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This title in other editions

Carter Beats the Devil

by

Carter Beats the Devil Cover

 

Awards

A New York Times Notable Book for 2001

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Glen David Gold's literary debut dazzled critics and fans from coast to coast. Now Carter's center stage for a spectacular paperback...

The response to Glen David Gold's debut novel, Carter Beats the Devil was extraordinary. He hypnotized us with his portrait of a 1920s magic-obsessed America and of Charles Carter — a.k.a. Carter the Great — a young master performer whose skill as an illusionist exceeded even that of the great Houdini.

Filled with historical references that evoke the excesses and exuberance of Roaring 20's pre-Depression America, Carter Beats the Devil is a complex and illuminating story of one man's journey through a magical — and sometimes dangerous — world, where illusion is everything.

Review:

"While Carter Beats the Devil is not a brilliantly written book, it does accomplish something rare (and something few contemporary novelists even try): It creates its own world. Indeed, Gold's material is utterly irresistible — flappers, bootleggers, Secret Service goons, beautiful magician's assistants, icky mobsters — and it's impossible not to be engrossed." Adrienne Miller, Esquire (read the entire Esquire review)

Review:

"An enormously assured first novel." The New York Times

Review:

"Like the best magicians, Gold puts on an amazing show, distracting his readers at critical moments and delighting them when surprises are revealed. A brilliant first novel from a promising new author." Gavin Quinn, Booklist (starred review)

Review:

"[T]oo often Gold lets his research become his tale...storytelling and character development grind to a halt under the weight of all that imparted knowledge....A wildly ambitious performance from a first-novelist who has all the tricks in his bag — but just doesn't know how to use them yet." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"[T]horoughly entertaining...a fanciful pastiche of history, fantasy and romance....As it unfolds as both mystery and historical romance, readers, long before the denouement, will be torn between the pull of the suspense and wanting the epic to go on forever." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"Serves up sparkling vignettes...in droves, and in the end Glen David Gold makes good on the promise of his title." Washington Post Book World

Review:

"[A] marvelous work that portrays a performer and an era with a sense of wonder and mystery....An absorbing first novel, Carter Beats the Devil is a wondrous work. From its bravura beginning to its riveting climax, Gold's novel defies the reader to perform the trick of putting the book down." Gregory Harris, BookPage

Review:

"[A] walloping, exuberant read...[that] deserves to pivot its author...to some sort of fame....Like Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, which mined similar territory, Carter Beats the Devil is a single-read wonder, closer in tone to an intellectualized Indiana Jones adventure, but far more satisfying." Marc Savlov, The Austin Chronicle

Review:

"[A]s fascinating — and also as frustrating — as a conjurer's act....[T]here's not much of substance for the reader to start with....Gold redeems himself in the subsequent chapters of this often elegantly written book. He spins a fascinating story....Genuine interest and concern for the compelling Carter kept me turning the pages, even when my patience with the convoluted plot flagged....At the heart of this elaborate literary performance, the magic is there." Karen G. Anderson, January Magazine

Review:

"[R]emarkable...by turns tender, suspenseful and thoughtful, at once sprawling and taut....Gold has a gift for drawing the reader so deeply into the world he both documents and creates that the twists and turns of the plot are a complete surprise." Donna Scanlon, Rambles

Review:

"[S]howy, suspenseful, dazzlingly theatrical....[T]he plot strands that are introduced at midpoint lead directly to an Act 3 that's so tense and breathless that even the unsurprising nature of Harding's big secret, finally revealed, can't take the kick out of Carter's grandest theatrical event. This is the magic show of one's dreams, described by Gold in language that will surely enthrall even the most casual reader." John Hartl, The Seattle Times

Review:

"Here is a book — a first novel, no less — to blow you away. It seeks to stun and amaze and deceive and, always, to entertain; and it seldom misses a trick....Sometimes Gold seems to have wandered too far from any possible relevance, to be simply enjoying himself. But it's impossible, at the end, to carp. This is the most exuberant stew of a novel: strange, tasty, addictive." Peter Preston, The Guardian (U.K.)

Review:

"[D]elightful....Gold weaves the rich history of this period through his own stagecraft, creating a novel worthy of the hype that announced those great Vaudeville magicians....In a book full of conjurers, Gold emerges as the best magician of all, pulling surprises out of his hat throughout this wildly entertaining story, which captures America in a moment of change and wonder." Ron Charles, The Christian Science Monitor

Review:

"Audacious debut novel." Elle Magazine

Review:

"Here's excellent magic: the hours vanish, the pages turn themselves." Jonathan Franzen, author of The Corrections

Review:

"In his first novel, Glen David Gold gives a top-hat-and-tails performance worthy of a veteran trouper. Carter Beats the Devil is a novel-novel, the way The Thief of Baghdad, say, is a movie-movie. It is all the things a good novel has always been expected to be: suspenseful, compendious, moving, and persuasive. It transports you to another world, and the returns you to this one with a new way of looking at familiar things. I began it with a sense of regret that the faster I turned the pages the sooner I would be obliged to exit the enchanting world that Mr. Gold has devised for us." Michael Chabon, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

Review:

"Settle into your chair, get comfortable and prepare for an absolutely marvelous journey into magic and illusion. You hold in your hands the thick velvet curtains and the stage is waiting: open up! What a lucky reader you are, with all of Gold?s world of wonder waiting right here in your fingertips..." Aimee Bender, author of An Invisible Sign of My Own

Review:

"I've been a practicing magician for over forty years and Glen Gold has completely baffled me. His historically based novel, Carter Beats the Devil, is layered with accurate descriptions of strange-looking apparatuses, the distinct language used by magicians, and with eccentric personalities that existed only during the heyday of vaudeville. It was a secret world that, by necessity, was closed to outsiders, and yet Gold's relentless research has allowed him to slowly untangle his tale of murder and intrigue in an environment that so accurately re-creates the Golden Age of Magic that one sometimes forgets that this story is simply a product of Glen Gold's devious mind." Mike Caveney, biographer of Carter the Great

Review:

"Carter Beats the Devil is an absorbing mystery, full of magic, romance, and history and populated with fascinating characters, both real and imagined, from the great Houdini, to a doomed President Harding, to the villainous Mysterioso. Glen David Gold is a first-rate storyteller, with his own hoard of magician's tricks." Kevin Baker, author of Dreamland

Review:

"Gold has conjured one dead president, one blood-sucking dog, a ship full of pirates, and a cabal of Secret Service agents. it all makes for a wild and heartstopping show. Beautifully written, packed with fun, scares, and surprises. And magic in every word." Karen Joy Fowler, author of Sarah Canary and Sister Noon

About the Author

Glen David Gold received his MFA for creative writing at the University of California at Irvine and has written for newspapers, film, and television. He currently lives in Los Angeles.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

darkkat, January 1, 2010 (view all comments by darkkat)
An essential read in the first decade of the the 21st century. An elegant novel that brought the early years of the 20th century alive with magic in both subject, content, and style. A book about magic that in fact is magic.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
caladonialove, January 10, 2007 (view all comments by caladonialove)
If you like historical fiction, you'll enjoy this book. The prose is nicely-done, and the story is worthwhile. Maybe the most engaging thing about the novel is the way the reader is invited behind the scenes, both of the magic shows and the main character's psyche.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(14 of 28 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 2 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780786886326
Author:
Gold, Glen David
Publisher:
Hyperion
Author:
Gold, Glen
Subject:
General
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Presidents
Subject:
Mystery & Detective - Historical
Subject:
Historical fiction
Subject:
Magicians
Subject:
Mystery fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Suspense
Subject:
Historical
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st paperback ed.
Edition Description:
TradePB
Publication Date:
September 2002
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
from 8 up to 17
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
496
Dimensions:
8 x 5.1875 in 19.2 oz
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » Literature
Featured Titles » Miscellaneous Award Winners
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » Historical
History and Social Science » American Studies » Popular Culture

Carter Beats the Devil Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$8.95 In Stock
Product details 496 pages Hyperion Books - English 9780786886326 Reviews:
"Review" by , "While Carter Beats the Devil is not a brilliantly written book, it does accomplish something rare (and something few contemporary novelists even try): It creates its own world. Indeed, Gold's material is utterly irresistible — flappers, bootleggers, Secret Service goons, beautiful magician's assistants, icky mobsters — and it's impossible not to be engrossed." (read the entire Esquire review)
"Review" by , "An enormously assured first novel."
"Review" by , "Like the best magicians, Gold puts on an amazing show, distracting his readers at critical moments and delighting them when surprises are revealed. A brilliant first novel from a promising new author."
"Review" by , "[T]oo often Gold lets his research become his tale...storytelling and character development grind to a halt under the weight of all that imparted knowledge....A wildly ambitious performance from a first-novelist who has all the tricks in his bag — but just doesn't know how to use them yet."
"Review" by , "[T]horoughly entertaining...a fanciful pastiche of history, fantasy and romance....As it unfolds as both mystery and historical romance, readers, long before the denouement, will be torn between the pull of the suspense and wanting the epic to go on forever."
"Review" by , "Serves up sparkling vignettes...in droves, and in the end Glen David Gold makes good on the promise of his title."
"Review" by , "[A] marvelous work that portrays a performer and an era with a sense of wonder and mystery....An absorbing first novel, Carter Beats the Devil is a wondrous work. From its bravura beginning to its riveting climax, Gold's novel defies the reader to perform the trick of putting the book down."
"Review" by , "[A] walloping, exuberant read...[that] deserves to pivot its author...to some sort of fame....Like Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, which mined similar territory, Carter Beats the Devil is a single-read wonder, closer in tone to an intellectualized Indiana Jones adventure, but far more satisfying."
"Review" by , "[A]s fascinating — and also as frustrating — as a conjurer's act....[T]here's not much of substance for the reader to start with....Gold redeems himself in the subsequent chapters of this often elegantly written book. He spins a fascinating story....Genuine interest and concern for the compelling Carter kept me turning the pages, even when my patience with the convoluted plot flagged....At the heart of this elaborate literary performance, the magic is there."
"Review" by , "[R]emarkable...by turns tender, suspenseful and thoughtful, at once sprawling and taut....Gold has a gift for drawing the reader so deeply into the world he both documents and creates that the twists and turns of the plot are a complete surprise."
"Review" by , "[S]howy, suspenseful, dazzlingly theatrical....[T]he plot strands that are introduced at midpoint lead directly to an Act 3 that's so tense and breathless that even the unsurprising nature of Harding's big secret, finally revealed, can't take the kick out of Carter's grandest theatrical event. This is the magic show of one's dreams, described by Gold in language that will surely enthrall even the most casual reader."
"Review" by , "Here is a book — a first novel, no less — to blow you away. It seeks to stun and amaze and deceive and, always, to entertain; and it seldom misses a trick....Sometimes Gold seems to have wandered too far from any possible relevance, to be simply enjoying himself. But it's impossible, at the end, to carp. This is the most exuberant stew of a novel: strange, tasty, addictive."
"Review" by , "[D]elightful....Gold weaves the rich history of this period through his own stagecraft, creating a novel worthy of the hype that announced those great Vaudeville magicians....In a book full of conjurers, Gold emerges as the best magician of all, pulling surprises out of his hat throughout this wildly entertaining story, which captures America in a moment of change and wonder."
"Review" by , "Audacious debut novel."
"Review" by , "Here's excellent magic: the hours vanish, the pages turn themselves."
"Review" by , "In his first novel, Glen David Gold gives a top-hat-and-tails performance worthy of a veteran trouper. Carter Beats the Devil is a novel-novel, the way The Thief of Baghdad, say, is a movie-movie. It is all the things a good novel has always been expected to be: suspenseful, compendious, moving, and persuasive. It transports you to another world, and the returns you to this one with a new way of looking at familiar things. I began it with a sense of regret that the faster I turned the pages the sooner I would be obliged to exit the enchanting world that Mr. Gold has devised for us."
"Review" by , "Settle into your chair, get comfortable and prepare for an absolutely marvelous journey into magic and illusion. You hold in your hands the thick velvet curtains and the stage is waiting: open up! What a lucky reader you are, with all of Gold?s world of wonder waiting right here in your fingertips..."
"Review" by , "I've been a practicing magician for over forty years and Glen Gold has completely baffled me. His historically based novel, Carter Beats the Devil, is layered with accurate descriptions of strange-looking apparatuses, the distinct language used by magicians, and with eccentric personalities that existed only during the heyday of vaudeville. It was a secret world that, by necessity, was closed to outsiders, and yet Gold's relentless research has allowed him to slowly untangle his tale of murder and intrigue in an environment that so accurately re-creates the Golden Age of Magic that one sometimes forgets that this story is simply a product of Glen Gold's devious mind."
"Review" by , "Carter Beats the Devil is an absorbing mystery, full of magic, romance, and history and populated with fascinating characters, both real and imagined, from the great Houdini, to a doomed President Harding, to the villainous Mysterioso. Glen David Gold is a first-rate storyteller, with his own hoard of magician's tricks."
"Review" by , "Gold has conjured one dead president, one blood-sucking dog, a ship full of pirates, and a cabal of Secret Service agents. it all makes for a wild and heartstopping show. Beautifully written, packed with fun, scares, and surprises. And magic in every word."
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