Michael Jung, November 5, 2011 (view all comments by Michael Jung)
I read this book after seeing the movie version -- so I was pleasantly surprised to find that there were sufficient differences between the film and the book for me to still be surprised several times during my reading.
The basic plot is the same -- rival magicians Angier and Borden begin a feud in the late 1800s that causes each illusionist to perform increasingly dangerous stunts to discredit and one-up the other -- until one goes too far.
Unlike the movie, however, which concentrated exclusively on the feud, the book shows how the magicians' actions had tragic consequences for their descendants, as the story is told through a frame narrative set in modern times. What these great-grandchildren learn about their past is just as (if not more) disturbing as the grotesque revelation at the end of Nolan's film version and says a lot about how old sins continue to punish future generations.
Tara McDaniel, January 25, 2010 (view all comments by Tara McDaniel)
Forget the movie. Read the book instead! It's gothic and emerging modern science put together. Loved the narrative strands, the old time magic, the portals and seances and card trickery. There's some trickery in the narrative, too. I was totally surprised (and delighted) at the end. The story will keep you guessing.
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Tor Books -
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Remarkably akin to the style of the late Robertson Davies...Priest has brought it off with great imagination and skill." Publishers Weekly
by San Francisco Chronicle,
"Hypnotic....The Prestige provides the satisfaction of an ambitious and well-told entertainment."
by Entertainment Weekly,
"Extraordinary...like a dazzling magic act!"
by Time Out London,
"Just as a magic act should be: filled with haunting marvels."
by The Sunday Times,
"Nothing quite prepares you for the sinister complexity and imaginative flair off The Prestige....Magnificently eerie."
by New Scientist,
"Beautifully written....Priest masters the merging of SF and mainstream, and The Prestige is his finest novel to date."
by Kirkus Reviews,
"A taut, twisting, prize-winning story....An unexpectedly compelling fusion of weird science and legerdemain."
"As ingenious as it is suspenseful."
by Gahan Wilson, Realms of Fantasy,
"[A] marvelously scary entertainment with one of the creepiest final revelations in recent years. Don't miss the magic show!"
by John Fowles,
"One of our most gifted writers."
by Entertainment Weekly,
"Extraordinary — like a dazzling magic act!"
by The Washington Post,
"A dizzying show of a novel....Imagine Possession rewritten by Barbara Vine....A brilliantly constructed entertainment!"
The winner of the 1995 World Fantasy Award
From one of the U.K.s most dazzling authors comes a brutal and funny novel about a pair of fraudulent psychic mediums that is itself an elaborate con game between fact and fiction, life and death—a book as verbally acrobatic as it is emotionally intense.
From one of the U.K.s most dazzling novelists—whom Richard Ford has called “a profound writer”—comes this daring new novel set in the unsteady, self-contained world of a luxury liner.
While on a transatlantic trip with her soon-to-be-fiancé Derek, Elizabeth unexpectedly runs into ex-lover Arthur, with whom she shares a shady past: The pair once worked as traveling spiritual mediums who conned the vulnerable by pretending to contact the spirits of departed loved ones. While Derek remains seasick and cabin-bound, Elizabeth wanders the ship, alternately avoiding and seeking out Arthur. Unable to avoid memories of their fractured past, she must face the deception they practiced even as she accepts the peace they brought to the grief-stricken who sought their services.
Intimately addressed to “you,” the reader, The Blue Book is both a portrait of two methodical con artists and a meditation on “how love is a private language, a set of codes, to which the outside world ought not admit impediment” (Telegraph). Irresistibly written, by turns comically wry and stunningly lyrical, with “some of the most unashamedly erotic writing since Nicholson Baker first contemplated a telephone receiver” (New Statesman), the book slowly, deliberately, and devastatingly reveals itself to the reader. The heartbreaking stakes are ultimately nothing less than fact and fiction, life and death.
In 1878, two young stage magicians clash in the dark during the course of a fraudulent séance. From this moment on, their lives become webs of deceit and revelation as they vie to outwit and expose one another.
Their rivalry will take them to the peaks of their careers, but with terrible consequences. In the course of pursuing each other's ruin, they will deploy all the deception their magicians' craft can command--the highest misdirection and the darkest science.
Blood will be spilled, but it will not be enough. In the end, their legacy will pass on for generations...to descendants who must, for their sanity's sake, untangle the puzzle left to them.
Soon to be a major motion picture starring HUGH JACKMAN, SCARLETT JOHANSSON, CHRISTIAN BALE, DAVID BOWIE, MICHAEL CAINE, ANDY SERKIS and directed by CHRISTOPHER NOLAN!
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.