Why did I assume I would dislike The Prestige? There were several reasons:
- It is about magicians, a class of entertainers I tolerate only slightly better than mimes or clowns.
- It is set during a period of time I am bored with, no matter how enduringly popular in novels – the Civil War through World War I.
- I had already seen the movie, and I dislike reading a book when I already know what the story, especially a story with big secrets like this one.
- I really do not like speculative fiction in any of its broad forms – fantasy, paranormal, or science-fiction.
But I read it anyway because it won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and I am working my way diligently through that list. I am so glad I did!
Christopher Priest's novel is the story of two rival magicians at the turn of the 20th Century, vying to outdo each other in an illusion featuring a disappearing man. Both have secrets that follow them to the grave – and beyond – that are only revealed when their grandchildren meet up decades later.
Because Priest is such a first class storyteller, he created a drama that is entirely believable – no matter how scientifically farfetched – and mesmerizing, even for readers who know the secrets from the movie. I was completely entranced.
Even though The Prestige runs contrary to many of my book prejudices, it could end up as my favorite book of 2013 – pretty big words, considering it is only January.
If you would like your review of this book listed here, please leave a comment with a link and I will add it.
The Prestige counts as my second Black winner for the 2012 Battle of the Prizes, British Version, which runs through January 31, 2013. I have now finished that challenge. Whew!