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Enchantment Mass Market Paperback


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Fawcett (October 12, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0449214257
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449214251
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #511,648 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This piercing evocation of family life chronicles a child's obsessive enchantment with her mothera "hopelessly entangling skein of anger and need and pain." If this memory of self-described, anal-retentive Hannah Lehmann, who grows up in material wealth but emotional deprivation, incorporates too much therapy-talk (right down to accounts of steaming feces) as well as a self-absorbed whine, it is also gifted with rare insight and a deft and witty style. Merkin, an HBJ senior editor and literary critic, weaves fragments of Hannah's past and present from the protagonist's claustrophobic and relentless vantage, vividly rehashing every last familial grudge and longing as she masterfully unfolds the tragedy of Hannah's paralyzing inability to exorcise an oppressive parental omnipresence, which is mostly of her own making. Her mother wishes that she wouldn't make "mountains out of molehills"; Hannah does so with such candor and lack of sentimentality that the reader is forced to bear witness with frustration to her self-pity; with fear to her capacity for self-destruction; with empathy to her painful transition from needy child to responsible adult. Elegant depictions of the ordinary, such as a favorite pair of washed-out cotton pajamas or the contents of an almost-bare refrigerator, and the accurate portrayal of Orthodox Jewish life are especially skillful. A portion of the novel was previously published in the New Yorker.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

The name Lehmann commands attention on Wall Street, but the child Hannah thinks her father sells "chairs." It is her mother who dominates her life and is the focus of this first novel about the "inside lining" of a wealthy Jewish family. "Maybe memory gets it all wrong, I don't know" muses Hannah, as the author depicts her journey to self-knowledge through brief, randomly ordered memories. The intense first-person narrative, departed from only for brief stretches of extremely well-captured conversation, tempts one to call this autobiography. As such, it takes risks, but in the end the imaginary "I" is wholly believable. Enchantment is filled with minute detailstelevision trivia that captures the spirit of the 1950s, insights into budding sexuality that turn the reader's headthat add up to a vivid and intensely felt portrait. Rochelle Ratner, formerly Poetry Editor "Soho Weekly News," New York
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

2.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Honest Abe on December 31, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I found Enchantment to be a 288 paged whine. It is a story of a girl named Hannah. I was given this story to read for a "coming of age" theme. This character NEVER meets this requirement, she is stuck in immaturity and I was unable to feel empathy or anything for Hannah. There was no order or plot and nothing ever seemed to happen. It was well written considering that the story had nothing. But witty did not save the book. I thought it was dreadful.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By TawnTawn on September 15, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
According to an article she wrote for Allure, this is Ms. Merkin's autobiography. At least up until age 26. Basically it is a memoir of her growing up years, her need for her mother's love, and her mother's complete lack of interest in the fact that she needed that love. With six children in a strict Orthodox Jewish household, it wasn't as though her mother did not have the time to spare for each child; she was just busy with invitations to business dinners, phone calls, and spending time with her husband. Her father was a millionaire businessman, but she was never interested in obtaining his attention. It was her mother whom Ms. Merkin obsessed over.

Her mother was German, and wanted to become a surgeon. If she had, she certainly wouldn't have had a very friendly bedside manner. When Hannah (Daphne) cried, she was told "Your tears don't move me". The children's nurse was allowed to do as she pleased: bang Hannah's head against the wall, spank all the children with their pants pulled down, even kicking one of them. When Hannah asked her mother why she had married her father, she was told it was none of her business. When she and one of her young sisters fought, her mother told them that they were both bitches.

Although this was an apparently very wealthy (3 or 4 maids, the children's nurse, cook, laundress, chauffeur, a beach house with a pool) family, and Hannah took trips and had expensive (if not the ones she would have chosen for herself) clothes, it reminds you that there can be different kinds of abuse within a family. What you see on the outside is not always what is on the inside. This book reminds me of Small Sacrifices by Ann Rule.
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By Erica Manfred on August 26, 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
It arrived without a cover for the seat so I returned it. not sure if this is the case with all of them or not.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 24, 1999
Format: Paperback
What most impressed me about this novel was how believable the characters and situations were, such that it read like an autobiography more than something someone just made up and put together into a novel. Merkin's prose is effective and enchanting.
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