Manual Enchantments: A Novel (Vintage International)

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But, as she grows, the world around her begins to sharpen. Shadows appear and doubts begin to creep. And finally, the dangers of the adult world come into full view, first with the Paris riots of May, , and then when tragedy strikes much closer to home. Refreshingly joyful, full of the things that children do, Enchantments is also something much more profound: From the Trade Paperback edition.

Linda Ferri, Enchantments Knopf, Enchantments is a very small, quite lovely little novel that doesn't really seem to be about much of anything until you get to the very end. Thus, it's impossible to tell you what the book is about without ruining it in some way.

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Just trust me, it really is about something. Enchantments is an impressionist treat, twenty-five small still-lifes that together give us the coming of age of a privileged Italian girl. The girl herself is not all that likeable, when it comes right down to it; she's self-absorbed, mean, and uncommunicative in the extreme.

But we're not here to admire the would-be heroine, we're here to admire the scenery. And what scenery it is.

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Ferri paints her scenes here with all the subtlety of the truly observant which is what really gives this away as fiction, not memoir; the narrator couldn't possibly be observant enough to pick up all the lush detail to be found here and all the mastery of the fictional painter who did a portrait for some guy named Dorian Gray. Everything is ripe, except for those parts that look as if they've already gone over the edge and slipped into decay.


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There are never enough decayed bits to overwhelm the painting; the flies haven't started buzzing yet, but you can always feel them quivering under the skin of whatever fruit you imagine when you think of the term "still life. It's small, readable, and, well, enchanting. Enchantments, originally published in Italy under the title Incantesimi, is Linda Ferri's debut novel. Told in a series of 25 short vignettes, it is narrated by an unnamed Italian girl in the style of a memoir, from the toddler to early teen years.


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  8. The narrator and her family move from Italy to Paris during the opening scene of this small novel. What follows is an intimate tale of a family whose dynamics are illuminated through summers in Italy, a visit to America and winters in Paris. Making a cohesive whole out of such a small book is a challenge for any author, but to carry it out in a debut novel and have it result in such a strong voice is a trademark of a gifted new author. Also in Vintage International.

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