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The Enchantress of Florence (Vintage Magic) Paperback – 8 Jan 2009


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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (8 Jan. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099421925
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099421924
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 27,930 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sir Salman Rushdie is the author of many novels including Grimus, Midnight's Children, Shame, The Satanic Verses, The Moor's Last Sigh, The Ground Beneath Her Feet, Fury and Shalimar the Clown. He has also published works of non-fiction including The Jaguar Smile, Imaginary Homelands, The Wizard of Oz and, as co-editor, The Vintage Book of Short Stories.

Product Description

Review

`Salman Rushdie's best work in years.' -- Daily Telegraph

`A less playful writer would get bogged down in this rich mix...but it is effervescent...in Rushdie's hands.'
-- The Observer

`Much to delight his fans'
-- The Times

`The predictable divions that greeted this spectacular fantasia should not mask its sheer panache and pace'.
-- The Independent

Review

`A less playful writer would get bogged down in this rich mix...but it is effervescent...in Rushdie's hands.'

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Roland F. on 14 Aug. 2008
Format: Hardcover
Salman Rushdie, unfortunately still seen by many as the scandal writer of "The Satanic Verses" only, has with his new book given us readers again a magnificent novel. "The Enchantress of Florence" is a beautiful and opulent reading feast. Considering that one of the books characters is Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527), the main time of this novel is the end of the 15th and beginning of the 16th century. A novel, which skilfully plays with the idea of "1001 Nights and Scheherazade", giving the story-telling role to a young european traveller, yellow haired, calling himself the "Mogor dell'Amore" and claiming to be the child of the lost Mughal princess Qara Koz. He tells his story to the feared Emperor Mughal Akbar, of course knowing that belief or disbelief will decide his fate. Salman Rushdie has written a (sometimes rather frivolous) fable, a wonderful book about love, trust, treachery, enchantment, the art of story-telling and the story of Lady Black Eyes. A tale of many voices, all perfectly united in one whole by Salman Rushdie, who has herewith delivered what I guess is maybe his best novel to date.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Sonia on 30 July 2008
Format: Hardcover
Imagine a king, a foreigner, a lost princess and a queen who does not really exist but has a mind of her own, and talks, makes love and has her own servants. The latest novel by Salman Rushdie, which I believe to be one of the greatest author of our time, is full of enchantment, stories, and imagination.
This is once again a complex novel by Rushdie, and I believe that I need to read it again to fully comprehend the meaning hiding between the lines. At this point I would say it is an ode to imagination. Rushdie shows that imagination helps us see beyond the borders and what is directly in front of us. It can even bring people to life, such as King Akbar's imaginary wife Jodha, and it can bring us wisdom and tolerance of other worlds. Too much imagination, however, may cause us to lose all touch with reality.
What also stands out in this novel is the issue of religion. Not so much a religion in particular, but religion in general. Rushdie seems to critique monotheism as detrimental to one's imagination, as well as polytheism as imagination run amok.

I give it a tentative 4 stars because the language was once again amazingly beautiful, but I'm not fully convinced I like this novel. It is too Arabian nights for my taste, that is to say, full of princes and kings, giants and warriors, jealous queens and princesses, enchanted pictures and omens, castles and dungeons, etc., etc. While some readers might feel that this adds value to the novel I can't help but feeling it is a bit cliché. Because even though Rushdie is an icon of magical realism, I believe his previous books have a magical quality that has evolved far beyond that of Arabian nights.
But I'm still willing to believe that if I read it again I might appreciate it better.
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73 of 79 people found the following review helpful By PeeBee TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 30 April 2008
Format: Hardcover
As an avid Rushdie fan, I was deeply disappointed with "The Ground Beneath Her Feet" - a jarring mis-step - and was not totally enthralled by "Shalimar the Clown". However, Enchantress is a return to form for an author I genuinely regard as without peer amongst his generation.

What makes Rushdie so great? His use of language is simply staggering. He can construct the most dizzying, dense and multi-dimensional sentences. His prose is certainly convoluted, but it is not at the expense of the story. Far from that, the narrator is often as beguiling a character as any of the main protagonists. If you love the English language, history, theology, philosophy, etymology, art... in fact, anything which might pique a curious mind, Rushdie offers a cocktail of wonderment for the senses.

I see no reason to explain the premise or the storyline - you can read that in Amazon's description, and equally, it is only half the reason to read this novel and is, as always with Rushdie's work, an allegory for deeper philosophical and geo-political theses.

Rushdie's books are something of a challenge to read - his prose is not light and economical - but the challenge is well-worth taking. Nothing good ever comes easy. This is such an enjoyable book - I hope it's a lasting return to form.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By tregatt on 19 Jun. 2008
Format: Hardcover
Years ago (more than I'd like to think about), one of my tutors recommended that I read Salman Rushdie's "Haroun and the Sea of Stories." I tried to finish the novel but have to confess that I didn't. I probably lacked the sophistication back then to appreciate the exquisite prose style and painstaking craftsmanship that went into creating that award winning novel. And truthfully speaking I rather thought that Salman Rushdie was going to be one of the many winning authours that would never make to my reading pile. But something about "The Enchantress of Florence" beckoned, and I decided to give it a go. And I'm truly glad that I did. What an exceptionally enthralling and compelling read "The Enchantress of Florence" turned out to be.

The Mughal Emperor, Akbar, is ready for a diversion away from the woes of family and ruling a vast nation, when a mysterious yellow-haired stranger arrives at his court in Fatepur Sikri, claiming to be an ambassador from England. The stranger has many tales to tell about the distant European city of Florence, and the enchantress from the East that enraptured the people of Florence with her beauty and grace, and soon everyone in Sikri is enthralled by the young storyteller's tales. But will these stories prove the undoing of the court, and will Akbar's growing affection for the storyteller cause even more strife amongst his family?

When I was a child, my mother used to subscribe to an Indian magazine for women that had recipes, articles, sewing tips and vignettes about Akbar and his wise advisor Birbal. Reading "The Enchantress of Florence" transported me back to those wonderful carefree days.
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