Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Enchantress of Florence The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
The Enchantress of Florence is a crazy book. Rushdie has a big brain is not averse to letting you know it by throwing all sorts of bits of trivia and taking you on intellectual historical and philosophical rants that eventually turn back to the main storyline. There is a 1001 Nights feel to this book as it is a collection of stories, not in the sense of short stories, but because the man in the coat of multicolored leather lozenges is a male Scheherazade telling stories to Emperor Akbar. The Mogor dell'Amore has a tremendously powerful story to tell. One that will win him everything. Yet Akbar himself is a powerful enchantor. My favorite character is the splendid wife he dreams into being from the force of his desire. She becomes real, the other wives hate her and the whole city knows that she is his true love. So I was bit disappointed at the ending and what ultimately happens to her.

Rushdie is a brilliant writer and like Bill Clinton, who will take an oratorical rant on a tangent for 40 mintues and then tie it all up and bring it back to his orginal main point, Rusdie does get back to the main point, Akbar and Mogor dell'Amore and Qara Koz. My only quibble is that sometimes it seems that Rusdie is so in love with the sound of a sentence or the idea of something crazy that he forces it into the book whether or not it makes sense. Portions of the book are like sensational sound bites, that would be amazing little shorts on youtube or in a quick sidebar in the New Yorker, but seem forced in the grand sweep of the book.

In spite of that, the book is a grand story. It is also a pleasant read and a perfect read before bedtime. Because there is always a new character or story taking place and it is easy to read a few chapters before bed and not have to worry about losing your place. The language is beautiful and grand and takes you off to the enchanted land.

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