Read advance reader review of The Last Enchantments by Charles Finch, page 3 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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  • Joyce S. (Tyrone, GA)
    Interesting memoir
    This book was an interesting incite into the Oxford campus and the differences in how things are done as well as the language and British kind of class divisions. I thought it rather lacking in a story line, plot and even anything other than the passage of time driving it forward. Was almost relieved when it ended. It read more like a diary where the writer could even stay on a timelinemore than anything else.
  • Daniel A. (Naugatuck, CT)
    The Last Enchantments
    I liked this book with reservations; it is well written but the story is not my cup of tea. I felt like I was not the target audience, and anyone who embraces the genre of romance novels will absolutely love this book.

    I think I would enjoy the author's previous works much more.
  • Nan G. (Mazomanie, WI)
    Not Enchanted...
    I wanted to like this story of a young man experiencing a world of enchantment at Oxford. The Secret History by Donna Tartt and A Separate Peace by John Knowles are 2 of my favorite novels and I always make room on the bookshelf for any book even vaguely reminiscent of the "coming of age in school" genre. Sadly, The Last Enchantments, while well-written, did not hold my interest.

    What was wrong: the characters (with one exception) were unlikable, some of them were stereotypical and most came across as shallow. What was right: the setting. Finch draws a vivid and loving picture of Oxford. The combination of such a luminous setting with unlikable characters was jarring.

    It is very possible that younger readers (20-30) may find the characters less irritating than I did and therefore the novel itself more enjoyable. Since this is so different from Finch's previous works it will not keep me from reading him in the future but this one is not one I can recommend without reservation.
  • Kat F. (Palatine, IL)
    Too old for this
    At 55 years old, it is quite possible I am simply too old to understand or have any empathy for this character and his friends. I definitely did not care about them in any way. The character goes from the insulated world of Yale to the insulated world of a political campaign back to the insulated world of Oxford University. Will and his friends feel they know of the world. Oh please. These self-indulgent, spoiled babies know nothing of real life and when it comes, it's going to hit them hard. Wouldn't bet they will be able to handle it, despite their prestigious education.

    When I start reading a book, I am always hopeful that I will be able to develop, at the very least, an understanding of the main character(s). Unfortunately, this did not happen for me. This book just irritated. I wanted to slap Will and his friends. I had the same feeling of wasting my time that I did after reading Catcher in the Rye a few years ago with my book club.
  • Sherrill B. (Columbia City, IN)
    last enchanments
    I didn't like this book. There wasn't any excitement or plot, just mostly descriptions of Oxford's campus. I was disappointed.
  • M. W. (Issaquah, WA)
    This novel was, for me, a huge disappointment. Student life at Oxford was depicted as a welter of booze, drugs, and promiscuity; the unlikeable characters were vacillating, pretentious, and insincere. The plot meandered along, with frequent insertions about past events to enable the hapless reader to try to catch up. (And why include the story of the main character's childhood in Chapter 8?)
    Rare inclusions of accounts of seminars or tutorials were couched in arcane vocabulary familiar only to pedants, and reminiscent of an A. S. Byatt lecture this reviewer attended, which rendered an entire audience paralyzed into silence, too stunned to ask any questions. Sprinkled throughout the novel were countless
    Britishisms which gave the impression that the author must have kept a notebook always at hand to jot down amusing or unfamiliar turns of phrase. Lists of interesting places to see (many of them pubs) were larded throughout, imparting the feeling that these were included to bulk things up. (Buy a good guidebook instead, folks.)
    Last but not least: in the late 1940s an eminent English author named Robert Liddell, a close friend of Olivia Manning, Barbara Pym, and Ivy Compton-Burnett, wrote an "Oxford novel" titled "The Last Enchantments." This was regarded as an excellent fictionalized account of Oxford as it was then, and was reprinted in the 1990s.
    Finch's version is a poor replacement. In his book, the dreaming spires have become nightmarish indeed.
  • Barbara C. (Fountain Hills, AZ)
    Not Very Enchanting
    Coming of age stories have been done so often and so well, this one leaves much to be desired. The characters did not speak to me and I felt were not well developed. The story jumped from one to another, and I felt no connection or sympathy toward any of them. I resented the political intrusions into the story and the Hate Bush theme was distasteful. If I wanted a leftist tirade I could watch Rachael Madow. I also got tired of the gratuitous language throughout. I suppose the author thinks F fills in for words when others fail. Do you think 20 somethings use this word so fluently? The saving grace of this book is the colorful descriptions of Oxford. Sorry, this book just did not do it for me. With all the other books out there, I felt I was wasting my time reading about shallow characters who spent most of their times jumping into bed with one another.
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