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The Enchanted: A Novel (P.S. (Paperback)) Paperback – February 24, 2015
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An Amazon Best Book of the Month, March 2014: Journalist Rene Denfeld channels her experience as a death penalty case investigator into a gut-wrenching, spellbinding debut novel. The Enchanted goes deep inside a decaying prison where we meet York, a death row inmate who is on the verge of execution, and "The Lady," an investigator who (against York's wishes) delves into his history in an attempt to have his sentence reduced. What she finds is far from pretty, revealing parallels to her own awful past. There are others, none without tragedy. But their morbid, often unrepentantly violent stories are balanced with moments of emotional escape--poetic beauty from outside the prison and strange explanations from within. These magical aspects, or "enchanted things," are the sensational imaginings of an unhinged, unnamed inmate--York's prison neighbor and our narrator. His is a unique perspective--one that is at once irrational and insightful, driving the plot and providing context and description beyond the walls of the prison and beyond the realms of reality. The result is captivating and perplexing. Given such dark subjects, "enjoying" The Enchanted may feel uncomfortable, but there’s no crime in embracing Denfeld's ability to evoke empathy for seemingly undeserving characters and inspire wonder within an unlikely place. --Robin A. Rothman
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
In her evocative first novel, Denfeld, a boxer and author of the hard-hitting nonfiction book, All God’s Children: Inside the Dark and Violent World of America’s Street Families (2007), seeks to revolutionize our perception of convicts. One of three nameless narrators, a man on death row, states that prison is a place of enchantment. He convincingly describes the mythic beauty of his dank dungeon before introducing the other two mysterious speakers, the jail’s fallen priest and a woman hired to exonerate the condemned men. Referred to only as “the lady,” she serves as the plot’s catalyst. She is enlisted to spare an inmate named York, who was doomed to misery long before he became a criminal. Denfeld’s humanizing of the potential for horror that is within all of us and her insistence that the reader see the beauty in the darkest corners of life sizzles through her sharp prose, which both makes us flinch and invites us to imagine. Those familiar with the world of corrections will especially appreciate Denfeld’s nuanced portrait of prison life. --Amber Peckham --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Why do some people do unspeakable acts? These men were once abused children. The book makes no excuses for the wrongdoers, but it speaks of a society that refuses to take responsibility for the most vulnerable in our midsts.