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State of Wonder

Rene Denfeld's The Enchanted

*This article was updated to reflect the publication of “The Enchanted” in paperback, in Spring 2015

 Rene Denfeld’s 2014 novel, “The Enchanted”, draws on her professional experience as a legal investigator on death penalty cases.

Gary Norman

It weaves vivid, difficult truths about prison life with poignant explorations of inmates inner lives.

“I was leaving the prison where they house Death Row one day,” Denfled told us. “It’s this old stone fortress of a building. I vividly remember, it was a very beautiful day. And I turned back to look and I heard this distinctive quiet voice. It said, ‘This is an enchanted place’. That tunred out to be the narrator of this novel.”

Denfeld is the author of several other books of non-fiction, but “The Enchanted” is her first novel. Weaving magic realism with the crushingly bleak realities of prison life, It’s the tale of a death row inmate who decides to discontinue his appeals, and an investigator on an odyssey through the inmate’s sordid past.

 “I think it’s extremely important to realize the terrible pain people cause each other. I’ve been around far too many victims and families of victims not to honor [that]. But I also think you can acknowledge that, and see these people for who they really are. I think I really tried to instill the novel with that willingness to see and hear the truth.”

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