Perhaps I was in a cantankerous frame of mind, but I wished the women in the story has played parts beyond those of sex, beauty, envy, and manipulation.
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It would have been great to borrow one of the Spartan women from Steven Pressfield's "Gates of Fire," a woman with courage, compassion, and intelligence Also, this happens to be the second book in a row that I've read that, alas, contains incest. I have been a big fan of Salman Rushdie for many years. I missed this one when it first came out, but picked it up recently. It starts well with an interesting European character landing in the India of the moguls having been a stowaway on an English ship carrying a letter from Elizabeth I - a promising plot, but the novel lost me about half way through and I have not finished it.
A little too show-offy on Rushdie's part, with less interesting stories within stories and subplots. Why yes, that must say something about his eponymous continents, no? Rushdie is a treasure - but I would recommend his other works. This book, Kindle version, was good, but hard to follow at times.
It seems to hop around between times and places and between illusion and reality so much that it was a bit hard to really enjoy. I love reading, and it is only when I get fed up with poor spelling or misuse of words that I will abandon a book. This book had neither, and I read it all the way. The story is very interesting. My only difficulty was in trying to follow the story.
It was the first book by Rushdie that I had read, so I had no comparison. I've been a fan of Rushdie for a long time and have read all of his fiction. While two reviewers in The New York Times Michiko Kakutani and David Gates gave "The Enchantress of Florence" negative reviews, I have learned to distrust reviews of professional reviewers of fiction; I'm convinced that they are no longer able to truly enjoy fiction the way ordinary readers do since they cannot allow themselves to sink into the world created by the author but must instead maintain a critical distance.
While their critical stance might allow them to enjoy some fiction, I think it completely interferes with their ability to appreciate a work of fantasy like "The Enchantress of Florence". Rushdie is a great storyteller and his books are easy to enjoy if you allow yourself to believe in his characters and settings despite their frequent lack of reality.
I enjoyed this book very much. I found the settings and characters interesting and enjoyed it's reflections about storytelling and its story-within-story framing narrative. While there is a sharp departure from India to Italy in the second part of the book, Rushdie does ultimately tie everything together in a satisfactory way that explains the mystery of the character known as the "Mogor dell'Amore". If you keep reading, your patience will be rewarded.
I particularly enjoyed Rushdie's account of Akbar the Great and his capital city of Fatehpur Sikri in northwest India. In fact, when I had a chance to visit India 4 months later, I made a point of visiting Fatehpur Sikri which is one hour from Agra where the famed Taj Mahal is. Most tourists to India visit Agra but don't take the time to visit Akbar's city. The beautiful red sandstone buildings are well-preserved and definitely worth visiting for a half or whole day.
My visit to Fatehpur Sikri was one of the highlights of my trip to India, in part because I could picture Akbar and his court thanks to Rushdie's vivid account of them. This is my first Rushdie novel. Other than the fatwa associated with "The Satanic Verses," my first real exposure to him was an interview with Charlie Rose last year.
After watching that interview, I became intrigued and decided to try either "Midnight's Children," "The Satanic Verses" or this. I was not disappointed. Rushdie's storytelling, his imagination and his command of the English language are unmatched. The premise is unique Rushdie gradually unfolds the tale in mesmerizing style.
The narrrative is enhanced by the Indian and Italian settings and by the frequent references to historical figures including Genghis Kahn, the Medici's, Vlad the Impaler and a host of others. The writing is spectacular!!
Normally I prefer the compactness of a Hemingway, but Rushdi's flowing style reads well, and his command of language and his imagination are beyond compare. On a number of occassions I paused to admire the beauty of his sometimes page-long sentences and his flawless inclusion of words that I have not seen since college and some not even then.
The Enchantress of Florence (vintage Magic) by Salman Rushdie
It is only fair to add that Rushdie is not for everyone. The things that make this book magnificent will not necessarily appeal to everyone. But they appealed to me!! After a pause to catch my breath, I will be on to "Midnight's Children. Pages with related products. See and discover other items: Your recently viewed items and featured recommendations. View or edit your browsing history. Get to Know Us. Delivery and Returns see our delivery rates and policies thinking of returning an item? See our Returns Policy.
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Minimal damage to the book cover eg. If this is a hard cover, the dust jacket may be missing. Binding has minimal wear. The majority of pages are undamaged with some creasing or tearing, and pencil underlining of text, but this is minimal. No highlighting of text, no writing in the margins, and no missing pages.
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