I received this book free from Goodreads First Reads and Harper Collins as an advanced reader copy.
The novel begins with the narrator describing the decrepit old prison to which he is confined for life. To him it possesses some magical quality, some beauty that radiates from within the earth where the mythical beings live and come to inhabit the prison. He is the only one who sees these things, and he takes nothing for granted now that he is in solitary confinement, though it had not always been so for the death row inmate. We follow the stories of several inmates, some tragic, some horrifying, some redemptive, but all sad in their own ways. There are also the lives of the the warden, ‘the Lady’ and the priest intertwined in this inmate’s tale of magic and observation.
The lives of these seeming strangers intertwine through the novel and we learn where a murderer comes from, and how he is created. We see remorse, regret and distain and we come to know the true world in which these prisoners live. For the priest and the Lady, their story begin in earnest with a meeting, a look, an innocent touch in the prison, but continues to much more. Ultimately they are able to make a life for themselves outside of the prison, when none of the others can, finding some sort of solace in one another that they had been searching for.
The Enchanted is beautifully written with haunting prose and heartfelt narratives. You can almost feel the loneliness in the narrator’s voice and you can certainly imagine the desolate, solemn place in which these prisoners are held. The sadness in each character is palpable and the scenery seeps into the story and surrounds you. It is not until the last few pages that you feel the characters ultimate redemption, but it is a fitting ending to such a hauntingly beautiful piece of writing. I would highly recommend this book to anyone.