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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Not very magical, still... » » Favorite Novel about magic or a magician? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Sean Macfarlane
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Hi guys,

I get this from time to time from people when I am working or they find out I am a magician. They ask me if I read a certain book. "The amazing adventures of Kavalier & Clay" has been mentioned to me about 5 times. I still haven't read it but I should as I have heard it mentioned so many times and it has a positive effect on people.

Not too long ago another guy told me to read "Veronica" by Nicholas Christopher and "Millroy the Magician" by Paul Theroux. I just ordered them so will be reading them soon.

It would be good to read a good novel and see how the writers portray the magicians and see how they weave the atmosphere around their lives. Might be good to read something other than a technical how to magic book once in while too...eh!

Another book not really magic related but interesting none the less is called "The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci" which is story about an Italian Jesuit Monk who went to China in 1583 to convert the Chinese and used mnemonics to impress the emperor. He taught his system to many people there. Its more of a historical book but fascinating how he used a memory system to win the crowd!

Anyhow, what books to people recommend you to read when they find out your a magician?

Sean
kcg5
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I feel as though I need to mention "carter beats the devil" One of my more movie fan friends has asked if I have any of the Ricky Jay stuff, although he has no idea of how hard it is to get one..
Nobody expects the spanish inquisition!!!!!



"History will be kind to me, as I intend to write it"- Sir Winston Churchill
Vlad_77
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Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. This is dark and wonderful; magic and magick converge.

I am also told that the novel version of The Prestige is EXCELLENT

A classic is of course William Goldman's novel Magic.

Namaste,
Vlad
muse
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'The Invention of Hugo Cabret' by Brian Selznick.

I got it for my son, and we both love it. The story is mysterious and wonderful, and the drawings are superb.
Mary Mowder
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King of the Conjurers, Memoirs of Robert Houdin.

I read it After I was into Magic but before I was a Magician.

It's a great read and really fun historically speaking.

- Mary Mowder
pepka
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Another vote for Carter Beats the Devil. And Vlad is correct, while The Prestige was a good movie, it is FAR better as a novel. Although the ending is a bit confusing. (At least it was to me.)
bottlemaster
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And ANOTHER vote for Carter Beats the Devil. Absolutely thrilling stuff.
www.impossiblebottle.co.uk

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Eric Johnson
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Shadowland by Peter Straub
bishthemagish
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The great Balsamo and the War Magician.

Cheers!
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Publisher of Glenn Bishop's Ace Cutting And Block Transfer Triumphs
todsky
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The Man Who Was Magic, by Paul Gallico.
Todsky's Magic Shop: over 15,000 tricks, books, DVD s and Card decks. www.magicstore.ca
cardking
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The Spirit Cabinet by Paul Quarrington
The outrageous and competitive world of Las Vegas magicians is the backdrop for Canadian literary legend Paul Quarrington's novel The Spirit Cabinet, which centres on a mysterious collection of Harry Houdini's old books and props. At the collection's auction, we're introduced to Rudolfo, a hairless, muscle-bound showman whose flamboyant act, with his partner Jurgen, features garish costumes and exotic live animals (sound familiar?). Jurgen is the magician of the pair, a man whose "skull was square and all of his features oddly rectangular, as though he'd been designed by an architect." Among the other magicians in attendance are Kaz, a bitter egomaniac, and Preston the Adequate, son of the legendary Preston the Magnificent.
Jurgen successfully outbids Kaz for the collection, including the enigmatic Davenport Spirit Cabinet, and slowly falls under its spell. Jurgen's and Rudolfo's act becomes increasingly odd, causing people to wonder if their performance is mere illusion or something more supernatural. The novel throws time away, skipping between the past, present, and future. We follow Jurgen's and Rudolfo's troubled childhoods, their bizarre and shadowy beginnings in show business, and their unlikely ascent to Vegas superstardom. The Spirit Cabinet is a backstage pass into the world of magic, revealing not so much the tricks as the trickery, and the best part is you're laughing with every step. Quarrington is perhaps Canada's finest comic novelist and certainly the most consistently entertaining.
todsky
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Speaking of Canadians, we mustn't forget the classic Deptford Trilogy by Robertson Davies, especially the third installment 'World of Wonders', starring Magnus Eisengrim.
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escherwolf
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I recently read the Australian novel "Houdini's Flight", about an aspiring magician that is told the story of Houdini's flight in Australia by his mentor - the two eventually try to recreate the flight as a homage. It's quite good.
gdw
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Quote:
On 2010-08-25 14:19, Vlad_77 wrote:
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. This is dark and wonderful; magic and magick converge.

I am also told that the novel version of The Prestige is EXCELLENT

A classic is of course William Goldman's novel Magic.

Namaste,
Vlad


I was a fan of the book, though I was pleased to see the modern elemnts dropped for the film, which was also excellent.
It's amazing, people will criticize you for "biting the hand that feeds you," while they're busy praising the hand that beats them.

"You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one."

I won't forget you Robert.
Ben Train
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Quote:
On 2010-08-25 16:19, cardking wrote:
The Spirit Cabinet by Paul Quarrington
The outrageous and competitive world of Las Vegas magicians is the backdrop for Canadian literary legend Paul Quarrington's novel The Spirit Cabinet, which centres on a mysterious collection of Harry Houdini's old books and props. At the collection's auction, we're introduced to Rudolfo, a hairless, muscle-bound showman whose flamboyant act, with his partner Jurgen, features garish costumes and exotic live animals (sound familiar?). Jurgen is the magician of the pair, a man whose "skull was square and all of his features oddly rectangular, as though he'd been designed by an architect." Among the other magicians in attendance are Kaz, a bitter egomaniac, and Preston the Adequate, son of the legendary Preston the Magnificent.
Jurgen successfully outbids Kaz for the collection, including the enigmatic Davenport Spirit Cabinet, and slowly falls under its spell. Jurgen's and Rudolfo's act becomes increasingly odd, causing people to wonder if their performance is mere illusion or something more supernatural. The novel throws time away, skipping between the past, present, and future. We follow Jurgen's and Rudolfo's troubled childhoods, their bizarre and shadowy beginnings in show business, and their unlikely ascent to Vegas superstardom. The Spirit Cabinet is a backstage pass into the world of magic, revealing not so much the tricks as the trickery, and the best part is you're laughing with every step. Quarrington is perhaps Canada's finest comic novelist and certainly the most consistently entertaining.


Was just about to suggest this book. It was wonderfully written, enjoyed by everyone in my family, and changed the way we all look at magic (and magicians).
If you're reading this you're my favourite magician.

Check out www.TorontoMagicCompany.com for all sorts of FREE VIRTUAL PROGRAMMING for magicians!
slim23
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I really liked THE GIRL WITH THE LONG GREEN HEART also republished under the name Lucky at cards by Lawrence Block. It's the sotry of an ex-magician that becomes a cardsharp and gets in trouble in a small town. Lovethe reference of subway deal and all that stuff.
Old novel written as a kind of pulp. Nice!

Slim
T. Joseph O'Malley
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I too enjoyed the Quarrington book, as well as many of his others. Sadly, he passed away during the past year. He was one of my favourite authors.

Jeffrey Deaver has a book called "The Vanished Man" that has an illusionist as the villain.
tjo'
Ben Train
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Quote:
On 2010-08-25 21:15, T. Joseph O'Malley wrote:
I too enjoyed the Quarrington book, as well as many of his others. Sadly, he passed away during the past year. He was one of my favourite authors.

Jeffrey Deaver has a book called "The Vanished Man" that has an illusionist as the villain.


Oh my gosh- I didn't realize he'd passed away. I met him for the first time not to long ago (I think at Ricky Jay's show) and he was a wonderful person. He will be missed.

Ben
If you're reading this you're my favourite magician.

Check out www.TorontoMagicCompany.com for all sorts of FREE VIRTUAL PROGRAMMING for magicians!
Leo-Kim
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"Lost Empire" (1965) by J.B. Priestley;

A story of a young man, Richard Herncastle who leaves his bookkeeping job to join his uncle Nick alias Gunga Dun (sic) the great indian conjurer as his assistant.

It takes place during the heyday of the english variety scene just before WW1.

It's been many years since I read it so I don't recall much of the plot but I remember that Uncle Nick used magic to help someone escape from the police on one occasion.

The swedish title is "Kärlek och Trolleri" (Love and magic).

Mikael Johansson
Sweden
If it's worth doing, it's worth doing well
Sean Macfarlane
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Wow, nice suggestions! I got my work cut out for me now. Thanks for the replies guys!...and girls!

Sean
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