Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Enchantress of Florence


by Salman Rushdie

Quickie Recap: This dude shows up to the king's court and basically claims that he's a long-lost relative, and he has this intricately winding story to prove his authenticity. Turns out, it's so crazy it might actually be true, but this guy is a story teller, and a known liar, and the king struggles between not trusting him and being completely charmed by him, and ultimately, enjoying the story so much that he wants it to be true.

Quickie Review: Oh, Salman Rushdie. When your name is on a cover, I feel as though I have to like it. I feel the pressure, although admittedly sometimes I wonder if you're really that good, or if people mistake talent with controversy. Ahem. I didn't say that. And I know it's not your fault that I'm dyslexic, but for the past 5 days, I believed I was reading The Enchanted Forest. Maybe you could look into that? So, okay, I read Midnight's Children, and fine, kudos to you. I get it. It was good. But The Satanic Verses? Do you know how many hours I've sunk into that one, just trying to make heads or tails of it? So along comes this newest one, and for me, it started out pretty okay. I was like hey, look at me understanding a Salman Rushdie on my first try! But then, thunk. I hit a rough patch, and I'm inclined to blame you. I think you do it on purpose: when you continually refer to your characters by different names, and transpose them in different nations, you make it a little hard for the reader to keep track, no? So after enthusiastically diving right in, I spent the next 200 pages just trying to swim toward the light. I had to reread, and it was better going the second time around. It's not impossible to navigate, but it helps if you keep detailed notes. Is it worth it? Well, it is good, I'll give you that. You're a story teller, you're not afraid to meander with it a bit, to tease it out. You reveal things in your own good time, and I can respect that. Yes, I think I can respect this novel.

Quickie Recommendation: Word. But seriously, you can stop trying to impress us now. We get it. You're a smart guy. How about being a little more reader-friendly? Or even just reader-non-hostile.

4 comments:

Lorna said...

I love the title and the cover art. Haven't delved yet though.

herschelian said...

I can't read Rushdie, I've tried, I've really, really tried, but my eyes start glazing over and my mind wanders off and then I start feeling resentful because there are so many other books I could be reading and enjoying. Sorry Salman but I'm not even going to pick this one up and attempt it.

Lit and Life said...

Another one on the TBR pile that I've really been wanting to get to. But I see I will need to read it with notebook in hard and never when I'm tired!

A_N_Nanda said...

Hi

I too read this book and disciplined myself not to leave it halfway. And finally, I've the satisfaction of completing an opus of Rushdie.

In matter of reading Rushdie, one should not rush. Rush + die= Rushdie!

To quote you:

"I hit a rough patch, and I'm inclined to blame you. I think you do it on purpose: when you continually refer to your characters by different names, and transpose them in different nations, you make it a little hard for the reader to keep track, no?"

The rule:

When a reader gets confused, the benefit of doubt goes to the writer. Same is true about modern paintings!

I've done a bit of review, nay a reader's appreciation of the book in my blog. Maybe you like that.

Thanks.

Nanda
http://ramblingnanda.blogspot.com