Thursday, 27 August 2015

Rene Denfeld: "The Enchanted"

Rene Denfeld
   This mother of three young children, lives in Portland, Oregon. She is a death penalty investigator who works with prisoners facing execution.  She had only written non-fiction, but wanted to write a novel that would capture the truth of prisons.  She certainly accomplished that.
   Actually, I was 'enchanted' by the cover of this book.  I am totally fascinated by covers and on a recent trip to Indigo, this book jumped out at me.  Also, it was labelled "Indigo Spotlight: an outstanding new read".   I knew it was a book about prison life, but two things surprised me.  The writing is spectacular!  I was carried away by the lyrical quality of her writing.  That was definitely 'enchanting'.  The second surprise was the brutal honesty about prison life.  So the juxtaposition of that beauty on the horrific facts, made it a rare novel. 
  The story is told by one of the prisoners, but 'the lady' is a main character.  She is not named but has the same job as the author.
"The lady hasn't lost it yet- the sound of freedom.  When she laughs, you can hear the wind in the trees and the splash of water hitting pavement.  You can sense the gentle caress of rain on your face and how laughter sounds in the open air, all the things those of us in this dungeon can never feel."
   Beautiful writing: "The library became my sanctuary.  I loved the ways the precious stories took shape but always had room to be read again.  After a time it seemed that the world inside the books became my world".
  "My soul left me when I was six.  It flew away past a flapping curtain over a window.  I ran after it, but it never came back.  It left me alone on wet stinking mattresses.  It left me alone in the choking dark.  It took my tongue, my heart, and my mind."

I think I can compare it to "All Quiet on the Western Front". An honest look at the grim realities of life.

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