The Enchantress of Florence

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
The Enchantress of Florence
Written by: Salman Rushdie
Central Theme:
Genre(s): Historical Fiction
First published: April 11, 2008
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"In the beginning, there were three friends, Niccolò 'il Machia', Agostino Vespucci, and Antonino Argalia."

The Enchantress of Florence (2008) is the ninth novel of Salman Rushdie, which unapologetically mixes historical facts and fantastical elements without shame or mercy. It is mostly seen as a work of Magic Realism, but with quite a dose of fantasy element. Rushdie is particularly proud of the research he's done for the novel's writing, and proudly attached half a dozen pages of references at the end of the book—not bad for a work of fiction.

At the heights of the Mughal Empire of India, a blond traveller with a strange overcoat and, seemingly, magical prowess, came to visit Akbar the Great with a secret only a king may hear. He claimed to be under the protection of the greatest enchantress in the world: the titular enchantress of Florence. Strange things happened along the way.

Tropes used in The Enchantress of Florence include:
  • Art Initiates Life: Jodha, the Emperor's favourite queen, was apparently conjured up by him by sheer force of will. This is among the few moments in the story which is hard to interpret in non-magical terms.
    • Inverted Trope: Dashwant, the imperial artist, fell so madly in love with Qara Köz that he managed to transform himself into a painting.
  • Badass Boast: Akbar does this daily. The Scottish milord had one, too.
  • Bag of Holding: The traveller's coat.
  • Big Beautiful Woman: A prostitute in a whorehouse in Sikri, nicknamed "the Matress". People usually hire her along with her counterpart, the Skeleton, "to explore the extremes."
  • Blasphemous Boast: Possibly. The book noted that when he says "Allahu Akbar" (God is great/akbar) he could very well mean "Akbar is God."
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Ago Vespucci, to the point that many people assigned this to him as his defining characteristic.
  • Cuckold: Everyone loves Marco Vespucci's wife, although it's unclear whether they ever bedded her. Being a nice, stupid lad that he was, Marco said such a beauty should be public property.
    • Subverted by Praise-God Hawkins, which had departed so long from his beloved that he imagined daily that she had gone for another man back home.
  • Dying as Yourself: Simonetta.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Several. Qara Köz and Simonetta to name two.

"Simonetta possessed a pale, fair beauty so intense that no man could look at her without falling into a state of molten adoration, and nor could any woman."

"Why don't you go and masturbate a diseased goat?"