Thursday, 7 August 2014

The Confabulist - Steven Galloway

How much of our lives is real and how much is an illusion? 

The world's gaze is focussed on the feats and daring of the amazing Harry Houdini, while not a soul is aware of down-and-out Martin Strauss. However, Strauss' fate is inextricably linked with the magician's, and as Houdini continues to rise, and Strauss continues to fall, their lives will converge in spectacular and devastating fashion... 

At once entertaining and suspenseful, historically rich and cleverly told, The Confabulist is an novel of magic and memory, truth and illusion, and the ways that love, hope, grief, and imagination can - for better or for worse - alter what we perceive and what we believe.

My thoughts:
While reading this book I realised that I do not know anything about Harry Houdini, except for that for what he was famous for of course. But fact and fiction goes into each other here. Just as the narrator does not really know fact from fiction either. He has memories that are not real, and memories that are.

This book is then about Harry Houdini and how he became the most famous performer in the world. From his humble beginnings to performing for royalty. Other than royalty he meets detectives from Scotland Yard, Arthur Conan Doyle and spiritualists. He may perform "magic" but he does not like those who pray on those who do not know better.

The other POV is of Martin Strauss, the man who killed Houdini twice. It all comes through flashback as he is visiting a doctor. He wonders about his fake memories, and about  the woman Alice who has come to him for answers.

Conclusion:
I still wonder about what is really true, and what is not. I had to go check myths and theories about Houdini. But it was also interesting to learn more about those tricks. They seem so real, I know they are fake, but still, well that is magic of it after all.

If I am to compare it to his other novel, The Cellist of Sarajevo, then I did like that one better because it was hauntingly beautiful.

Cover
eh

Paperback, 320 pages
Published August 7th 2014 by Atlantic Books
Historical fiction
For review


41 comments:

  1. This sounds fun. I find Houdini fascinating, or at least the fictionalized versions of him I've run across. I think most of what I've read about him has been in novels, though, rather than non-fiction.

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    1. He was a mysterious man for sure :)

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  2. This sounds interesting. I don't know much about Houdini either except the famous stuff.

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  3. I was fascinated by Houdini as a kid...

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  4. I recently read a book about a girl that was supposedly HH's daughter, and I realized that I know very little about him as well. It's a shame, really.

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    1. Oh yes I know the book you are talking about. I have seen it around

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  5. I read the same book that Maja did and I realized that I don't know much about Houdini. I think he was a fascinating man and I would like to check this out.

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    1. It seems no one knows anything about him, huh

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  6. Intriguing!! I'm just as curious about Strauss' character and how he killed Houdini twice.

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  7. I know nothing about Houdini and this sounds fascinating! I'm interested to read the Cellist of Sarajevo too. Lovely review!

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    1. Read Cellist, it was scary and beautiful

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  8. This sounds really awesome, there should be more historical fiction/fantasy about magicians and illusionists, etc.

    ~Mogsy

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  9. This sounds fascinating to me!

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  10. This sounds interesting and I want to sort out fact from fiction :)

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  11. Woah this seems interesting. Not sure it's my genre but it's definitely intriguing. :)

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  12. You're right, I also know about him in general but it must be really interesting to really learn more about his life.

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  13. Oh how neat. I don't think I've ever actually thought about him. lol That blend of fact and fiction can be a bit mind trippy.

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    1. It was, I am still not sure what is what, lol

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  14. I honestly don't know much about Houdini either other than he was a master at getting out of impossible situations. Sounds like a fascinating read:)

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    1. No one knows anything..huh, man of mystery

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  15. I don't know a lot about Houdini either. It would be interesting to learn some more!

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  16. This sounds interesting. I really don't know much about Harry Houdini.

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  17. This definitely sounds interesting. I've always thought Harry Houdini was a pretty cool guy ;)

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  18. Not my genre at all, but sounds intriguing nonetheless.

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  19. ooooooooooooooh sounds pretty good!

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  20. I've had The Cellist of Sarajevo sitting on my bookshelf for years. think I'll read it first lol

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  21. I've had The Cellist of Sarajevo sitting on my bookshelf for years. think I'll read it first lol

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