Sunday, May 03, 2009

Enchantress of Florence

This seems to be a polarizing book. The people who hate it--and they are numerous--really, really loathe it. The New York Times review said that the novel, "revels in writerly self-congratulation," and even if you, like me, wind up liking it, I don't think you can argue with that. That Rushdie is a flashy writer isn't a surprise at this point. He likes to show off, to pull literary tricks our of his hat, to draw attention to just how good he is. That's a feature of even his best books like Midnight's Children and there it's a part of what makes it a great novel. But here there's no restraint and it leads to a book that's fun but horribly overwritten.

The real problem with this--setting aside the eye-rolling moments--is that it's all surface. There's a lot going on but nothing getting done and you don't really give a shit about the characters or what happens to them. So I guess how much you like the book depends on how much you care about that.

1 comment:

A_N_Nanda said...

I too read this book and liked it. It's true that the storyline has much of those mixed stuffs, both historical and fictional, and only a reader who has got background in both the medieval Indian as well as European histories would enjoy it fully. But then again, mixing a different concoction is the mainstay of the opus.

I've done a bit of review, nay a reader's appreciation of the book in my blog. Maybe you like that.