This book is a must read for book groups. Set in a high security prison, our main protagonist, a death row inmate, states that prison is a place of enchantment. And he convinces us that it is—there is a mythic beauty to the prison’s stone walls, to the sounds of a hundred keys turning at once to lock the gates—there is an epic pull in the collective dreaming of men who must reach into their memories and imaginations to remember movement and love from an unconstrained time. Told mostly from the perspective of this poet-turned-prisoner, we are also introduced to the jail’s faithless priest and a woman, known only as “the lady” who is there to exonerate the condemned men. When the lady discovers the truth of one prisoner’s past, we are asked to look at the potential for violence that lives in each of us, and more so, to discover the beauty and humanity that exists even in the darkest shadows. This is a beautifully written book that begs for conversation; book groups will find themselves walking the line of trying to separate that which makes flinch, with that that makes us imagine and empathetically open.— SMC
“The Enchanted wrapped its beautiful and terrible fingers around me from the first page and refused to let go after the last. A wondrous book that finds transcendence in the most unlikely of places. . . . So dark yet so exquisite.” — Erin Morgenstern, author of The Night Circus
An astonishing and redemptive novel for readers of Alice Sebold and Toni Morrison, told from the point of view of a convict whose magical interpretations of prison life allow him to find absolute joy while isolated from the rest of humanity and a female investigator who experiences her own personal salvation in her work as a death penalty investigator.
This is an enchanted place. Others don’t see it but I do.
The enchanted place is a high security prison and is relayed through the eyes of an inmate on death row who escapes his surroundings by immersing himself in books, and by re-imagining the world that surrounds him. Instead of focusing on the cloudy medical vines that snake across the floor, empty and waiting for the warden’s finger to press the red buttons, our narrator sees golden horses as they run deep under the earth, heat flowing like molten metal from their backs.
A woman and fallen priest haunt the prison halls--an unnamed female investigator only known as the Lady who is known for discovering information relating to soon-to-be executed inmates’ backgrounds that can be used to overturn their sentences. She is put on the case of a man named York and as she digs into his past, the experience brings up ghosts of her own and threatens to destroy everything that she has come to know about the enchanted place.
The Enchanted is a magical novel about redemption, the humanity that can lie within what is monstrous, and the human capacity to transcend and survive.
Rene Denfeld is an internationally bestselling author, licensed investigator, and foster mother. She is the author of the novels The Butterfly Girl, The Child Finder and The Enchanted. Her novels have won numerous awards including a French Prix, and The New York Times named her a 2017 hero of the year for her justice work. She lives in Portland, Oregon.