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The Enchanted: A Novel

The Enchanted: A Novel

Написано Rene Denfeld

Озвучено Jim Frangione


The Enchanted: A Novel

Написано Rene Denfeld

Озвучено Jim Frangione

оценки:
4/5 (38 оценки)
Длина:
7 hours
Издатель:
Издано:
Mar 4, 2014
ISBN:
9780062308917
Формат:
Аудиокнига

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Описание

The lady, an investigator who excels at uncovering information to save her clients from execution . . .

The fallen priest, beaten down by his guilt over a terrible sin and its tragic consequences . . .

The warden, a kind man within a cruel system . . .

The mute prisoner, sensing what others cannot in what he calls "this enchanted place" . . .

The enchanted place is an ancient stone prison. Two outsiders walk here: a woman known only as the lady, and a fallen priest. The lady comes to the prison when she has a job to do. She's skilled at finding the secrets that get men off death row. This gift threatens her career—and complicates her life—when she takes on the case of York, a killer whose date of execution looms. York is different from the lady's former clients: he wants to die. Going against the condemned man's wishes, the lady begins her work. What she uncovers about York's birth and upbringing rings chillingly familiar. In York's shocking and shameful childhood, the lady sees the shadows of her own.

The lady is watched by a death row inmate who finds escape in the books he reads from the prison library and by reimagining the world he inhabits—a world of majestic golden horses that stampede underground and of tiny men who hammer away inside stone walls. He is not named, nor do we know his crime. But he listens. He listens to York's story. He sees the lady fall in love with the priest and wonders how such warmth is possible in these crumbling corridors. As tensions in "this enchanted place" build, he sees the corruption and the danger. And he waits as the hour of his own destiny approaches.

The Enchanted is a magical novel about redemption, the poetry that can exist within the unfathomable, and the human capacity to transcend and survive even the most nightmarish reality. Beautiful and unexpected, this is a memorable story.

Издатель:
Издано:
Mar 4, 2014
ISBN:
9780062308917
Формат:
Аудиокнига

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Об авторе

Rene Denfeld is an internationally bestselling author, licensed investigator, and foster mother. She is the author of the novels The Butterfly Girl, The Child Finder and The Enchanted. Her novels have won numerous awards including a French Prix, and The New York Times named her a 2017 hero of the year for her justice work. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

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  • (4/5)
    Narrated primarily by an unnamed death row inmate at an aging prison, this is a surprisingly lyrical tale that shifts its focus between a defrocked priest, a lady investigator (she is always referred to simply as "The Lady"), a warden with a wife dying of cancer, unscrupulous prison guards, convicts with aggressive appetites, and the aforementioned death row inmate. Our narrator is either exceptionally perceptive or imaginative or both. He has done something terrible in the past, and something less terrible but very bad while inside which necessitated his move to the solitary confinement of death row. But the details are sketchy. We learn much more about another death row inmate named York whose background The Lady is investigating. Perhaps not untypically he comes from an exceedingly impoverished and abusive childhood. It's not a justification for his actions, which remain unspecified but are said to have been horrific. Rather it is a history, something that traces a path from A to B. Not that such a path is itself inevitable, as evidenced by The Lady's surprisingly similar childhood.At times the novel reads more like a non-graphic, graphic novel, if that makes any sense. Your could easily imagine it as a graphic novel. Maybe that is simply a sign of its slightly vague, unreal atmosphere. Indeed, "enchanted" is no bad descriptor for this effect. It is a compelling read but not predictable, at least for me. It was, as noted by many, a surprise.Gently recommended.
  • (3/5)
    Rene Denfeld’s debut novel, The Enchanted, is a visibly heart-felt work of fiction that plumbs the depths of human desolation and misery, but does so in a manner that leaves the reader somewhat emotionally detached from the action. The story takes place in a dilapidated, century old prison facility, and is set primarily in the death row cells in the prison basement. Though the details are left vague, we’re assured that all of the men on death row have done horrible things and deserve to be there, including the unnamed narrator, a slender self-effacing man who loves books and either cannot or chooses not to speak. We meet the other characters through this narrator, who is enabled by the author to inhabit their minds and follow their actions. Chief among this group is “the lady,” whose job is to investigate the cases of the condemned in search of mitigating circumstances that their lawyers can use to argue for having their sentences commuted or for a new trial. The case that occupies the lady throughout the novel is that of an inmate named York, for whom she is fighting despite the fact that he does not want her to and has expressed his wish that he be allowed to die. The lady’s search for evidence to support York’s case for a reduced sentence takes her to a town called Sawmills Falls, somewhere out in “blue country,” near the “emerald lakes.” It is here that she learns the tragic story of York’s childhood, a story that echoes her own bitter memories of growing up. Most of the novel follows the lady’s investigative efforts on York’s behalf and her eventual disillusionment when she fails to convince herself that what she’s doing is worthwhile. In between these chapters, the narrator switches the focus to other characters: the prison warden, whose wife is dying of cancer, a new arrival: the “white-haired boy,” whose indoctrination into prison life is immediate and brutal, death-row inmate Striker, whose sentence is carried out, the “fallen priest,” also unnamed, who is there to provide spiritual guidance, and corrupt prison guard Conroy. The novel is narrated in a meditative, almost dream-like manner, with space devoted to reflections upon the nature and purpose of human existence, the paradox of beauty amidst ugliness, the persistence of evil in a world most of us would prefer to believe is good, and the unsettling concept of living one’s life in full knowledge of the where, when and how of one’s own death. Denfeld, a death penalty investigator who has both fiction and non-fiction books to her credit, adds surrealistic touches to her story that may or may not be misguided, but which support the narrator in his contention that the prison is an “enchanted” place. The Enchanted is a novel that, emotionally speaking, occupies something of a neutral middle ground: it is by no means uplifting, but neither is it unequivocally depressing. What it does do, is take the reader to places where the vast majority of us don’t want to go and, thankfully, never will. And maybe that’s enough.
  • (5/5)
    This was a Santathing pick for me and it's one of the best books I've ever read. The writing is transcendent, with love and hope as central themes. The story is all at once gritty and gorgeous, delicate and harsh, luminescent and darkly violent. Some authors write out of talent, this one writes out of calling. Can't recommend it highly enough.
  • (3/5)
    Wow - this is an intense book. I knew the premise but still found the book darker than I expected. Everyone talked of the beautiful writing and yes, that is true in parts, but I just found it so depressing. Maybe because it is summer and I wasn't quite in the mood, or maybe because I work with kids and hate to think of kids damaged beyond repair. I also found parts of it confusing, I missed the book club meeting on this book and I really wish I had had the chance to discuss it with others. Did find the redemption of some characters as a glimmer of light and hope.
  • (5/5)
    This book defies genre classification. It is a literary novel that is strangely beguiling. It is told by one of the most unforgettable narrators I've ever encountered. This man is a man without words. He cannot or will not speak, but he speaks inside his head. He misses nothing and spares no one in the telling. This man is on death row at a very old and very corrupt maximum security prison. He has been on the row for many years, and during those years he has carefully studied all the people who walk by his cell. This list of people includes guards, other death row prisoners, a defrocked priest who works inside the prison, and a death penalty investigator who searches for mitigating circumstances that may help get prisoners off the row and into general population. There are many people who walk by the prison cell of this inmate, and most of them do their best not to ever look at him, but he watches everything and misses nothing. At the same time, he shares his quite brilliant mind with many mythical creatures that are as real to him as the people he sees. And through his eyes, they become real to us. There are the golden horses that stampede underground. There are the tiny little men who hammer and scratch inside the stone walls, and there are the hated fllibber-gibbets who dance in the crematorium every time a dead body is placed in the the big oven. All of these horrible things are described so brilliantly that they leap off the page as we read. The prose in this novel is absolutely breathtaking and it makes the people and things within this prison come alive. It is a book that shines a light on a subject that is not covered much in literature, and in the end, it depicts the strength and resiliency of human nature, even under the most appalling circumstances.
  • (4/5)
    A captivating read.

    The audiobook was beautifully performed by Jim Frangione.
  • (5/5)
    Just give this book the Pulitzer Prize now.

    This is an astonishingly remarkable book. A first novel by a non-fiction writer, it reads like poetry. What is astounding is that the subject matter is, or at least should be, so dark and disturbing and yet the author has written a moving, uplifting, hopeful, and yes, disturbing book.

    Set in an aging, decrepit prison, focusing primarily on the prisoners on death row and those who are trying to help them, we see what goes on inside the walls, and I do mean inside! There are few easy characterizations here, I often found myself sympathizing with those most monstrous, and even rooting for others to commit heinous acts. The characters are complicated, real, damaged, and even when we don't get to spend much time with them, sometimes only a few lines, the writing is so good that we "get" them, they are fully realized in a few phrases.

    The question of the death penalty hovers over the story - is it a blessing or a curse, and for whom; the victims and their families, or the perpetrators? If the criminal chooses to accept his sentence is it ethical for others to fight for his life? Who are these who take on this battle? There is compassion in this book, and it is found in the most unexpected places. There is evil in this book and it too is found in the most unexpected places...Clearly this novel would be an excellent Book Club selection!! There are many other topics in the novel for readers to discuss, preferably over several glasses of wine!

    This is not an easy read. The author knows her subject matter first hand having worked in the system. You will read things you will wish you could unread. You will imagine things left unsaid in the book and wish your mind hadn't gone there...You will never think about the sentencing of a 16-17 year old "as an adult" the same way again. The characters in this book will haunt you. All of them. This book will not leave you when you close it for the last time. Read it anyways!!
  • (4/5)
    The BEST in this series. Ariane and Simon deserve a HEA.
  • (4/5)
    This is the third in a series, with the romance having been set up in the previous books. Simon volunteers to marry Ariane to allow his friend, who had been betrothed to her, to marry the woman he loves (see Forbidden). While his friend and brother see it as a sacrifice, as Ariane is melancholy and repeated states she wants nothing to do with marriage, the truth is Simon as wanted her since he first saw her. The problem is Ariane is petrified of marriage because, before the book started, she was drugged and raped, and then condemned by her father.All and all, it was well handled. Ariane’s shame and lack of trust was reasonable, as was her reaction to Simon’s physical attentions. There was enough keeping Simon and Ariane apart, most of which would work out fine if they would just talk.The “learned cloth” that made up Ariane’s wedding dress, which she wears a lot, was a little much for me at points. A strip was taken off the bottom, but it was never shorter. It was cut in the side, but it wasn’t ruined, the cut in the cloth just disappeared as far as I could tell. It was explained as being magical, but still. It didn’t throw me from the story, but I did roll my eyes a few times.
  • (5/5)
    Not what I expected but beautiful writing. Disappointing sad but, real
  • (5/5)
    ?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.?

    My goodness, this book. To try to tell you what it's about or pin it down to a genre or describe it with a handful of adjectives would be to do it a disservice, not to mention damn near impossible. Put simply, The Enchanted is exactly what it promises to be?enchanting. I loved it and I learned from it and I will not stop thinking about it for many days to come.


  • (5/5)
    It was an amazing read and I really really enjoyed it. The best thing I can say about this book is what is written on the back cover of this book and was said by Katherine Dunn :"The enchanted is unlike anything I've ever read. Its exquisitely constructed web is spun in that least exquisite locale, death row. The powerful central story arches over multiple, piercing subplots, and devastating fables that stare straight into the face of horror. But it is the opposite of depressing : it's a jubilant celebration that explores human darkness with a profound lyric tenderness and not one jot of sentimentality. It's probably mad to perceive and convey so much beauty in the midst of the vile, but this particular lunacy is contagious and seductive. The reader comes to see through Denfeld's stranger lens, and to savor the richness of the view long after the final page has turned."
  • (5/5)
    A wonderful book! The enchanted place is a prison, specifically death row. The magic of this book is that the main characters lack names! There is the lady, the fallen priest, and a nameless inmate. There are others in these walls- the golden horses, the small men with hammers, and the flibber-gibbets. And a great surprise reveal 4 pages before the end! I loved this story!
  • (4/5)
    I found this book difficult to read because of the dark subject matter but at the same time it's fascinating. "The Enchanted" shows that from the petty criminals to the murderers, once inside of prison they are all in the same shoes. Anyone can become a victim and the vulnerable have to become hardened out of necessity.

    "The Enchanted" explores prison life from the death row. While the narrator is there he is not the cold-blooded person one would expect, but rather severely damaged just like some of the other prisoners. He lives in his own head, seeing and hearing things that others can't- a survival tool he has developed to escape his tortured reality. The irony of it is that he's constructed this world to stay alive while he's waiting to die.

    The narrator primarily tells the story of another prisoner, York, whose decision to stop fighting his execution sentence has led to outside interference. "The lady" comes to the prison to help York's case and while she remains detached, she has a unique connection to the prisoners. The narrator relates the stories of the characters from an omniscient viewpoint that is blunt, lyrical, and effortless. At times he's even darkly humorous.

    Rene Denfeld has created a groundbreaking story with "The Enchanted". I was amazed that a story with such a depressing subject could also feel so hopeful by the end, but somehow it does.
  • (5/5)
    The Enchanted simply blew me away. Seriously, folks, since when does a book about death row completely knock someone down, because that's what happened to me with this one. I went into it thinking there would be a whole Green Mile vibe and walked away feeling as if I'd been suckerpunched. Not only did this book completely absorb me, it made me reconsider everything I thought I knew about pre-judging a person.Read the rest of this review at The Lost Entwife on March 22, 2014.
  • (5/5)
    The Enchanted is a haunting and beautiful novel by Rene Denfeld, set in a maximum security prison in America. The narrator is a reclusive inmate on death row who manages to escape the harsh confines of his cell within the pages of his books.The prison is corrupt and the living conditions are awfully harsh, which makes it even more surprising that our narrator is able to find so much beauty in what we take for granted every day.As well as his observations on prison life, we also learn a little about some of the other inmates and staff, including: an inmate named York, the warden, a fallen priest and a death row investigator he calls 'the lady'.We are shown prisoners who long for the release of death and those who fear death and will do anything to escape the finality of the prison oven. I found it bleakly fascinating to read about the lengths men will go to to satiate their desire for pleasure and power and the impact a lack of physical touch has on a human being.The Enchanted is not a novel with a message about the death penalty or prison conditions, rather it's an enchanted look at love, an absence of love, abuse, violence, guilt, evil and magic.Here's a quote from Page 3:"Inside, the lies you tell become the person you become. On the outside, sun and reality shrink people back to their actual size. In here, people grown into their shadows." Author Rene Dunfeld has worked as a death penalty case investigator herself, and this experience shows in her intimate portrayal of inmates and the prison system. The inmate narrator in this literary novel is mute, which adds a further dimension to the story.I'm confident The Enchanted will make my Favourite Reads of 2015 list, and highly recommend it to a variety of readers. It's almost impossible to believe this is Rene Dunfeld's first novel, (because it seems almost perfect) but I hope to read more from her in the future.
  • (3/5)
    I'm torn, actually. On the one hand, the prose is gorgeous. Guilt and despair and weariness blend themselves together and ooze out of the pages. Yes. There's guilt and despair and weariness and monstrosity and horror and a slightest bit of hope, but there isn't any self-pity in Denfeld's words. Of that, I am impressed.On the other hand, the author pays so much attention to her lyricism and mood that she forgets about the characters. There are a myriad of monsters in here, but none of them seem real. The "I", especially, as well as "the lady", are exceptionally vague, and there are too many narrators in the book to truly know who the story belongs to. One starts to delve into the mind of the priest, of the white-haired boy (why did he have to have white-hair??) but then is abruptly pulled out by the author to focus on another character, whose story is never quite fully told. Their worlds are never revealed. There's nothing solid about this book. I also feel like the lady could have benefitted from a name, as with the priest. I don't see the point of them being nameless, especially if they are 3rd person narrators in the story. The magical realism I don't get. If its just thrown in sporadically as some sort of vague, extended metaphor, I'd rather it isn't thrown in there at all.
  • (4/5)
    This book certainly piqued my interest. It was the type of book that I wanted to read in a quiet room. I liked the writing and thought it moved quickly enough. Though, I never really felt connected to any of the characters, the were all interesting enough that I still wanted to keep reading to find out how it would all end. I liked the lady's character the most I think. The fallen priest didn't really interest me at all. I thought the end was rather anticlimactic in that the most interesting thing happened before, during the final running of the horses.
  • (5/5)
    With the author's almost poetic style of prose, this is an enchanted book. It is about an ancient prison and its residents, especially those in the dungeon (aka death row). While most wouldn't consider this crumbing relic enchanted, it is surely an otherworldly place. The rules and customs of the outside world do not apply. This account of the prison and its inmates lets us peek into this other world and gain insights into prison culture and the unfortunate lives its residents have endured. In learning about "the lady" who works to save the men in the dungeon from their demise, we find out about her background and theirs. We also discover the imperfect story of the fallen priest. I love this book! It delivers an engaging story with many insights that give us plenty to think about.
  • (5/5)
    A sad, beautiful, story of life in prison and those awaiting death. Told from many perspectives, the warden, a fallen priest, a legal investigator but mostly the voice of an inmate on death row. Their stories and feelings, not only sadden the reader, but give an entirely new view to this world. Written with such thought and beauty you become so enthralled with the vision that you forget it is a prison and not an Enchanted place. highly recommend
  • (5/5)
    This is Rene Denfeld's debut novel and will be published on 13/03/2014. I'd like to thank everyone at The Lovereading Review Team for the ARC of this book, which I received in return for an honest review.A death row inmate sits in his underground cell in a high security prison. Although he does not speak, he daydreams in words which weave a magical world far removed from his stark reality. The darkness of the prison world is unveiled through the words he listens to in his dreams. He listens to the lives of those around him and shares his profound perceptions here.This captivating story focuses on several different people including a death penalty investigator referred to as 'The Lady'; The Priest; York, the prisoner in the next cell and The Lady's current client; and a young lad experiencing his traumatic first prison sentence. The deeply personal and disturbing childhood of the lady, along with York's, is described in heart-wrenching detail using the words the prisoner hears.The author's intricate use of vocabulary to convey the raw emotion of this beautifully told and haunting tale make this a truly mesmerising read. The attention to the tiniest detail at every step along the journey contributes to the quality of this brilliantly seductive book. 4.5/5 stars.
  • (5/5)
    I just finished The Enchanted and have to add my voice to those who think it was incredible. The author, Rene Denfeld truly was a death penalty investigator. This is her first novel after having written only non fiction, and she does a superb job. The setting is a very old, outdated and nearly uninhabitable prison. I did have a bit of difficulty believing such a place could exist, but the public does have difficulty parting with money to pay for a criminal's well being. Magical Realism is one of the tags for the book, and I have a hard time with it. To me magical realism means that the author presents a magical reality that the reader is supposed to engage with and to some extent commit to. In the novel the magic: little men with hammers, golden horses, flibber gibbers are real only in the mind of the narrator who is obviously mentally ill. The reader knows he believes them to be true, but we don't. However, huddled on his cot with a blanket over his head, he does know things about people that he would have no way of knowing in reality. A main character in the book, The Lady, investigates the lives of some of the men on death row, those who can afford to pay what she indicates is a exorbitant salary. In the cases mentioned in the book, her salary, and that of her aggressive lawyer overlords, is paid by groups opposing the death penalty. She devotes her life to finding mitigating circumstances for the horrific crimes these men have committed. She never questions that the men have committed the crimes. Her job is to find what abuse in their pasts might have turned them into the monsters they and the outer world perceive them to be. And unthinkable abuses she certainly does find. Hope and realistic adjustment to prison life is found and destroyed, and destroyed and destroyed. Then hope or love of life is found again. This is a powerful, beautifully written book that I would recommend to anyone. And it's short to. Well worth the time invested in it.
  • (5/5)
    I will begin by saying that the work of Rene Denfeld has blown me away. This quietly unsettling novel grabbed hold of me from the start and did not let go until the final page was turned.The author does a fantastic job at slowly drawing you in and revealing the plot in layers. This is an uneasy read, with unreliable narrators and as I read, I wondered what was real or imagined.Death row inmate York wants to die, he does not want any help or second chances, he is ready to go. The Lady, an investigator who tries to find information that can save death row inmates, is assigned to his case. As she tries to help York, goes to his hometown and looks into his past, she has dark secrets of her own and finds she has things in common with him. I really wanted to know what York's crime was, and in the end I never found out.A fallen priest is woven into the storyline and his past is a sad one as well. He works in the prison, spending those last moments with the inmates on death row, reading them letters from their loved ones before they go.Arden, another death row inmate, narrates most of the story and he imagines this prison as a magical place. I didn't want him inside my head, I didn't want to see the story through his eyes, yet I was entranced. This is a place where horses live beneath the dungeon and where there is magic all around.As the story unfolds you see the traumatic childhood York suffered and then of course wonder, was he a victim of circumstance? Did the abuse he suffered as a child make him into a killer? Plenty of this storyline was disturbing but the author has a knack for delivering those punches softly. Nothing too detailed or gory, yet just awful enough to make your skin crawl.Denfeld takes us into these prison walls with all the horrors that entails, corruption, abuse, the room itself where death row inmates are given the deadly dosage, yet she does it all with a dreamlike quality. The story is beautifully written.The author herself is a licensed investigator specializing in the same kind of work the character of the Lady does. Which makes me wonder how much of the story is based on real life events?Inevitably, the issue of the death penalty arises here. The character of the Lady has a job to do, try and find information to take these men off death row, yet she knows these are convicted murderers who have ruined lives.All in all, The Enchanted will make my top reads for 2014. This was a powerful and beautifully written novel. I recommend it to fans of magical realism and heart breaking stories.disclaimer:This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any type of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. While I receive free books from publishers and authors, I am under no obligation to write a positive review. I received my copy of The Enchanted for free via AmazonVine.
  • (5/5)
    Horrible but ultimately beautiful.
  • (5/5)
    Horrible but ultimately beautiful.
  • (4/5)
    The book was nothing like what I expected, but I loved it. The Enchanted is a heartbreaking look into a prison facility and the dark and ugly reality surrounding it-crooked guards, brutality, the loss of hope. Our narrator is a nameless convict, deep in the dungeons of death row. A ferocious reader, he becomes so absorbed in his own world that the prison becomes "The Enchanted Place", full of golden horses and little men with hammers. Told from this perspective, the story takes on a dreamlike, surreal quality. Quite unexpectedly I found myself empathizing with these broken men, despite having no illusions about the savagery of their crimes. The story prompts you to examine how these men came to be and why the committed the terrible deeds-as it goes into backgrounds of mental illness and abuse. Yet it does so in such a skilled and subtle manner that it didn't come off as some sort of manifesto against the death penalty. It's a heavy topic to be sure, but the writing was lyrical and magical and the story is really sticking with me. I would highly recommend.
  • (3/5)
    I think this is a ghost story - both light and dark but no good or evil at play - just pragmatic and mostly dispassionate machinations. The place reminds me of 'Falconer' by John Cheever but populated by ghosts, instead of Huckfinnesque characters. I have not read a darker novel since 'The Cement Garden' - certainly is evocative but I could tell Denfeld was going to make me suffer. It's definitely a book one does not enjoy but tries to wrap their mind around what they just experienced. Definitely not my cup of tea but poetic and damn depressing in every sense.
  • (5/5)
    Six-word review: Powerful portrayal of damnation and redemption.Extended review:I don't think I've ever chosen the word "stunning" to describe a book before, but I'll use it now.Many of the novels I read are extremely well written. Many use language beautifully, portray vivid characters in a deeply moving way, and present important themes with skill and grace. A good many are even strikingly original.But I've never read one like this. I have to call it stunning, nothing less, while wishing the word had not been so cheapened by overuse that it fails to convey the impact I'd like it to have.It's also not for the faint of heart. Strong sensory content runs the gamut from exquisitely beautiful to viscerally repugnant. Like the narrator, the reader must be able to take it all in and attend to it with focused awareness. Grief, pain, and horror that are too deep for words suffuse haunting images of a kind more often found in painting than in fiction.The story is set in the lowest level of an immense prison, where the speaker is an inmate on death row. Withdrawn deep into the shadows of his own cell, he also ranges far in his consciousness, taking us on an extraordinary journey of imagination.Here's a brief sample of Denfeld's prose:"The yard smells when it rains in the summer. It smells so strong that I can smell it way down in the depths of this dungeon. I can smell the dung from the golden horses rising through the dirt, and I think about each clod of mud and how it contains the history of the world: shards of mica and stone, glossy ribbons of clay too faint to see, the arm and leg of Eve, the pulsating pull of Adam. The taste of minerals can fling us out to sea and above to the skies. The world can be in one clod of dirt." (page 170)I don't want to offer a glimpse of the darker matter; a reader who chooses to take up this book should come to those passages in the author's own time, without preview. There is nothing gratuitous about it. It has its own magnificence.This book is one that will stay with me for a long time.
  • (3/5)
    This fantastical romance set during the reign of Henry I in England/Scotland showcased a strong pair of lovers who must overcome misunderstandings to find true love. Ariane is forced into a marriage with Simon--but because of her past she is deathly afraid of the wedding bed. Simon fortunately is not the type to force himself on her--but neither does he treat her with the tenderness she needs. Will these two come together--and will the magic in Ariane's clothes and the land around them help them?Good solid romance with plenty of tension, and an interesting landscape with a touch of fantasy. If thst's what you like, read it.
  • (5/5)
    I read this book for my book group and had no clue what I was getting into. All I had heard about it was the word "fantasy" which is not my favorite genre. It's about prison life, specifically those lost souls on Death Row. I learned that there is a devoted group of people who investigate the circumstances behind death penalty cases. The author is one of them which gives credibility to the prison atrocities she writes about. There are indeed fantastical scenes of golden horses galloping through the underbelly of this rundown prison and some other strange things that turn out to be the product of a broken mind that has lost all sense of reality and has created a magical world that allows him to cope with his wretched life. This nameless narrator also found escape through literature: "The library became my sanctuary. I loved the ways the precious stories took shape but always had room to be read again?After a time it seemed that the world inside the books became my world." (16)There was much to discuss in this raw book that showed some light and beauty in the darkness of Death Row. We talked about mental illness, rehabilitation vs. punishment, the roots of crime, and the need for connection. One can not read this without being profoundly affected. I like books that make me think, and this is one I will be thinking about for a long time. I fell under its magic spell from the first lines, "This is an enchanted place. Others don't see it but I do." My mind and heart were in conflict as I read about the evil things that people can do. The author opened my eyes and broke my heart with her enchanting words.