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The Enchantress of Florenceby Salman Rushdie
I'm not much of a Rushdie fan: I've always found him to be far too long-winded for my taste. So it was quite a pleasant surprise for me to find myself enjoying his latest novel so very much. Enchanting, beguiling, and written with exquisite prose, this was definitely the best book I read in 2008. A very seductive read.
Synopses & Reviews
A tall, yellow-haired, young European traveler calling himself "Mogor dell'Amore," the Mughal of Love, arrives at the court of the Emperor Akbar, lord of the great Mughal empire, with a tale to tell that begins to obsess the imperial capital, a tale about a mysterious woman, a great beauty believed to possess powers of enchantment and sorcery, and her impossible journey to the far-off city of Florence.
The Enchantress of Florence is the story of a woman attempting to command her own destiny in a man's world. It is the story of two cities, unknown to each other, at the height of their powers — the hedonistic Mughal capital, in which the brilliant Akbar the Great wrestles daily with questions of belief, desire, and the treachery of his sons, and the equally sensual city of Florence during the High Renaissance, where Niccolo Machiavelli takes a starring role as he learns, the hard way, about the true brutality of power.
Vivid, gripping, irreverent, bawdy, profoundly moving, and completely absorbing, The Enchantress of Florence is a dazzling book full of wonders by one of the world's most important living writers.
From the Hardcover edition.
"Beyond its magical razzle-dazzle lays a work of steely contemporary resonance, rich in slyly metafictional allusions."Bloomberg News
"A romance of beauty and power from Italy to India . . . so delightful an homage to Renaissance magic and wonder. The Washington Post Book World
"This is 'history' jubilantly mixed with postmodernist magic realism." The New York Review of Books
"A baroque whirlwind of a narrative . . . [Rushdie helps] us escape from the present into a dreamlike past that ultimately makes us more aware of the dangers and illusions of our everyday lives." Chicago Tribune
"Brilliant . . . Rushdie's sumptuous mixture of history and fable is magnificent." The Guardian (London)
"For Rushdie, as for the artists he writes about, the pen is a magician's wand. . . . One of his best [novels]." Financial Times
"[A] prodigious fever dream of a book." Elle
The tale of an elephant named Solomon who travels through sixteenth century Europe, from Lisbon to Vienna.
The Enchantress of Florence is the story of a mysterious woman, a great beauty believed to possess the powers of enchantment and sorcery, attempting to command her own destiny in a man's world. It is the story of two cities at the height of their powers — the hedonistic Mughal capital, in which the brilliant emperor Akbar the Great wrestles daily with questions of belief, desire, and the treachery of his sons, and the equally sensual city of Florence during the High Renaissance, where Niccolo Machiavelli takes a starring role as he learns, the hard way, about the true brutality of power. Profoundly moving and completely absorbing, The Enchantress of Florence is a dazzling book full of wonders by one of the world’s most important living writers.
A delightful, witty tale of friendship and adventure from prize-winning novelist José Saramago
In 1551, King João III of Portugal gave Archduke Maximilian an unusual wedding present: an elephant named Solomon. In José Saramago's remarkable and imaginative retelling, Solomon and his keeper, Subhro, begin in dismal conditions, forgotten in a corner of the palace grounds. When it occurs to the king and queen that an elephant would be an appropriate wedding gift, everyone rushes to get them ready: Subhro is given two new suits of clothes and Solomon a long overdue scrub. Accompanied by the Archduke, his new wife, and the royal guard, these unlikely heroes traverse a continent riven by the Reformation and civil wars, witnessed along the way by scholars, historians, and wide-eyed ordinary people as they make their way through the storied cities of northern Italy; they brave the Alps and the terrifying Isarco and Brenner Passes; across the Mediterranean Sea and up the Inn River; and at last, toward their grand entry into the imperial city.
About the Author
Salman Rushdie is the author of nine previous novels: Grimus: Midnight's Children (which was awarded the Booker Prize in 1981 and, in 1993, was judged to be the "Booker of Bookers," the best novel to have won that prize in its first twenty-five years); Shame (winner of the French Prix de Meilleur Livre Etranger); The Satanic Verses (winner of the Whitbread Prize for Best Novel); Haroun and the Sea of Stories (winner of the Writers Guild Award); The Moor's Last Sigh (winner of the Whitbread Prize for Best Novel); The Ground Beneath Her Feet (winner of the Eurasian section of the Commonwealth Prize); Fury (a New York Times Notable Book); and Shalimar the Clown (a Time Book of the Year). He is also the author of a book of stories, East, West, and three works of nonfiction — Imaginary Homelands, The Jaguar Smile, and The Wizard of Oz. He is co-editor of Mirrorwork, an anthology of contemporary Indian writing.
From the Hardcover edition.
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