Sir Salman Rushdie, best known for The Satanic Verses which earned him multiple death threats forcing him to leave his native land and live in Britain, returns with what he calls his “most researched book” which took “years and years of reading,” in The Enchantress of Florence. A remarkable novel told in a way that mixes story with history and fable, making it seem like an enchanting tale á la Thousand and One Nights that leaves one wondering which parts of it are true and which are from the imaginative mind of Rushdie. An enigmatic character from distant Florence pays a visit to the Mughal emperor Akbar the Great. Through Rushdie’s eyes we see two very difference worlds: the high renaissance of Italy juxtaposed with that of India. The magic in this story is indirect and subtle, lending it a romantic and fantastic air that simply adds to the setting and plot. It is Salman Rushdie at his best, telling wonderful, moving, magical stories within stories.
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Originally written on January 18th 2009 ©Alex C. Telander.
Originally published in the Sacramento Book Review.