The Enchanted

Rene Denfeld. Harper, $25.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-06-228550-8
The fiction debut from nonfiction author and journalist Denfeld (Kill the Body, the Head Will Fall) is 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. The novel follows the investigator’s exploration of the inmate’s grim life, even as the narrator brings us inside the dank stone walls of the “dungeon” where he lives. 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. Agent: Richard S. Pine, Inkwell Management. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 11/25/2013
Release date: 03/01/2014
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-230891-7
Compact Disc - 978-1-4829-9227-4
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-06-228551-5
Compact Disc - 978-1-4829-9226-7
Hardcover - 238 pages - 978-0-297-87049-4
Ebook - 272 pages - 978-0-06-228552-2
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