In Enchanteur of Hearts, author Ryan Carneiro presents brief writings (he dubs them “love proses”) that focus on love lost and the hope of regaining it.
“Love proses” is a fair, if unusual, description of these pieces. Unlike most poetry, there is no rhythm or rhyme, no line breaks or wordplay, and words are not used sparingly. The work reads like a collection of very short, straightforwardly written essays, all centered on a nameless woman who is variously referred to in the titles as “Adorable Beauty,” “My Heart’s Savior,” and “Grief Relaxer,” among other terms.
Although writing can be a therapeutic outlet for the complex emotions that come along with unrequited love, the pieces here often feel obsessive to an uncomfortable degree. For example, in “Grief Relaxer,” the author writes: “I am around. I take some medication that is essential for me to function. The medicine boosts my motivation to make me think of you more often when I am alone. I am very grateful for the pills.” Another, “Daydreams about You,” also underscores the speaker’s obsession: “Pardon me if I fail to stay away from you. It’s up to you whether you want me around or not.”
The ideas are repetitive, hint at persecution issues (the author mentions people who may have sullied his name to the woman to whom he’s so powerfully drawn), and show no growth or willingness to let go and move on. By book’s end, a reader feels more sadness than hope.
Carneiro may well be a true romantic pouring out his heart on the page, as many writers do; readers will certainly feel his anguish. But in order to attract a wide readership, he also needs to demonstrate the sort of self-awareness that leads to interesting insights. This is lacking here, resulting in a collection that is more troubling than illuminating.
Also available as an ebook.