The Enchanted

Prix du Premier Roman Etranger, 2014

ebook / ISBN-13: 9780297870517

Price: £7.99

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A powerful and hauntingly beautiful novel for fans of THE GREEN MILE and THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION.

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… so dark, yet so exquisite.’ Erin Morgentern, author of The Night Circus

A prisoner sits on death row in a maximum security prison. His only escape from his harsh existence is through the words he dreams about, the world he conjures around him using the power of language. For the reality of his world is brutal and stark. He is not named, nor do we know his crime. But he listens. He listens to the story of York, the prisoner in the cell next to him whose execution date has been set. He hears the lady, an investigator who is piecing together York’s past. He watches as the lady falls in love with the priest and wonders if love is still possible here. He sees the corruption and the danger as tensions in ‘this enchanted place’ build. And he waits. Because every monster was once a child, and even monsters have a story . . .

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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, enshrouding horrible things in a gossamer veil of fantasy with a truly unforgettable narrator. So dark yet so exquisite
Erin Morgenstern, author of THE NIGHT CIRCUS
THE ENCHANTED is unlike anything I've ever read ... A jubilant celebration that explores human darkness with a profound lyric tenderness and not one jot of sentimentality ... contagious and seductive
Katherine Dunn, author of GEEK LOVE
Rene Denfeld is a genius. In THE ENCHANTED, she has imagined one of the grimmest settings in the world - a dank and filthy death row in a corrupt prison - and given us one of the most beautiful, heart-rending, and riveting novels I have ever read
Donald Ray Pollock, author of THE DEVIL ALL THE TIME
A striking one-of-a-kind prison novel. The narrator, who is on death row and remains nameless until the book's end, explains that the prison, although a place where "the walls sigh with sadness," is enchanted: golden horses "run deep under the earth," miniature men with miniature hammers hide in the walls, and "flibber-gibbets dance while the oven slowly ticks." The narrator's magical perspective-which is paradoxically necessary, perhaps, to preserve what remains of his sanity-contrasts heartbreakingly with the parallel tale of an investigator, also unnamed, who is tasked with finding details about the past of another death-row inmate, known as York, that will result in his sentence being commuted, even though York has decided he wants to die ... Through the novel's rich, haunting prose, Denfeld, who herself has worked as an investigator in death penalty cases, shines a light on lives led with capital punishment on the schedule. This is a stunning first novel from an already accomplished writer that will leave the reader hoping for more fiction in the author's future.
Read this magical book, and prepare to be spellbound
Library Journal
A dark must-read.
An unnamed prisoner looks for salvation amid the shadows of a high-security prison in this eerie, haunting novel by Rene Denfeld, who worked as a Death Row investigator for many years.
BOOK OF THE WEEK Weaving horror and suspense alongside magical realism, Denfeld takes the reader on a nightmarish journey that raises important questions about clemency and punishment, death and redemption...Meticulously researched, the novel benefits from the author's first-hand experience. A gripping and learned study of dysfunctional human behaviour.
This is magical, bleak and unexpectedly compelling.
The Enchanted is a compelling, nuanced meditation on the possibility (no more than that) of human redemption, even int he most unlikely circumstances imaginable.
Denfeld is much more interested in the why rather than the is through lyricism Denfeld offers her insight into human nature. Her thesis is that even in this terrible place there is to be found some terrible beauty.
Rene Denfeld's transcendent if bleak vision elevates this imaginative and utterly gripping debut novel far above the usual thriller fare
This haunting read follows the thoughts and dreams of a prisoner on death row... that sounds like like pretty heady stuff but it's actually gripping and often moving.
Drawn from the author's personal experience of working as a death-penalty investigator, The Enchanted is a debut novel of quite astonishing assurance.. this is a book that oozes authenticity, a novel of atrocity, redemption, justice and mercy, swinging back and forth between the most unbearably horrific and the heartbreakingly moving... in the end it's not the monstrosities that make this book so compulsively readable, it's the unwavering sense of humanity.
One of those books on which a certain head of steam is already building, suggesting that this haunting and disturbing novel is something different from the general run of crime-related novels - and so it proves to be... Unusually for a novel with such a subject, there is a genuine lyricism here, which undercuts the more unsettling aspects of the narrative.
Barry Forshaw, GOOD BOOK GUIDE
America's love affair with the death penalty has been a staple of American thrillers from Grisham to King, but Rene Denfeld... turns the potentially hackneyed tale of a woman's fight to save a prisoner from execution into a metaphysical examination of evil and redemption.