Aaaand we’ve made it to the last book review of the year! Yay! 64 is a record, though I got close last year. I think I’ve written about every book but one about diabetes. I skipped that one (though it’s excellent) because I’m the only person I know for whom it’s even remotely relevant. Anyway.
The Enchanted happened on a whim: I ran across it while I was browsing Book Riot’s deals page, clicked through, then saw that it has good reviews on Goodreads. I saw “magical realism” and prison and said to myself, why not? A few minutes in, I was hooked.
It’s about a man on death row in a maximum security prison. We figure out very early that he’s insane, though we don’t know what he did to get there. The magical realism label is a lie: he’s just crazy. But he’s beautifully crazy! The horses on the cover come from an image in his mind of golden horses running below the prison during executions. It’s really amazing. He spends lots of time talking about the lady (a lawyer) and a fallen priest and their involvement with the inmates. One of said inmates, York, is scheduled to die very soon, and the lady tries to save him even though he wants to die. She goes to his hometown and talks to relatives and others, trying to find out exactly what happened. We don’t get the full story. We also hear about the other inmates and what happened to them that turned them into killers. The lady and the fallen priest have baggage of their own.
This book is kind of a psychological study on what turns people into killers and how two people with very similar pasts will cope with it differently. And did I mention that it’s beautiful? The Enchanted is a bit sentimental for my taste, but the effect is glorious, and it’s worth reading even with its sappy undertones. I might even read it again someday.
Image credit: Drew Bates