The Enchanted: A Novel (P.S.)

The Enchanted: A Novel (P.S.)

Rene Denfeld

Language: English

Pages: 272

ISBN: 0062285513

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


For the narrator locked inside an ancient prison, waiting for death, life is full of magic, from the golden horses that stampede underground to the tiny men who hammer away inside the stone walls. That the enchanted place is a death row matters less to him than the people he watches from the bars of his cage: the lady, an investigator hired to help the men escape execution; the fallen priest, brought by shame to work the row; and the kindly warden, who ushers men to death.

As the lady digs deep into the past of one of the men on the row, she finds secrets that ring chillingly familiar, and begins a journey that will bring all of them to unexpected salvation.

Guilt and innocence collide in this story of the beauty that can exist in the midst of despair. A luminous novel about redemption, the poetry that can be found in the unfathomable, and the human capacity to transcend even the most nightmarish reality, The Enchanted is a new classic.

The New York Review of Books (26 May 2016)

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twitches the thoughts away. She needs a clear mind for meeting her new client. The men watch her pass silently. No one catcalls the lady. At the far end of the hall, a narrow set of ancient stairs rises out of the gloom. We are buried here in the dungeon, deep under the cellblocks above. The cells here have never seen sunlight, and the lightbulbs in the stairwells are old and flickering. The tight dungeonlike stairs are dark corners and spittle-drying places that a wise man avoids. The lady

you mind if I visit your aunt?” She knows condemned men feel powerless. In the secret castle they build together in the Dugdemona cage, she gives them power. But York is already scheduled for execution. She doesn’t have time to bring him along. Besides, he told her he wants to die. So she ignored this critical permission-gathering step. She realizes now that was a tactical mistake. She tells herself she needs his cooperation to do her job, if nothing else. “I’m sorry I went behind your back,”

under the yard and under the buildings like gophers, until all of a sudden they pop up here, dozens of them. You’d think the walls would be tight. No. This place is pockmarked with holes and secret tunnels. I hear them sneaking late at night in the wall behind my cot. I’m sure the warden sent them. No, I think. The warden is okay. He wouldn’t do that. So who sent them? I slide along the wall and press my ear to it like a stone spider, breathing softly in the dark. The men scamper and giggle so

tiny chapel in the yard. That chapel is now the rape shed. The idea a century ago was that the men lived here until they died, and as they lived, they should be no burden to others. When they died, their ashes were to die here, too. There was no reason to waste money on paupers’ graves. How much easier, the first warden thought, if we just burned the dead. And so a crematorium was built. There are almost three thousand inmates in this prison, with the number being constantly replenished. Men

enchantment now—he sees the enchantment in her. She doesn’t wait for him to answer. “I would have washed them for you,” she says. The lady walks down our row. I can tell by the sound of her footsteps that this is her last walk. She tells herself she cannot continue this work anymore—not after what she did. If anyone ever found out, she would lose everything. There is something in the muffled clop that says goodbye. I will savor this sound as I have savored all her other sounds. I touch my

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