Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Review: The Prestige

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!

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