Sherilyn R. (Bountiful, UT)
Truly Enchanting Novel
An enchanting book that captures the exquisite period between college and true adulthood. The time when every college student dreams of being free, of being able to explore who they really are and what they really want, of being independent without the encumbrances of being adult.
Charles Finch sets the pace as we journey along with young William Baker as he experiences a year at Oxford. With a slow seductive rhythm we come to understand William and the landscape that was and is Oxford.
This is a sensitive, intense, thoroughly charming book full of one young man's longing and desire that is metaphor for us all. I so wanted to visit Oxford again after reading this book.
Kay D. (Strongsville, OH)
The Last Enchantments - Generated Mixed Feelings
I found The Last Enchantments to be an interesting book, both liking and disliking elements. Overall, I would rate it 4 out of 5. The book did keep me interested enough in the characters to keep reading until the end, even when I found them shallow at times. I believe the shallowness was more the characters' behaviors, not the writing or the character development. Personally, I had a hard time identifying with the lack of responsibility of most of the characters. I found the consistent bending of the truth a bit unsettling.
During the year that the book covers, it focuses on a group of grad students at Oxford. The diversity of the group was well done and gave some perspectives from several backgrounds. The main character was from America and since the narrative was from his perspective it was often colored by that. In addition, the main character had a leaning towards political work, and therefore was colored by his political beliefs. I felt these sometimes got in the way of the story and became more of a political statement than necessary.
Overall, an interesting read and I generally liked the writing.
Kristen H. (Hagerstown, MD)
Education in life
The author captured the essence of going to college and experiencing life. The title summed it up wonderfully. The experiences that Will went through in England, after already starting a life with Alison. Also, the fact that he had a job working in politics and then to go across the ocean to study abroad. I enjoyed the author's style of writing. This book is a very enjoyable read. I would definitely recommend this book to a book club.
Norma R. (Secaucus, NJ)
Last Enchantments tells the of the journey of a group of friends from college to adulthood. Will Baker leaves the security of a job and a girlfriend in New York to study in Oxford for one year. The beauty of Oxford is stunning but life is not perfect. The group of friends are all struggling to find a place in the adult world. Bill falls in love with Sophie but both are in another relationship. Bill is yearning for an ideal life in Oxford - but it does not exist. I enjoyed this book because it told the universal story of growing up. Would recommend it for a book club.
Carolyn (Summerville, SC)
The Last Enchantments
This is a skillfully written novel that I liked, but didn't love. The main character, Will, is a likable fellow, a Yale graduate who spent a year working on a presidential campaign for a losing candidate. After the election, he applied for acceptance at Oxford University (unbeknownst to his longtime girlfriend), and when he was accepted he took off for England. This book is an accounting of that year. Will seemed rather immature to me, more like an undergrad, and I confess I needed a dictionary for a lengthy list of words he used ("involucre", "armature", et al). The descriptions of Oxford life were interesting, and I expect that a book club could have a lively discussion about what motivated some of these characters. For me, not a failure, but not a triumph, either.
Patty S. (Towson, MD)
Remembering My Twenties
One of the ways I know I like a book is by the way I feel when I finish it. I left Will Baker and his Oxford friends an hour ago and, still, I am thinking of my own feelings about my relationships at the age of 27 or 28. Do we all go through it - the questions, the longing, the imagining life veering in a different direction?
At first I didn't connect with Finch's writing style. It felt a bit pompous but as I kept with it, I began to see that it was part of Will's character. As more of his personality was revealed, I became more attached and the end came too soon.
Anyone who struggles with the big life decisions of what to be and who will be with them on the journey will enjoy this book.
Anne (Austin, TX)
The Last Enchantments by Charles Finch
Will Baker leaves NYC and his fiance to spend a year at Oxford for grad school. What ensues is a telling of Will's personal life. He makes friends, meets women, goes to parties and bars and from all indications does very little studying. This is the ultimate coming of age story and Will experiences all the typical flings, traumas, and hangovers.
I didn't dislike the book, thought it was extremely well written, and in fact have gathered some of Finch's other titles to read next. The Last Enchantments is probably aimed at a 20-something reader who would probably enjoy it a great deal more than I.