Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Enchantress of Florence - Salman Rushdie

Finally a book from Salman Rushdie that I could read and enjoy! I had tried a couple of his earlier works including the 'Midnight's Children' but found them too confusing and complex.

The "Enchantress of Florence" is a wonderful story based in 16th century India during the time of Akbar the Great, the most well known Mughal emperor. The visitor from Florence, Italy comes to the Mughal court with a secret to tell to the emperor and the story keeps the reader enthralled throughout. The contrasting lifestyles and philosophies of the western and eastern world is beautifully brought out by the author. Mr.Rushdie's in depth understanding of history, religion, culture and philosophy is obvious and his ability to mesh them all together to bring out a great book is outstanding. Every line contains so much information that I am astounded on how much research that must have gone into this book.

The history of the Mughals from Babar to Akbar is brought out well and Akbar's reign is covered in detail. The construction of the city Fatehpur Sikri and its final desertion is built into the story of this book. Akbar's famous courtiers such as Birbal and Abul Fazl makes the story even more appealing to Indian readers. Since I had visited Fatehpur Sikri recently, I found the references to this city (which is well preserved even now) even more interesting.

Some pictures from Fatehpur Sikri below:

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