I sort of forced myself to finish The Enchantress of Florence, partly because a new book by one of my favourite authors has just arrived in the post but also because I was just getting bored with this story. I wrote a quite glowing post about this book last Sunday in the Salon, at which point I’d only read most of part I, which I still think is pretty good, telling the story of an European story teller travelling to the Moghul Empire to tell an at first unlikely story to the Emperor about a forgotten Moghul princess, as the spoils of war, she was passed from war lord to war lord until she ended up enchanting Florence. The first part describes the Moghul city beautifully and you get a real sense of a story being told as we follow both the story teller and the beginning of the story he has to tell to. It was at times dryly funny and I read most of it with a smile literally on my face, not just from the humour but from the beauty Rushdie was creating with his words.
But Part II lost it for me a bit, concentrating more on Florence, it became sort of a story, within a story, within a story. It lost it’s humour and also the sense I wrote about last Sunday of sitting by a camp fire as I read the book, with someone actually telling me the story. What I’m trying to say is that I think the narrator of the story as a whole faded a bit in Part II.
It picked up a bit in Part III as it rushed towards the climax of the story, revealing more about the actual Enchantress and her fate and how this story from the Moghul emperor’s past still had the power to take over his present.
So overall not a bad story so to speak but it definitely lost it’s power as it continued.