Read advance reader review of The Last Enchantments by Charles Finch, page 2 of 3

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The Last Enchantments

by Charles Finch

The Last Enchantments by Charles Finch X
The Last Enchantments by Charles Finch
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  • Published Jan 2014
    336 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

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There are currently 21 member reviews
for The Last Enchantments
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  • Karen B. (Pittsburgh, PA)
    Collegiate Coming-of-Age Disappoints
    The setting of Oxford outshines both the characters and plot of this novel. Liked Finch's writing style and may be interested in picking up his next effort. But, must say that this fell short of both my expectations and those books currently in my "To-Be-Read" pile.
  • Viqui G. (State College, PA)
    The Last Enchantments
    Certainly this novel had some very appealing themes: academic stimulation, freedom to choose when to work and when to relax, escapism and of especially friendship. Will Baker, the protagonist, is immersed in an academic environment studying literature, a topic that he relishes. The author gives us great detail about Will's excitement in studying and learning. He is able to research and write intensely on his own schedule and is also able to socialize, drink, party and have deep involvements with his new Oxford friends and lovers whenever he chooses. Charles Finch does a magnificent job of conveying a young man's daily academic life, exuberant friendship with housemates along with his angst of deep and complicated love for Sophie. The reader is treated to great discussions of the complexity of human interactions. However, the novel is, in the end, a slice of life. The novel tells us of one year in a young American man's life in Oxford, England between 2004-2005. Although the writing was quite good, the descriptions were often long winded. The details of Will's daily life became uninteresting after 2/3 of the novel because there was no significant change or revelation into how the year transformed him. The reader gets the feeling that Will shall forever see the pinnacle of his life be the year at Oxford, and frankly, it really isn't that interesting to the rest of us.
  • Marianne S. (Ulysses, KS)
    The Last Enchantments
    Will Baker goes to Oxford at age 25 for a year of advanced study. There he drinks, parties, drinks, plays games, drinks, has an affair, drinks, falls in love, and yes, drinks some more. The plot was pretty predictable. I learned a lot about Oxford, and its customs and buildings. That was the best part of the book for me. I felt like I was there, only sober.
  • Kate G. (Bronx, NY)
    Escape to Oxford
    The Last Enchantments is the story of Will Baker who flees New York for a year of studying George Orwell at Oxford. It really depicts well the insularity of academic life where daily routine and interactions can be disproportionally important compared to the outside world. The Oxford parts of the book were my favorites. I felt that the personal relationships were less successful. There was lots of falling in and out of love which felt very superficial. Writing a first person narrative, the author Charles Finch tries to make Will Baker the sympathetic hero, but at times Will was just very shallow and self absorbed.
  • Helen M. (Petaluma, CA)
    Fell Short
    I thought the book only average because it seems to be more of a remembrance of a time gone by than a compelling novel. The descriptions of Oxford are done so well that one can picture being there but the characters seem so self-absorbed. I could not find the heart of the book, only a glimpse of one year in a man's life. The question is, was he a different person at the end of the year? The Last Enchantments fell short for me.
  • Christine B. (St. Paul, MN)
    Last Enchantments
    Unfortunately although this was a coming of age story I don't think the protagonist ever came to age. The epilogue still kept him at loose ends. Although there weren't that many characters I felt we never really understood any of them and Will"s superficial attachments to women was annoying. I thought it was well written but lacked substance.
  • Judith M. (San Diego, CA)
    Coming of Age Story
    The Last Enchantments is a lyrically written novel of a young American spending a year at Oxford.
    After graduating from Yale, William Baker goes to work in presidential politics. But when the campaign ends in disappointment he decides to leave for a year at Oxford.
    This coming of age story is basically the inner monologue of the main character, Will, as he goes about his day interacting and thinking about his relationships both in Oxford and in the U.S.
    I wanted to like the story as I have enjoyed reading Charles Finch's previous books. Oxford did come across as enchanting, the characters less so. Perhaps younger readers would enjoy it more.
    One part I did find interesting was his description of working on a Presidential campaign and the draw of politics, even after the letdown of defeat.
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