Nominated by:

Chicago Public Library, USA

Publisher of nominated edition:

HarperCollins USA

The Enchanted

Rene Denfeld      

2016 Longlist

“This is an enchanted place. Others don’t see it, but I do.” The enchanted place is an ancient stone prison, viewed through the eyes of a death row inmate who finds escape in his books and in re-imagining life around him, weaving a fantastical story of the people he observes and the world he inhabits. Fearful and reclusive, he senses what others cannot. Though bars confine him every minute of every day, he marries visions of golden horses running beneath the prison, heat flowing like molten metal from their backs with the devastating violence of prison life.

Two outsiders venture here: a fallen priest and the Lady, an investigator who searches for buried information from prisoners’ pasts that can save those soon-to-be-executed. Digging into the background of a killer named York, she uncovers wrenching truths that challenge familiar notions of victim and criminal, innocence and guilt, honesty and corruption—ultimately revealing shocking secrets of her own.

The Enchanted reminds us of how our humanity connects us all, and how beauty and love exist even amidst the most nightmarish reality.

(from publisher)

About the Author

Rene Denfeld is an author, journalist, and death penalty investigator. She has written for the New York Times Magazine, the Oregonian, and the Philadelphia Inquirer, and is the author of four nonfiction books. The Enchanted received the Prix du Premier Roman Étranger in France.

Librarian’s Comments

In a dank and depressing prison prison, a death row inmate creates a bewitching world for himself full of tiny men in the walls and horses flecked with gold that run the halls at midnight, to counter the evil men he is surrounded by and the horrific things they have done. A bright light in this dark place is a female investigator who works tirelessly to sift between the innocent and the guilty. Rene Denfeld’s first novel is a haunting story of secrets and truth and searching for the good in an often cruel world.

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