Published: February 21, 2014
Number of pages: 233
Publisher: Harper Collins
Genre: crime, mystery, fantasy
Rating: older adults as the story contains subject matter
Verdict: 5 hoots out of 5
The unnamed death row inmate can only see the enchanted place, but he also sees everything else that happens inside the cold stone walls. The lady comes in to investigate York’s case, a killer who is about to be executed. But unlike her former clients York wants to die. The death row inmate sees the lady and listens to York’s story, while hearing the golden horses and other strange creatures that live in his enchanted world…
An amazing story of how a death row inmate finds peace from reading his books at the prison library and imagining his world as an enchanted place. In his place there are golden horses that stampede underneath the prison grounds spreading heat like molten lava, and tiny men hammering away at the walls. Only he can see these creatures but he also sees everything else that goes on from his cell. As the narrator, he sadly explains that he wants to tell us everything that happens in his enchanted place before he takes his final bow. This is a powerful and dark novel that you have to read it and here’s why. But I must warn you there are parts that are shocking due to their subject matter.
This story has a strong set of characters. We listen to each of their background stories and see the horrible things that had happened in their past. As the lady digs deeper into York’s history, she finds that they share the same depressing childhood. Both he and the lady develop an understanding as they feel each other’s guilt and shame and learn to confront their fears as they slowly move forward with their lives. But as the lady continues with her investigation she uncovers a startling discovery that concludes York’s fate.
Meanwhile inside his cell, the narrator sees the love between the lady and the priest blossom into something so beautiful that he encourages it. Teaching us that inside a brutal and hopeless place like a prison, there can still be beauty. His words are so powerful that I was immediately pulled into this world, his enchanted place full of corruption and hope. There are some people in his enchanted place who are cruel and hateful but there are others such as the lady and the priest who bring love and warmth, giving men like the narrator a sense of peace.
This is a magnificent short story I’ve ever read with words that are simple and yet poetic that it’s hard to imagine not being pulled into this book. If you’re looking for a story that is hauntingly beautiful and moving then I totally recommend reading this as it will leave a permanent place in your memory as one of the most dark and magical books you’ve ever read.
My favorite quotes:
–This is an enchanted place. Other’s don’t see it but I do.
-It seemed that the world inside the books became my world.
-The books brought brilliance in my life, and they brought an understanding: Life is a short story.
-The books helped me see that truth is not in the touch of the stone but in what the stone tells you.
-Life is a page waiting to be turned.