The Enchantress of Florence

The Enchantress of Florence

Paperback Vintage Magic

By (author) Salman Rushdie

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  • Publisher: VINTAGE
  • Format: Paperback | 464 pages
  • Dimensions: 130mm x 198mm x 36mm | 458g
  • Publication date: 8 January 2009
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0099421925
  • ISBN 13: 9780099421924
  • Sales rank: 73,126

Product description

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: Qara Koz, 'Lady Black Eyes', a great beauty believed to possess powers of enchantment and sorcery, who becomes the lover of a certain Argalia, a Florentine soldier of fortune. When Argalia returns home with his Mughal mistress the city is mesmerized by her presence, as two worlds are brought together by one woman attempting to command her own destiny...But is Mogor's story true? And if so, then what happened to the lost princess?

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Author information

Salman Rushdie is the author of ten novels, one collection of short stories, three works of non-fiction, and the co-editor of The Vintage Book of Indian Writing. In 1993 Midnight's Children was judged to be the Best of the Booker, the best novel to have won the Booker Prize in its forty year history. The Moor's Last Sigh won the Whitbread Prize in 1995 and the European Union's Aristeion Prize for Literature in 1996. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres.

Review quote

"A brilliant, fascinating, generous novel...wonderful" -- Ursula le Guin Guardian "A wild and whirling novel" Observer "For Rushdie, as for the artists he writes about, the pen is a magician's wand. There is more magic than realism in this latest novel. But it is, I think, one of his best. If The Enchantress of Florence doesn't win this year's Man Booker I'll curry my proof copy and eat it" Financial Times "My first desire on finishing it was to go back and re-read it. Like all of Rushdie's work, the playfulness, the passion, the erudition and the sensuousness go hand in hand. It's immensely rich...it's one of his best" Scotsman "An exuberant mix of fantasy and history" Daily Mail

Editorial reviews

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)