Friday, March 31, 2017

Book Review: Magic

Years ago I picked up the novel Magic by William Goldman for two simple reasons: 1) I'm a big fan of his films (Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid, All the President's Men, The Princess Bride, Marathon Man, etc.), and 2) I can never say no to a well received horror or thriller novel.

The story follows a young magician named Corky Withers who just can't seem to catch a break (Hey! I just got the pun on his name :) ) He's a technical pro at card-based illusion, but for some reason his audience presence is just no good; his patter isn't up to snuff, and his discomfort at the showmanship aspect of magic shines through much brighter than his skill set.

Just as he's about to give it up, he figures out a pretty creative new angle, and things start to look up for him.

Or do they?

First of all, what I really like about the book is how well it plays with expectations; everything from the narrative voice to the the shifting of time from past to present and future, really work as analogue for how a well-done card trick works. Just as you begin to piece together what's going on, the story shifts and you realize the author has just been distracting you.

A really fun read, and as I have never seen it, an excellent excuse to someday check out the 1978 film adaption starring Anthony Hopkins and Ann-Margret.

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