of our reading, I would be happy to do so.


message 36: by Lisa (new)

Lisa  Moore September 13 & 14 questions for pages 41-129

1. We're beginning to focus on the eyes of Arden. With the shifting perspectives and points of view, what do you think the author is trying to portray? Why are the eyes suddenly becoming more important to the story?
I think that the author is trying to make the reader feel empathy towards the man who wants to die. Their not giving us any detail as to what the crime was for, but they are showing how he is with others around him and that makes me feel at least that he can't be that bad. He did have a pretty horrific childhood so he got dealt a bad hand, but in the dungeon he seems to have compassion for the fellow inmates he is with.

2. After a particularly telling scene involving "The White Dawn: An Eskimo Saga" (James Houston), Arden receives his own copy of his beloved book. Near the end of this reading, The Lady says that "If you understand what makes him tick - what is magic for him - then you can understand anyone." How is it possible that a book can open a window of understanding to one person? What makes a book someone's magic? (Question inspired by Karen's comment)
If the person reading a book can relate to the character in the book rather it is the character itself or maybe the situation they are in, that could be magic for the reader. Maybe especially of the reader is not willing to let you into their life to help them as it seems Arden is.

3. We are, indeed, beginning to see how "The White Dawn" is playing an important part in Arden's life. Two very important quotes in this novel are listed here: "...in watching a man, his face, his hands, his movements, waking and sleeping, and in listening to the tone of his voice, you may come to know him better than he could ever know himself" (72); and "There is one thing and only one thing, to rise and greet the new day, to turn your face from the dark of night, to gaze at the white dawn" (274). If these two quotes are the only quotes that can help us see and understand Arden's "magic", what might we be able to infer about Arden as a person?
that despite being on death row for a crime he committed and thinking he is a monster, maybe he isn't and it is just he was not nurtured or taught the right and wrong as a child.

4. Do you believe Arden is truly ready to die, or is it something else? What else do you think might be revealed about his past or personality that could open a new door or window?
I want to believe that he is not ready to die. I think that it will be revealed that maybe he didn't do the crime and he is just covering because he is scared.

5. A beautiful quote here: "Love isn't stopped by illness." What does this say about the human condition both inside and outside the world of the characters? Has an illness - an infection - stopped some from being able to love?
I think that with his mom having a mental disability it stopped her from truly loving him, but not him to her. And same with the lady. Her mom was retarded and it didn't stop them from loving one another. so i think it is just depends on the person with the illness


message 37: by Ron (new)

Ron 1. We're beginning to focus on the eyes of Arden. With the shifting perspectives and points of view, what do you think the author is trying to portray? Why are the eyes suddenly becoming more important to the story?

The narrator's view, or eyes, give us a look through the "magic" that he sees. Without it, we may only see a prison as a prison. But, shifting points of view does give us a more real understanding of each characters personality.

2. After a particularly telling scene involving "The White Dawn: An Eskimo Saga" (James Houston), Arden receives his own copy of his beloved book. Near the end of this reading, The Lady says that "If you understand what makes him tick - what is magic for him - then you can understand anyone." How is it possible that a book can open a window of understanding to one person? What makes a book someone's magic? (Question inspired by Karen's comment)

Our narrator finds beauty in every book, but a true connection with "The White Dawn". Not having read the book, I would guess he believes the person in this book is either like him, or in a situation he identifies with. Sometimes it can feel as if a book or its characters are written specifically for us.

3. We are, indeed, beginning to see how "The White Dawn" is playing an important part in Arden's life. Two very important quotes in this novel are listed here: "...in watching a man, his face, his hands, his movements, waking and sleeping, and in listening to the tone of his voice, you may come to know him better than he could ever know himself" (72); and "There is one thing and only one thing, to rise and greet the new day, to turn your face from the dark of night, to gaze at the white dawn" (274). If these two quotes are the only quotes that can help us see and understand Arden's "magic", what might we be able to infer about Arden as a person?

He may want to be forgiven for his past. Not that he believes it should be forgotten, but realize a new day with a new beginning.

4. Do you believe Arden is truly ready to die, or is it something else? What else do you think might be revealed about his past or personality that could open a new door or window?

Maybe he just wants to live on within the magic that he believes exists, a world outside, much like the books he reads.

5. A beautiful quote here: "Love isn't stopped by illness." What does this say about the human condition both inside and outside the world of the characters? Has an illness - an infection - stopped some from being able to love?

We want to believe that an inner part of us remains unchanged. The lady is telling York, that his mother's illness may have changed her ability she express love, but not the love itself. This is ultimately for York also.


message 38: by Constance (new)

Constance McKee (constance_mckee) | 40 comments Derek wrote: "September 13 & 14 questions for pages 41-129

1. We're beginning to focus on the eyes of Arden. With the shifting perspectives and points of view, what do you think the author is trying to portray?..."

I think the author is trying to show us that Arden can "see" everything. It seems to me that even when we hear what happens in the lives and minds of other characters, it's all being narrated by Arden. Arden is himself "enchanted" and has special abilities to know other people's minds and events for which he wasn't even present. Arden tell us this on pg 1: "This is an enchanted place. Others don't see it, but I do. I see every cinder block...I see the doorways...I see the chamber...I see, etc."
2. After a particularly telling scene involving "The White Dawn: An Eskimo Saga" (James Houston), Arden receives his own copy of his beloved book. Near the end of this reading, The Lady says that "If you understand what makes him tick - what is magic for him - then you can understand anyone." How is it possible that a book can open a window of understanding to one person? What makes a book someone's magic? (Question inspired by Karen's comment)

Although we as readers know a lot about what made Arden tick, the characters in his world did not--because he didn't talk. He, without speaking, still conveyed his passion for "The White Dawn," and this relates to the quoted passages in question #3 below. But, separate from Arden, certain books can touch on our deepest feelings when we feel we are really "there" in the book, when we experience emotions right along with the characters. That's the magic of reading a good book.

3. We are, indeed, beginning to see how "The White Dawn" is playing an important part in Arden's life. Two very important quotes in this novel are listed here: "...in watching a man, his face, his hands, his movements, waking and sleeping, and in listening to the tone of his voice, you may come to know him better than he could ever know himself" (72); and "There is one thing and only one thing, to rise and greet the new day, to turn your face from the dark of night, to gaze at the white dawn" (274). If these two quotes are the only quotes that can help us see and understand Arden's "magic", what might we be able to infer about Arden as a person?

I think we can infer that Arden is extremely observant, and that he intuits intelligently from what he observes. Also, that he has a "magical" ability to see beauty, despite the grimness of his surroundings and situation.

4. Do you believe Arden is truly ready to die, or is it something else? What else do you think might be revealed about his past or personality that could open a new door or window?

I'm undecided about this question. Part of me thinks that Arden truly wants to die because he feels he is a monster and fears he might cause harm to other people. At the same time, he has such a magical ability to perceive beauty that it makes me think he could be happy living in his current situation. If someone, like the Lady, investigates his past, it appears likely that she could find evidence of abuse and other horrors that might help him get a life sentence, instead of the death penalty.

5. A beautiful quote here: "Love isn't stopped by illness." What does this say about the human condition both inside and outside the world of the characters? Has an illness - an infection - stopped some from being able to love?

I think this quote is saying that no matter how impaired a person is--by mental retardation, or brain damage, or by being a psychopathic killer, he/she is still capable of loving another person. Sometimes the person's impairment will affect the way they demonstrate their love, but the love is still there.



message 39: by Jacki (new)

Jacki | 236 comments 1. We're beginning to focus on the eyes of Arden. With the shifting perspectives and points of view, what do you think the author is trying to portray? Why are the eyes suddenly becoming more important to the story?

Interesting question. Death is so prevalent in this story whether you are on death row or not. Possibly the shifting perspectives is giving us an idea on how varying people view death.

2. After a particularly telling scene involving "The White Dawn: An Eskimo Saga" (James Houston), Arden receives his own copy of his beloved book. Near the end of this reading, The Lady says that "If you understand what makes him tick - what is magic for him - then you can understand anyone." How is it possible that a book can open a window of understanding to one person? What makes a book someone's magic?

I agree with others' comments. Its fairly obvious that something about that specific book is drawing the narrator in - a character? a specific situation? a certain scene? If you were to understand what it is about the book that speaks to the narrator maybe you can get more of an idea on him.

3. We are, indeed, beginning to see how "The White Dawn" is playing an important part in Arden's life. Two very important quotes in this novel are listed here: "...in watching a man, his face, his hands, his movements, waking and sleeping, and in listening to the tone of his voice, you may come to know him better than he could ever know himself" (72); and "There is one thing and only one thing, to rise and greet the new day, to turn your face from the dark of night, to gaze at the white dawn" (274). If these two quotes are the only quotes that can help us see and understand Arden's "magic", what might we be able to infer about Arden as a person?

Undecided on my thoughts here....I'm hoping to come up with something :)

4. Do you believe Arden is truly ready to die, or is it something else? What else do you think might be revealed about his past or personality that could open a new door or window?

I'm not convinced the narrator truly understand he whole concept of him dying. No part of his life can be considered normal (I won't divulge as I've finished the book and I'm not sure if what I'm thinking was later) - based on what I've read I'm not even positive he has an idea on right v. wrong. He is in his enchanted place, he feels safe. I'm not sure his thoughts go beyond this.

5. A beautiful quote here: "Love isn't stopped by illness." What does this say about the human condition both inside and outside the world of the characters? Has an illness - an infection - stopped some from being able to love?

I'm sure it has to some but I'm willing to bet the vast majority of those with 'illness' are capable of loving. I think another way to look at this is that someone's illness doesn't stop others from caring for them either


message 40: by Karen ⊰✿, Fiction Aficionado (new)

Karen ⊰✿ | 14466 comments Mod
Derek wrote: "If we need a person to post discussion questions for the last part of our reading, I would be happy to do so."

Great, thanks Derek!


message 41: by Karen ⊰✿, Fiction Aficionado (new)

Karen ⊰✿ | 14466 comments Mod
September 13 & 14 questions for pages 41-129


@Lisa Marie

re:
#1. I agree we are being asked to feel empathy without knowing the crime. perhaps this is the point in that it doesn't really matter?

#5. So true. I have been surprised with the parallel's with The Lady's life, but I guess someone that does this as a job so successfully would have to have a common point of reference

------------

@Constance

#3 your comment made me think about how it was inferred that he (or York, I can't remember now) would be an observer to what was happening with the mother. I guess that forces a child to go into their own head


message 42: by [deleted user] (new)

Sorry Guys, I'm a bit behind this time round but I'll have comments on the next lot of pages shortly!

1.So far we don’t know too much about the narrator, especially his (or her?) backstory. What we do know is that he likes to read a lot. I found the writing to be very descriptive, full of metaphors and beautiful imagery. Since this book is written in first person, do you think the writing style is reflective of the narrator’s love of books and words?


Initially I wasn’t enjoying the style of writing that the author is using, i.e. a first person narration with someone you know nothing about but the more I’m reading the book the more I’m coming to terms with this. There is some very nice imagery portrayed so far as well.


2. There are SO many beautiful and thought provoking quotes in this book! Here’s one I like (pg 3) “Inside, the lies you tell become the person you become. On the outside, sun and reality shrink people back to their actual size. In here, people grow into their shadows.” Transforming yourself into someone else has a magical, or enchanted, quality to it. It’s like you are disconnecting from the world. What do you think about the connection between the title of the book and this quote? Did you notice this, too?


It’s taken me a to at least page 35-40 to really start to pay attention to the potential storyline and the wording as initially I wasn’t enjoying the book. I can’t really comment on this one from a previous point of view but reading now I appreciate the sentiment behind ‘the lies you tell become the person you become’


3. Another quote I liked: “There would be a new paragraph that I could swear I had never read before.” I’m not a big re-reader but I was nodding as I read this. Books, especially when you read them years later, can almost transform themselves into an entirely new story. At least they do for me! How about you? Do you experience a book differently the second time around?


This was a part of the book that I read and appreciated, and completely agree with. I re-read some of my favourite books regularly because you still have the same emotional attachment to the characters/plot and I feel it sometimes helps knowing what is coming in the story to make you look for and appreciate some of the points that you missed before.


4. One last quote: “Book memories became the real memories, far more than the outside, far more even than in here.” A few times in my life I found myself telling someone else a story about something that happened to me only to realize that I had been talking about something I had read and not actually experienced!!! Has anything similar happened to you? How powerful are book memories for you? Are they transformative- life changing?


I don’t think I’ve ever told a story to have realised it happened in a book, but I’ve certainly spoke to people about books that have emotionally affected me and altered my perception on things in real life


message 43: by Derek (new)

Derek | 16 comments Just finished the novel - got up at 3:30 AM to finish it. Will be posting the discussion questions in a few hours.

Hope everyone has a great Thursday!


message 44: by Derek (new)

Derek | 16 comments Discussion questions for pages 130-end

1. Two recurring motifs, the flibber-gibbets and the Golden Horses, are seen anytime an execution is planned. How do these two motifs help paint a mental image? Why are they especially important/powerful for such a morbid time in the prison?

2. At the very end, Arden calls both the prison and the world in general "enchanted." What do you think makes both of these so enchanted for Arden? What happens that allows other characters to begin to see enchantment in other people or other things?

3. Arden comments that "The lady is like me in many ways." How does this empathy allow both The Lady and Arden to be able to relate better to each other?

4. I love the fact that Arden is able to communicate with both his body language and eyes, and I think emotion is the driving force behind this. Why is it Arden's emotions are particularly meaningful to the overall narrative?

5. I also loved the thoughts on time: "Time is measured in meaning"; "When time no longer exists,...[y]ou have no place in the universe." What was one of your favorite quotes/thoughts? Why was it so meaningful or powerful for you?

6. If you were able to ask any of the characters one question, which one would it be, and what would you ask him/her?


message 45: by Constance (new)

Constance McKee (constance_mckee) | 40 comments Thanks a bunch, Derek, for getting up early to finish the book and for preparing these questions. Wow--great questions! You've given me a lot to think about. I'll start thinking and reply as soon as I can.


message 46: by Jacki (new)

Jacki | 236 comments 1. Two recurring motifs, the flibber-gibbets and the Golden Horses, are seen anytime an execution is planned. How do these two motifs help paint a mental image? Why are they especially important/powerful for such a morbid time in the prison?

Would be very grateful for some explanation on the two of these. Initially - I thought these were solely in the narrator's mind, but the Golden horses (earthquake?) was real enough. Look forward to hearing others' ideas!

2. At the very end, Arden calls both the prison and the world in general "enchanted." What do you think makes both of these so enchanted for Arden? What happens that allows other characters to begin to see enchantment in other people or other things?

IMO - Arden sees the potential for a story in much around him, leading him to feel that everything has the capabilities for being enchanted. As far as other people seeing the enchantment around them - I feel like it comes down to the people in different life situations seeing parallels in others - such as the lady seeing bits of her past when uncovering York's OR the warden dealing with accepting death just as the prisoners are doing the same. Makes people seem much more human when you can relate.

3. Arden comments that "The lady is like me in many ways." How does this empathy allow both The Lady and Arden to be able to relate better to each other?

4. I love the fact that Arden is able to communicate with both his body language and eyes, and I think emotion is the driving force behind this. Why is it Arden's emotions are particularly meaningful to the overall narrative?

Emotions are so meaningful to the narrative because being mute Arden has no other way to express himself. I get this - I work with the hearing impaired. Although able to express themselves, these individuals cannot trust they are completely understanding what others are saying. It is absolutely amazing the information that can be expressed with eye contact and body language.

5. I also loved the thoughts on time: "Time is measured in meaning"; "When time no longer exists,...[y]ou have no place in the universe." What was one of your favorite quotes/thoughts? Why was it so meaningful or powerful for you?

Shoot - I wish I would have gotten to this question before I returned my library book :). I love the quote above though.

6. If you were able to ask any of the characters one question, which one would it be, and what would you ask him/her?

I think the most frustrating part of this book (to me) is the amount of unknowns - even stuff as simple as the names. I'm sure this is more than fine for some but I don't appreciate this much left open ended. So I've got a lot of questions. Aside from the obvious (names, what the heck did Arden do to terrify EVERYONE) - I'd like to know what it is about White Dawn that enchants Arden.


message 47: by Lisa (new)

Lisa  Moore Discussion questions for pages 130-end

1. Two recurring motifs, the flibber-gibbets and the Golden Horses, are seen anytime an execution is planned. How do these two motifs help paint a mental image? Why are they especially important/powerful for such a morbid time in the prison?
I think that the horses symbolize the freedom and the hope the prisoners feel when they know a life is ending. That hope is that they will run again and be free instead of trapped in the prison being stifled. The men with the hammers I feel represent the breaking free part. They are hammering down the walls, hence breaking out.

2. At the very end, Arden calls both the prison and the world in general "enchanted." What do you think makes both of these so enchanted for Arden? What happens that allows other characters to begin to see enchantment in other people or other things?
I think that the sense of finding the good in all things has that enchanted feel. I feel the horses represent the enchantment. The idea that death is a way of the prisoner to be free, adds to the hope for the them that life goes on.

3. Arden comments that "The lady is like me in many ways." How does this empathy allow both The Lady and Arden to be able to relate better to each other?
The lady feels empathy towards Arden for having the same background and upbringing. The lady understands that Arden committed the crimes he did because he had that poor neglected and abused upbringing, she can see past that and see that he is a good but has been dealt the short end of the stick.

4. I love the fact that Arden is able to communicate with both his body language and eyes, and I think emotion is the driving force behind this. Why is it Arden's emotions are particularly meaningful to the overall narrative?
having no other ways of communication he has only but his emotions to do the talking, and the eyes are the windows to the soul.

5. I also loved the thoughts on time: "Time is measured in meaning"; "When time no longer exists,...[y]ou have no place in the universe." What was one of your favorite quotes/thoughts? Why was it so meaningful or powerful for you?
I like that quote of time is measured in meaning. We have such a short amount of time, and it is what we do with it that will tell what kind of legacy we want to leave behind. Do you want to be remembered as a good person, then you volunteer and do kind things for others. If you want to leave a negative legacy, then you commit crimes and don't care for others.

6. If you were able to ask any of the characters one question, which one would it be, and what would you ask him/her?
Why was it important to leave the names unknown?


message 48: by Lisa (new)

Lisa  Moore Finished 09/16/15
The Enchanted The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


haunting, magical, and just beautifully written. Though it takes place in prison on death row the author brings such magic to a tragic story. The characters seem real and tho the prison is magically enchanted even the author does a wonderful job of making it seem real. The most beautiful thing about this book is not so much the background story of the characters, but the beautiful quotes that are strewn through out the book. definitely a book to remember.



View all my reviews


message 49: by Karen ⊰✿, Fiction Aficionado (new)

Karen ⊰✿ | 14466 comments Mod
@Jacki

I read an interview with the author and she said the horses were earthquakes. The people in the walls were apparently about how she always thoughts as a child that there were tiny people in the walls and so she used that idea here


message 50: by Derek (new)

Derek | 16 comments Thanks, Karen! I had a morbid thought regarding the horses, so I'm glad to see it didn't confirm my thinking!


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