Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld

I'm not sure what this book was about, but I'm sure it's something important. This book reminded me of something I might read in high school or college with a lot of themes and symbolism that were totally over my head. But if I learned anything, it's to recognize when I'm reading a book that has themes and symbols (read: every book, I guess).

The Enchanted is about death row inmates as they wait for their date to arrive. Some welcome it, some fight it, some don't care one way or the other. We also meet a lot of prison employees, a chaplain, and a woman who works for defense attorneys in a last ditch effort to find some redeeming value in her clients. 

What is over my head about this book is the way it's written. We have a narrator who is one of the inmates, but I'm not really sure if he narrates the entire story. Otherwise it's written in that third-person omniscient voice that I've always found hard to relate with. So it took me awhile to get into the book, but once I got used to the writing and got to know the players, I really enjoyed it. In fact, when it ended, I just thought it was a beautiful piece. 

If there is one theme I can identify, it's death (obviously). But Denfeld tackles it from a lot of different perspectives. He also writes about loneliness. What I like is that, while it's probably really easy to go cliche with the setting of the prison, I didn't feel that was an issue.

Then there's the horses...and the little men. Okay, this I didn't get. Our inmate narrator will talk about the men and horses underground and things like that. I don't know, maybe mental illness is another theme? I'm sure those descriptions are rife with symbolism, but my little brain wasn't able to completely understand all of that. 

But I think that's something else I liked about the book. It had a little bit of lightness and fantasy to add to the otherwise dark and heavy overtone of the book. And who doesn't like a little bit left to the imagination? 

So a good read that I think will affect people in different ways, But definitely a lot there to digest.  

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