Saturday, November 8, 2014

'The Enchanted'

There comes a time when a quiet novel comes into our lives and blows away our perspective.

'The Enchanted', by Rene Denfeld, is that story.

Quiet, full of fantasy, full of full-blown human horror, and in a place I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy...unless they committed a crime so horrendous that that is the only place I'd want them to be.

It takes place on 'Death Row'.  It's full of sorrowful narrative perspective, although you wonder if the narrator is really attached to each and every scene.  It's quiet, and sad, and yet there is a tinge of light to it.

The enchanted place is an ancient stone prison.  Two outsiders walk here:  A woman only known as 'The Lady', and a fallen priest.  The Lady comes to the prison to help those who are condemned to death.  The priest counsels those who have exceeded their appeals.

The Lady takes on the case of York, a killer who wants to die.  Although he's expressed his wishes to her, The Lady will not give up.  But she finds his secrets and discovers that they are very close to her own.  The Lady is watched by a death row inmate, a man who loses himself in books, a man who cannot live without them.  He imagines golden horses under the prison, and by imagining the world in which he lives, he thrives alone within himself.

Author Rene Denfeld
This is a quiet debut.  Powerful and imaginative, it contains horrors that few of us can relate to.  It is called a 'fantasy', but it is so much more.  It goes beyond the realm of fantasy, until it takes us back to the horror we call 'real life'.

Denfeld is a writer to watch.

I guarantee it.

'The Enchanted', published by HarperCollins, is available at your local library and favorite independent bookstore.  ISBN 978-0-06-228550-8

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