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The Resource The enchantress of Florence : a novel, Salman Rushdie

The enchantress of Florence : a novel, Salman Rushdie

Label
The enchantress of Florence : a novel
Title
The enchantress of Florence
Title remainder
a novel
Statement of responsibility
Salman Rushdie
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Storyline
Pace
Tone
Writing style
Character
Award
Booklist Editors' Choice, 2008.
Review
  • /*Starred Review*/ Rushdie spins a tall tale based on the hoary premise of a stranger coming to town. Town in this instance is the capital city of the Mogul Empire of Akbar the Great—Rushdie chooses well in writing a historical novel centered on one of the most fascinating rulers in the history of East Asia—and the stranger is a Florentine conjurer who has come all the way from Italy to seek an audience with the king of kings, for he has a story fit only for the emperor's ears. The stranger, attractive on many levels—"He has picked up languages the way most sailors picked up diseases; languages were his gonorrhea, his syphilis, his scurvy, his ague, his plague"—ingratiates himself into court life, having a keen admirer in the emperor himself. Copious detail about the history of the Mogul and Ottoman Empires leads to reader edification but, at the same time, can lead to reader impatience; nevertheless, as always, Rushdie furnishes the world of his fiction in lush upholstery. He is uninterested in keeping his narrative tightly tethered to reality; the magical level it carries so robustly imbues it with the atmosphere of a fable. It's an elaborate, complicated read, intensely reflective of the author's worldliness, intelligence, and partiality to the fantastical. This novel is best sipped, because it's a heady brew, but it is also entertainment of the highest literary order. -- Hooper, Brad (Reviewed 04-15-2008) (Booklist, vol 104, number 16, p6)
  • /* Starred Review */ Renaissance Florence’s artistic zenith and Mughal India’s cultural summit—reached the following century, at Emperor Akbar’s court in Sikri—are the twin beacons of Rushdie’s ingenious latest, a dense but sparkling return to form. The connecting link between the two cities and epochs is the magically beautiful “hidden princess,” Qara Köz, so gorgeous that her uncovered face makes battle-hardened warriors drop to their knees. Her story underlies the book’s circuitous journey.A mysterious yellow-haired man in a multicolored coat steps off a rented bullock cart and walks into 16th-century Sikri: he speaks excellent Persian, has a stock of conjurer’s tricks and claims to be Akbar’s uncle. He carries with him a letter from Queen Elizabeth I, which he translates for Akbar with vast incorrectness. But it is the story of Akbar’s great-aunt, Qara Köz, that the man (her putative son) has come to the court to tell. The tale dates to the time of Akbar’s grandfather, Babar (Qara Köz’s brother), and it involves her relationship with the Persian Shah. In the Shah’s employ is Janissary general Nino Argalia, an Italian convert to Islam, whose own story takes the narrative to Renaissance Florence. Rushdie eventually presents an extended portrait of Florence through the eyes of Niccolò Machiavelli and Ago Vespucci, cousin of the more famous Amerigo. Rushdie’s portrayal of Florence pales in comparison with his depiction of Mughal court society, but it brings Rushdie to his real fascination here: the multitudinous, capillary connections between East and West, a secret history of interchanges that’s disguised by standard histories in which West “discovers” East.Along the novel’s roundabout way, Qara Köz does seem more alive as a sexual obsession in the tales swapped by various men than as her own person. Genial Akbar, however, emerges as the most fascinating character in the book. Chuang Tzu tells of a man who dreams of being a butterfly and, on waking up, wonders whether he is now a butterfly dreaming he is a man. In Rushdie’s version of the West and East, the two cultures take on a similar blended polarity in Akbar as he listens to the tales. Each culture becomes the dream of the other. (June) --Staff (Reviewed March 24, 2008) (Publishers Weekly, vol 255, issue 12, p52)
  • /* Starred Review */ Much like Rushdie himself, the mysterious yellow-haired stranger we meet in the opening pages of this magical and haunting new novel is a teller of tales, "driven out of his door by stories of wonder." This young man, straddling the worlds of 16th-century Florence and Mughal India much as he stands astride a bullock cart and enters the emperor's domain in Sikri, is driven to this new land with a story that can either make him his fortune or cost him his life. Appearing before the Emperor Akbar, the young man presents himself as an emissary of Queen Elizabeth I. When Akbar challenges his identity, the storyteller begins to weave the dangerous tale of Qara Köz, the enchantress of Florence, whom he claims is his mother. Parading through this tale of two worlds are Niccolò Machiavelli and Amerigo Vespucci's cousin, Ago. Köz's power, like the power of many beautiful women in Rushdie's novels, is often realized through her relationships with the men in her life, so her story often becomes one-dimensional. Nevertheless, Rushdie's lushly evocative creation of the mysteries and intrigues of a medieval world and his enchanting and seductive stories captivate and transport us in ways reminiscent of his early novels like Midnight's Children and The Satanic Verses . Highly recommended.—Henry Carrigan, Evanston, IL --Henry Carrigan (Reviewed May 15, 2008) (Library Journal, vol 133, issue 9, p95)
  • Readers who succumb to the spell of Rushdie's convoluted, cross-continental fable may find it enchanting; those with less patience could consider it interminable.This is a very different sort of novel for Rushdie (Shalimar the Clown, 2005, etc.), partly based in Renaissance Italy and intensely researched (there are pages of entries listed in its bibliography), though themes of East and West, love and betrayal, religion and unbelief, sex and sex, are familiar from previous work. It's plain that the author worked hard on this deliriously ambitious book, and so must the reader. Despite the title, there is more than one enchantress of Florence, and other key characters have multiple names and perhaps identities as well. Some characters might even be imaginary. The plot commences with the arrival of a blonde-haired vagabond who has traveled from his native Florence to deliver a message from the Queen of England to "the emperor Abdul-Fath Jalaluddin Muhammad…known since his childhood as Akbar, meaning 'the great,' and latterly, in spite of the tautology of it, as Akbar the Great, the great great one, great in his greatness, doubly great, so great that the repetition in his title was not only appropriate but necessary in order to express the gloriousness of his glory." And so on. The man from the Christian West and the emperor of the Muslim East develop a strong bond, mainly through the stories spun by the former (in which he assumes multiple names and identities) to the latter. Yet at one point, even Akbar issues "[a] curse on all storytellers," telling his visitor "You're taking too long. . .You can't draw this out forever..." Machiavelli and Medicis make their appearances, as the plot shifts to the impossibly beautiful seductress of the title, who also finds her way from Italy to the emperor, and who ultimately gives clues to her identity by explaining, "The Mirror's daughter was the mirror of her mother and of the woman whose mirror the Mirror had been."Rapturously poetic in places, very funny in others, yet the novel ultimately challenges both patience and comprehension. (Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2008)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
258663
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Rushdie, Salman
Dewey number
823/.914
Index
no index present
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Women
  • Women
  • Mogul Empire
  • Mogul Empire
  • Florence (Italy)
Target audience
adult
Label
The enchantress of Florence : a novel, Salman Rushdie
Instantiates
Publication
Copyright
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
667936
Edition
First edition.
Extent
355 pages ;.
Isbn
9780375504334
Isbn Type
(hardcover : acid-free paper)
Lccn
2008000070
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780375504334
  • (OCoLC)187302674
Label
The enchantress of Florence : a novel, Salman Rushdie
Publication
Copyright
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
667936
Edition
First edition.
Extent
355 pages ;.
Isbn
9780375504334
Isbn Type
(hardcover : acid-free paper)
Lccn
2008000070
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780375504334
  • (OCoLC)187302674

Library Locations

    • Central LibraryBorrow it
      710 W. Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX, 78701, US
      30.2713021 -97.7460168
    • Milwood BranchBorrow it
      12500 Amherst Dr, Austin, TX, 78727, US
      30.4223444 -97.7161692
    • Willie Mae Kirk BranchBorrow it
      3101 Oak Springs Dr., Austin, TX, 78723, US
      30.2729762 -97.699748
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