Book Review: The Enchantress of Florence

Travel was pointless. It removed you from the place in which you had a meaning, and to which you gave meaning in return by dedicating your life to it, and it spirited you away into fairylands where you were, and looked, frankly absurd.

Book Information
Author:Salman Rushdie
Publisher:Random House
Date of Publication:2008
Number of Pages:Approx 360 with cover

Book Review: The Enchantress of Florence

A yellow haired European arrives at Fatehpur Sikri to meet the Mughal Emperor Akbar, and claims that he is a relative of the emperor, a relation that had deliberately been wiped off from the family history of the Great Mughals. He presents a tale that makes the court and the Mughals oscillate between their present and their past. The story shifts across continents and regimes, the court of the Mughals to Renaissance Florence, thematically establishing the link between the East and the West.

Rushdie in this multi faceted novel introduces imaginary characters and upsets established historical believes, wherein Jodha, the emperor’s legendary wife is claimed to be nonexistent, existing only in the Emperor’s dream, of and as the perfect wife. Crisscrosses of the history, the magic and the realism present in this book makes it difficult to follow every intricate direction hinted at. The reader is expected to vanish in the meandering lanes, twists of facts and fables, but again, not all those who wander are lost.

Enchantment is a metaphor, aptly used and suits the title. It is the language that hangs over the reader's senses like a cloud, called the fantastic. Witchcraft requires no potions, familiar spirits or magic wands. Language upon a silvered tongue affords enchantment enough. The strength and success of this novel is here – the allure and the fantastic are mixed meticulously by the storyteller. Although difficult to follow for the casual reader, here East meets West, and this literary creation surpasses boundaries of facts and fantasies, and makes the reader land in a world where both survive symbiotically.

Good read. You can buy this book at amazon or at flipkart in case you live in India.

I received the review copy from Random House India. Thank you R for giving me this opportunity.

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