The Enchanted: A Novel

The Enchanted: A Novel

by Rene Denfeld

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Overview

The Enchanted: A Novel by Rene Denfeld

A wondrous and redemptive debut novel, set in a stark world where evil and magic coincide, The Enchanted combines the empathy and lyricism of Alice Sebold with the dark, imaginative power of Stephen King.

"This is an enchanted place. Others don’t see it, but I do." 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 visions of golden horses running beneath the prison, heat flowing like molten metal from their backs with the devastating violence of prison life.

Two outsiders venture here: a fallen priest and the Lady, an investigator who searches for buried information from prisoners’ pasts that can save those soon-to-be-executed. Digging into the background of a killer named York, she uncovers wrenching truths that challenge familiar notions of victim and criminal, innocence and guilt, honesty and corruption—ultimately revealing shocking secrets of her own.

Beautiful and transcendent, The Enchanted reminds us of how our humanity connects us all, and how beauty and love exist even amidst the most nightmarish reality.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062285508
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/04/2014
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 639,805
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Rene Denfeld is an internationally bestselling author, journalist, and licensed investigator specializing in death penalty work. She has written for the New York Times Magazine, the Oregonian, and the Philadelphia Inquirer. She is also the author of the award-winning novel The Enchanted as well as three works of nonfiction.

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The Enchanted: A Novel 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
thebookwormNJ More than 1 year ago
I will begin my post by saying that 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, you know she has dark secrets of her own and finds she has things in common with York. 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.  I think the thing that most stood out for me with this novel is that although the setting is grim and depressing, the main character a murderer, there was beauty and heartbreak woven together here.  The blurb compares this novel to the works of Stephen King. After reading it, I'd say the similarities might be in the setting itself, and in the goings on in the prison. Some scenes reminded me of King's The Green Mile. 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: I received my free copy via Amazon Vine. This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any type of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was sad upon finishing the book. I found it riveting and deeply emotional.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beautiful writing. Unsettling topics but well written.. themes of despair, losing hope, how a person can become a monster. And how inevitably human and monster still want one thing. This is not something you read to pass the time. This is a book you read when you want to think about our world.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a very thought provoking book ....no matter which side of the issue you are on... It will take you places you never dreamed existed. Confused and unhappy people on both sides of the bars. It did put a newlight on this issue for me. And certainly broadened my knowledge of the inner lives and qorkings of the system. Good books make you think, right? I think it is a must read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting read. Gritty and disturbing.
imbrium More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A frightening tale Way more real than ' The Green Mile' ... you need to read something light and uplifting after this. Don't read this before going to sleep 5 stars for superb writing and bring characters to life ..and death
Leah60 More than 1 year ago
Easy read that will provoke a lot of emotions
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's not a book I normally would have read, but once I did, it's now one of my Top 5 favorite books. Something about the characters make you care about them and want to make sure they get what the want. 
The_Book_Wheel_Blog More than 1 year ago
The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld is about a magical place where golden horses run underground and men with hammers roam the insides of the walls. Sometimes there is a glimpse of sunlight, but more often than not it’s a place steeped in darkness. That’s because The Enchanted takes place on death row in an ancient prison with crumbling floors and long spiraled hallways. Although the prison is ancient, the story takes place in present day and tells a story of men waiting to die as a death row investigator and priest seek explanations and answers. As a policy wonk who has spent some time researching the criminal justice system, I’ve always had pretty strong feelings about the death penalty’s implementation and the recent botches haven’t done much to change to my mind. That said, my understanding of how death row works and functions has been largely from an academic standpoint. Recently, however, I’ve begun to understand the human side of death row, for better or for worse. A good friend of mine, who works as a corrections officer and has worked with death row inmates, has been kind enough these last few months to answer all of my questions honestly, even when it’s hard for me to hear. Of course, we are approaching the subject from wildly different perspectives, so while we respect each other’s viewpoints, we rarely come to a full agreement. It’s this backstory that contributed to why I loved The Enchanted so much. Written by a death row investigator who, surely, grapples with the concept of guilt as part of her career, the book addresses so many of the questions that I have about people on death row and in jail, in general. Of course, there are those who deserve to be there, no questions asked, but I’ve often wondered how a person becomes someone who gets sentenced to life or death. Was it their childhood? Were they abused? Did the system fail them? Did they get an education? Are they mentally ill? The Enchanted asks all of these questions, and it will make you question everything you thought you knew about the guilty. Allison @ The Book Wheel
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thought provoking.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A beautiful and painful book. I was rivetted until the very end.
MoonshadowJM More than 1 year ago
Enchanting! I could not put this book down and finished it in one day. It is beautifully written ... a haunting story about prisoners on death row and people who work with them. Highly recommended!  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book stays with you well after you finish.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sent this book to my son; who is in prison for life. He said it is so awesome he's nearly done with it because he can't put it down. A real page-turner.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Unique is now formatic. For the die hard fan of the combo only three star for them a pass for me into archive limbo as a unfinished one