“In Madder Carmine, novelist Tyler Enfield channels Mark Twain and Dante Alighieri and pulls it off beautifully. A thousand writers could try this trick and a thousand writers would very likely mess it up – Enfield succeeds brilliantly. This is a mind-bending and delightful journey.
In the same frenetic vein as Patrick Dewitt’s genre-bashing novels, Tyler Enfield’s Madder Carmine is a few steps above and vividly beyond. Enfield is an exceptional writer and clearly, a novelist to watch.”
– Thomas Trofimuk, author of Waiting for Columbus
After three years in the Mexican War, colour-blind Dannon Lereaux sets out across the mountains in search of “love, red, and a new class of salvation,” expecting to find all three in a girl called Madder Carmine.
Set in the year 1849, amidst a vividly reconceived Appalachia, young Dannon has returned from the war only to discover home was finer when remembered from afar. Disenchanted and confused, he puts all hope of deliverance in a girl he once met and embarks on an epic journey to find her. But hard on his trail is Will Lawson, the vengeful owner of the slave Dannon stole.
As Dannon is pushed deeper into the world of the hunted, his mind slips into a world of its own. Suddenly the mountains of his youth are transformed into the Nine Circles of Hell and the slave named Virgil becomes his soul-guide through the underworld. With this notion firm in his mind, Dannon commends himself to a surreal journey as he seeks redemption in the heart of the Inferno.
WINNER, High Plains Book Award, Fall 2016
SELECTION, Moonbeam Award, Fall 2016
“Madder Carmine is a masterpiece… Enfield’s fever dream of a classical quest is dizzying, poetic and original… a major work that deserves to be celebrated.” – High Plains Book Award Judges
“Like The Sisters Brothers … only better.” – Laurie Greenwood, CBC Radio
“The novel moves elegantly and effectively between the lyrical and historical, the concrete and the conceptual, the personal and the universal. It’s intelligent, and poetic, but it’s also a page-turner.” – Maple Tree Literary Supplement
“It is a rare book that slides a cliffhanger and perplexing scenario onto the first page and then deftly pulls a contented reader along to page 110 … Enfield owns a deftness to create characters you wish were real and a phrase so authentic to the setting and time of his story that you slip away from the noise of the world.” – Rat Creek Press
“Many archetypal themes and great works of world literature come together in this story from 1849 Appalachia“ – CM Magazine
“Enfield’s greatest strength lies in the voice he has crafted for Dannon. Sincere, unmistakably Southern, very funny and given at times to surprising emotional depths, he is an engaging companion who quickly earns affection”– Billings Gazette