The enchanted place is an ancient stone prison, viewed through the eyes of a death row inmate who finds escape in his books and in re-imagining life around him, weaving a fantastical story of the people he observes and the world he inhabits. Fearful and reclusive, he senses what others cannot. Though bars confine him every minute of every day, he marries magical visions of golden horses running beneath the prison, heat flowing like molten metal from their backs, with the devastating violence of prison life.
The Enchanted undoubtedly one of the most exquisitely written pieces of literature I have ever read on a sensitive and heartbreaking subject matter – Death Row.
“I hear them, the fallen priest and the lady. Their footsteps sound like the soft hush of rain over the stone floors. They have been talking, low and soft, their voices sliding like a river current that stops outside my cell. When I hear them talk, I think of rain and water and crystal-clear rivers, and when I hear them pause, it is like a cascade of water over falls.”
Inside a nightmare, encapsulated in ugliness there is a universe of beauty, The ‘lady’ builds evidence in order to release the inmates from death row (a death penalty investigator). York is an inmate on death row – he evokes compassion and revolsion. An array of varying emotions are felt towards the ‘lady,’ the fallen priest and other inmates as their stories are intricately weaved into the narrative.
A million questions entered my mind as I read this novel. Questions I may never truly know the answers to. Questions I will revisit often repeatedly asking myself over and over. There is so much to this story than the beautifully printed prose, so much.
The narrative is told through the eyes of a death row inmate suffering constant confinement, who envisions a magical kingdom of his hideous surroundings. A recluse who loses himself in the crackling stained pages of books, refusing to speak, it may be the pen is his voice. The narrative is dramatic, details expressed in a dense manner, the reader understands the surroundings with crystal clear clarity.
“The most wonderful enchanted things happen here the most enchanted things you can imagine. I want to tell you while I still have time, before they close the black curtain and I take my final bow.”
On a personal level this story has touched me, my life has been impacted by both criminal and victim, a reason as to why my heart bleeds as I read this extreme and nagging narrative. Needless to say the emotions evoked are endless, the questions I hold unlimited.
A profoundly expressive story of humanity unlike any other. Where there is crudeness there is refinement, where there is hate there is love.
Denfeld crafted a otherworldly memorable and beautiful haunting story. Absolutely unforgettable. From the first page you will be mesmerized by prose and content. A must read!
Published March 4th 2014 by Harper (first published March 1st 2014)