A powerful and hauntingly beautiful novel set on death row. Even monsters need peace. Even monsters need a person who truly wants to listen - to hear - so that someday we might find the words that are more than boxes. Then maybe we can stop men like me from happening....
A prisoner sits on death row in a high-security prison. His only escape is through the words he dreams about, the world he conjures around him using the power of language. For the reality of his world is brutal and stark. He is not named, nor do we know his crime. But he listens. He listens to the story of York, the prisoner in the cell next to him who has been sentenced to death.
He hears The Lady, a mitigation specialist who is piecing together York's past. He watches as The Lady falls in love with The Priest and wonders if love is still possible in this place. He sees the corruption and the danger as the tensions in the prison build. And he waits. For even monsters have a story....
Read by Jim Frangione.
©2014 Rene Denfeld (P)2014 HarperCollins Publishers
"The Enchanted wrapped its beautiful and terrible fingers around me from the first page and refused to let go after the last. A wondrous book that finds transcendence in the most unlikely of places, enshrouding horrible things in a gossamer veil of fantasy with a truly unforgettable narrator. So dark yet so exquisite." (Erin Morgenstern, author of The Night Circus)
"The Enchanted is unlike anything I've ever read.... A jubilant celebration that explores human darkness with a profound lyric tenderness and not one jot of sentimentality...contagious and seductive." (Katherine Dunn, author of Geek Love)
"Rene Denfeld is a genius. In The Enchanted, she has imagined one of the grimmest settings in the world - a dank and filthy death row in a corrupt prison - and given us one of the most beautiful, heart-rending, and riveting novels I have ever read/" (Donald Ray Pollock, author of The Devil All the Time)
There's dark, camp humour in this book. Rene Denfeld dissects human lives in clinical detail as if each were a butterfly thrust into a killing bottle and then then pinned out for display, horrifying in the beauty of demise. Jim Frangione is not quite Vincent Price but he captures the goulish spirit with his feigned deadpan reading, thrilling in the dreadful fate of each inmate who himself becomes another victim.
I would have made the whole book darker. This is death row as imagined not how it is. The enchanted place has an all-white flavour which isn't real. There's also a whimsical subplot around the white-haired boy which stretches credulity.
It stands on its own.
Very well written, very well read, totally submersive, surreal at points and you have to keep up with it, the sort of book that makes you feel strangely clean afterwards, full of genuine feeling and humanity.
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