Drammy Awards celebrates the outstanding work of Portland’s Rene Denfeld



I don’t feel Drammy Awards  should need an excuse to talk about an art form other than theatre from time to time. After all, great plays are also great literature, and great novels fill our minds, imaginations, and hearts with dramatic scenes of love, violence, anger, peace as much as their counterparts on the stage.

But for any purists out there who feel that a Drammy awards newsfeed should dwell only on the Portland theatre scene, let me just quote from the Acknowledgements at the end of Rene Denfeld‘s stunning new novel, The Enchanted, published by HarperCollins.

“The author would like to thank the following: (…) the performing arts communities of Portland and Ashland (…).”  Good enough? I should say so.  (She also mentions Gary Norman, who I believe took this gorgeous photo, and other individuals by name).

I read this work…no, I drank it down in a single gulp this afternoon, the day after it was published. I am stunned by it. The marvelous writing is unlike anything I’ve come across before. I want to use words I hate, such as “luminous,” or “limpid,” or “searing,” or “unforgettable.” Everything feels like a cliche, and even the best cliche won’t do.  The subject matter is both heartrending and inspiring, despairing and hopeful, grittily realistic and out-of-this world fantastical.  I’m too close to the experience to write about it with any degree of coherence. There are tons of reviews out, all of them dazzled and dazzling. I don’t need to add one more. Go here, or here, or here,  or pretty much anywhere in the publishing world, which is buzzing.

But most of all…buy it and read it. For me, it filled a hunger and a thirst I never knew I had.  It is transformative. It sets the world on its head. Just like the best theatre.  And that is another excuse good enough for me to mention it here.

Seriously, read it. Your life will change. And you will be glad of it.

Congratulations, Rene. Outstanding!

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