Sunday, February 20, 2011
The Enchantress of Florence
Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2008
Literary Fiction; Historical; Magical
Source: Bought and read for school
Read the summary on its Goodreads page.
This was my first experience with Rushdie and it definitely left me intrigued for more. I read it for a history class and thus was most interested in the real-life figure Akbar the Great, Mughal Emperor, and in my opinion, the most interesting character in the book. His musings on life and philosophy were some of the most entertaining passages. Otherwise the sections in Italy confused me, mostly because of characters with several names.
The role of women was also something that caught my eye. Although they are subordinate to men, they are still able to exercise some power, usually through their sexual powers and their ability to enchant entire populations. This is also the time of Elizabeth I so one women even has the power of a monarch. Yet overall I found the female characters lacking in the depth and personality that most of the male characters received. While this disappointed me, it did not altogether surprise me given that Rushdie is male and that literary fiction often skimps on women.
I did not like the many obscenities and the preoccupation with sex evidenced by many of the characters. I found those instances unnecessary and I think that most of the information could have been conveyed in a different way.
Overall: Left me wanting more Rushdie, particularly to try his highly acclaimed Midnight's Children
Cover: Very striking with its combination of reds and yellows.
Read for British Books Challenge