The Enchantress of Florence

The Enchantress of Florence

A Novel

Book - 2008
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A tall, yellow-haired young European traveller calling himself Mogor dell'Amore, the Mughal of Love, arrives at the court of the real Grand Mughal, the Emperor Akbar, with a tale to tell that begins to obsess the whole imperial capital. The stranger claims to be the child of a lost Mughal princess, the youngest sister of Akbar's grandfather Babar: Qara Koz, 'Lady Black Eyes', a great beauty believed to possess powers of enchantment and sorcery, who is taken captive first by an Uzbeg warlord, then by the Shah of Persia, and finally becomes the lover of a certain Argalia, a Florentine soldier of fortune, commander of the armies of the Ottoman Sultan. When Argalia returns home with his Mughal mistress the city is mesmerised by her presence, and much trouble ensues. The Enchantress of Florence is a love story and a mystery - the story of a woman attempting to command her own destiny in a man's world. It brings together two cities that barely know each other - the hedonistic Mughal capital, in which the brilliant emperor wrestles daily with questions of belief, desire and the treachery of sons, and the equally sensual Florentine world of powerful courtesans, humanist philosophy and inhuman torture, where Argalia's boyhood friend 'il Machia' - Niccolo Machiavelli - is learning, the hard way, about the true brutality of power. These two worlds, so far apart, turn out to be uncannily alike, and the enchantments of women hold sway over them both. But is Mogor's story true? And if so, then what happened to the lost princess? And if he's a liar, must he die?
Publisher: Toronto : A.A. Knopf Canada, 2008.
ISBN: 9780676977585
Characteristics: 359 pages ;,25 cm.


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Folly May 11, 2019

A wonderful book. The plot wanders around and at times I found myself a bit lost amongst the characters (especially as some aren't real but become real and some are real and then disappear into unreality) but Rushdie's writing made me want to keep reading and reading. His ability to use language is wonderful. One of the best books I've read for sometime.

Apr 29, 2016

A little strange for my taste. The plot seemed disjointed and the pace was slow--too slow for my enjoyment. I read another book by the same author. It was also a little strange but rather amusing. Interesting little details in the story.

Dec 08, 2014

Told in the form of legend, the novel moves from Mughal India to Renaissance Florence and back, with a cast of memorable characters that includes Macchiavelli. Fascinating and pithy.

Sep 02, 2014

Salman Rushdie turns magical realism into something greater in this novel. One needs a deeper understanding of Rushdie’s symbolism, metaphysics and aesthetics to be able to comment on his work. The Enchantress of Florence starts like a fairy tale. The animation of the Arabian Nights -exoticism, "make-believe" and "desire" in the novel make it an interesting read. In this novel the author connected the two worlds –the Mughal emperor Akbar at Fatehpur Sikri, India and Niccolo Machiavelli in Florence during the renaissance. They both were learning the brutality of power in a hard way. It is a story of the Ottoman sultans, Janissaries, murders and power play. The fleeting flirtation of power through the cunning eyes of the enchantress - Qara Koz adds a whole new perspective to the novel. Once I finished reading this novel, it felt like waking up from dream. The questions which comes to my mind :
What is real?
Is stoicism the secret to happiness?

May 20, 2013

My first Salman Rushdie novel - a book for guys , in spite of it's name . Compelling , but violent :somewhat historical , but bawdy ;irreverent and long on elaborate vocabulary

Apr 02, 2013

Title for December 2013

Jul 18, 2012

This might be Rushdie's most lyrical and asccessible novel. A beautiful fairy tale artfully rendered with rich detail and careful historical detail.

Jul 09, 2012

To make sentences that are half a page long--that make sense and are valuable--is truly a great skill. I was intimidated by Rushdie before I read this novel, but now I'm thinking of tackling another. It takes awhile to fully engage, but it's worth it!

Jan 05, 2012

This is exquisite work; Mister Rushdie dies of heartbreak in every one of his novels and this not the exception.

Love is Mister Rushdies area of expertise and in this tale we follow several people who move up in the world as their ability to love and to seek love leads them far away from home and then back again.

Mister Rushdie breaks the reader's heart as well as this tale, though replete with forgiveness, ends in sadness and regret, a taste of bitterness lingering.

Aug 15, 2011

As one of the commentators said, it's a book full of complicated senteces and complex plotting. But (to my mind at least) it is totally worth it. Rushdie is a first-rate story teller. His imagination is amazing and the balance between the historically accurate and the slightly stretched realities are excellent. It's not fantasy, but there are things that are not quite real, either. A great story and a worth the effort. As is often true with Rushdie, you will learn a great deal about the history of the Indian subcontinent along the way.

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tamarav Nov 05, 2009

Perhaps this idea of self-as-community was what it meant to be a being in the world, any being; such a being being, after all, inevitably a being among other beings, a part of the beingness of all things.

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