The Enchantress of Florence, Salman Rushdie

I expect a great deal from Rushdie – as I’ve mentioned before, he’s one of my favourite authors – but The Enchantress of Florence left me wanting more.
This isn’t a criticism as such, just an observation. The book didn’t provoke the kind of response that I usually feel when I read Rushdie’s texts – and no, I’m not just talking about the Satanic Verses scandal.
I’ve always thought that Rushdie is a by nature a provocative author, whether he’s reimagining the origins of Islam, highlighting the potential and limitations of multiculturalism or trying to write a history of modern India.
The Enchantress of Florence didn’t provoke me – it is a beautiful text, ‘exotic’ (I hate that word, for numerous self-conscious, pseudo-intellectual reasons, but more of that another time) and full of rich imagery. It’s also a good story, with fiction embroidered with historical detail that Rushdie must have put significant labours into gathering. Of all Rushdie’s texts, this reminds me of Haroun and the Sea of Stories the most – his fantastic book for children and at its heart, this is a very diverting fairy tale for adults – which I suppose is no bad thing, but it left me missing the Rushdie of Midnight’s Children, Fury and Shame.

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