Monday, March 29, 2010

Enchanted Night by Steven Millhauser

I have PLENTY of books that need reviewing at this point, but I just finished my first Once Upon a Time read and enjoyed it so much that I want to talk about it right away. Enchanted Night is a very different book in both it's format and it's content. But I do mean "different" in an good way. A very good way. Would it be silly of me to describe this book itself as enchanting? Because I do think it's the perfect word for it. There is no true plot to this short novella. What it encapsulates is the events of a summer night. A night where anything might happen. When magic is in the air. A writer who holes up in his attic leaves to visit a friend for an adventure, four girls break into homes leaving notes saying "WE ARE YOUR DAUGHTERS", strange flute music plays throughout the night and enchants children from their homes, dolls awaken in attics, a mannequin breathes and a man falls in love with her, lovers lay on a beach. These are just a few things that happen on this enchanted night. The book is written in a series of very short chapters. Some chapters as short as just a couple of sentences or four short lines of poetry...a song. Millhauser's writing is something that is just a pure gift to readers. I prayed for it not to end, just as I prayed for the night not to end when I was reading this book...dreading the rising of the sun, just as the characters in the book did. As the pages start to thin in your hands, there becomes a sense of urgency...that the book is almost over, that time is running out. And you truly don't want it to end. Millhauser does such a fantastic job of putting us into the book. Having us actually feel the magic, the enchantment of this special night where the moon goddess has come down and touched everything. Call me crazy, but I so wanted to just go lie in the grass in my backyard after reading this one and soak in the moonlight. It's a reading experience I won't soon forget. This was the second Millhauser book that I've read and I think I've found a very special author in him. The first book I read by him was Martin Dressler. You can read my thoughts on that one here. I loved that book and still think of it to this day, but I loved this one even more. This was a fantastic start to Once Upon a Time!

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