Salman Rushdie has long been known for fusing fantasy and magical realism and by doing so pulling off a spectacular narrative. In his latest novel titled The Enchantress of Florence, in order to wriggle out of trouble, a mysterious visitor to the Mughal court gives a first-hand account of sorcery, false notion, imaginary lovers and the ‘Enchantress of Florence.’
According to Rushdie it is his “most researched book” which required “years and years of reading.”
His work relates a series of interconnected stories by a variety of storytellers, explorers, and travelers and staying true to form touch on the histories and cultures of the various settings including: the Mughal and Ottoman Empires, the earlier Mongols, and Renaissance Florence. Sex and eroticism are at the forefront with much of the theme surrounding ‘the Enchantress’ in the book’s title.
Rushdie’s mode of tale-telling is besieged with playful reminders of the ludicrousness of desire which, although fun at times start to seem a bit monotonous. This remarkable account of sex-crazed Florentines and the Mughal of love is free and frank, but it’s not very often that the partakers are given enough room to become interesting as opposed to just ‘there.’ In comparison, the lives of artists, writers, and rulers are far better detailed. One is well into the story before the Enchantress herself finally metamorphoses into an emotionally powerful and truly seductive creation.
While it may seem a bit presumptuous to expect a novelist to develop a style and stick to it Rushdie’s abilities to seduce the reader can be likened to that of the Enchantress herself. It is a true testament to his powers as a storyteller, and as a reader, you find yourself aching for more!