Monday, March 10, 2014

Julie's Review: The Last Enchantments

Author: Charles Finch
Series: No
Publication Date: January 28, 2014
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 336
Obtained: publisher
Genre:  contemporary fiction
Rating: 5/5
Bottom Line:Beautiful and lyrical novel about finding oneself during a crossroads in life
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab!
Review: Oh how I loved The Last Enchantments. Oh how I wish I could experience it again for the first time! I've always been a bit fascinated with Oxford, so I was enthralled with the descriptions of the campus. It felt as if I could see the green grass and taste the lagers as the characters drank them. While Will is the main character and the novel was told from his perspective, the rest of the cast of characters are intriguing in their own right. Will is a spectacular breeding for an American but of course the Brits have more history and more money on their side. Most of them are privileged and Oxford is a stop-gap before they begin their professions. For Will, he just came off the Kerry campaign and is trying to figure out where he wants to go next in his life. Is politics for him? Should he be a professor? At Oxford he is studying the works of George Orwell. I should mention that when Will leaves for Oxford he's involved with the lovely, WASP-y Allison and notes it is only a year they will be apart. We all know that anything can happen in a year. Is Will self-involved? Yes but most 20 somethings are at this point in their lives.

The novel is told in reflection and of course there is always a chance to change the events in retrospect but I do feel that Will was baring his soul. I felt that he was being honest to his audience. Mr. Finch has a gift for prose. It was within the first page that I was hooked. I immediately fell for Will, Tom and even that crazy Anil. Will wore his heart/feelings on his sleeve with everyone he encountered. He wasn't without his faults. I found his obsession with Sophie to be a little much, especially as the novel went on.

What I found intriguing is how most of us go to college/university to expand our knowledge, get an education, get a job after school but what ends up happening is that we get involved in affairs of the heart and those take over the other pursuits. Mr. Finch captures that perfectly in The Last Enchantments. Sometimes writing a review for a book you loved is hard because you want to expound on all the reasons you loved it but they are inexplicably tied to the plot, which of course you don't want to reveal in your review.

I don't want to say this book is a coming of age because I reserve that for YA novels but it is a book about finding out who you are when your adult life is really just beginning. There are also some great quotes in there but they would take up too much space here.

If you are looking for a beautifully written novel about discovering who you are and your path in life, then I highly encourage you to pick up The Last Enchantments.



Paul March 10, 2014 at 8:55 AM  

Thanks for this review. I have read several of his Charles Lenox mysteries, but was unaware of this book. Looks like a good one.

Beth Hoffman March 10, 2014 at 1:57 PM  

Wow, Julie, what a terrific review. You've sold me on this one!

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