The Prestige is a novel by British writer Christopher Priest. The novel tells the story of a . The Prestige is both disturbing and exhilarating – one closes the book shaken, wondering how it was done; and eager to see what the master. The Prestige book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. In , two young stage magicians clash in the dark during the cou. The Prestige [Christopher Priest] on noititsojunchawk.gq The Prestige (Valancourt 20th Century Classics) and millions of other books are available for instant.
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Editorial Reviews. noititsojunchawk.gq Review. The Washington Post called this "a dizzying magic Similar books to The Prestige (Valancourt 20th Century Classics). Christopher Priest's The Prestige has the patter to go with the trick, says Alex Clark. Christopher Priest's last-but-two novel, The Prestige [ review by Dave Langford ], is not a bad book. But it's a book that won a World Fantasy Award, and the.
Big screen well, in this case, the small screen on the back of a plane seat is terrific but ephemeral, whereas with a book I have time for distractions, cogitation, re-reading and checking things on the net! You might argue that I can fiddle with 'Pause', 'Rewind', 'Forward' and several ite I saw the movie on the plane where else and was frantic to surf the 'net to find out more about it when we landed.
You might argue that I can fiddle with 'Pause', 'Rewind', 'Forward' and several iterations later 'Play', but this tends to have the undesirable effect of tossing me out of my utterly physiological entrapment within the film. The beauty of a book is that it is really all in my head! And that's what I would like to discuss here. Chris Nolan's treatment of the book was brilliant, precisely because of the medium; fast-paced, fore-shadowing, and with a judicious and welcome lack of gratuitous violence and special effects.
But it doesn't do justice to the subject matter that Chris Priest wanted to, and effectively did, explore. Priest's book is a marvel no less worthy precisely because it is a book! The book is written in three parts, each part representing one of the three elements of a magic act, and each part cleverly reflects the nature of the element it represents bear that in mind when reading nay-sayers who think the opening setting is irrelevant.
Nolan did condense parts of the book and the condensation works perfectly in a movie. Priest's original material is able to play with the nature of a magic act in a way Nolan could not, because of the shortening required for a screenplay. Nolan made an emotional grab for the guts with the motivation he set up for the characters - and that is also a function of the medium.
A film doesn't have the luxury of time that a book does. Priest's book, on the other hand, delves much more in the psychology of its protagonists without a quickly discernible and emotionally acceptable cause-and-effect providing the basis for the competition between the two magicians.
The book's haunting ending achieves a level of ambiguity the movie fails to translate and Nolan is known for his lack of black-and-white, cut-and-dried endings.
Images from the film still sit with me, but scenes from the book that I have imagined myself resonate far longer, and with far many more questions.
I think it is probably better at this point to recommend reading the book keeping in mind that it is a book and the film is a successful adaptation than saying anything else, because even if you have seen the movie, the book is sufficiently different that I would have to start on the path to spoilerdom.
And this is a novel which deserves the innocence of an audience waiting in anticipation for the curtain to rise. View all 12 comments. Actual Rating: View all 4 comments. Oct 16, Harold rated it it was amazing Shelves: Loved it. Certain subjects, in this case stage magic, hold a lot of appeal for me and a good book about those subjects is going to be well received by me. I loved the movie also, but this book is quite different in a lot of ways.
BTW — I recall reading somewhere around the time that the movie came out that the term prestige , in the sense that it is used here Loved it. BTW — I recall reading somewhere around the time that the movie came out that the term prestige , in the sense that it is used here, was coined by Christopher Priest in this novel.
View all 6 comments. Dec 04, Eh? I prefer the movie, but I'm not sure if that's because I saw it first or because it condensed the confusion down to a lean story of obsession and one-upmanship.
My reading was heavily influenced by knowing the major spoilers. Should've read the book first. Dammit, what is with the Monday morning over-the-shoulder snoopers? Gotta make this fast. Unreliable narrators, stupid feuds with real consequences that made them impossible to let go, destroying your own life through choices.
Each man had a ch I prefer the movie, but I'm not sure if that's because I saw it first or because it condensed the confusion down to a lean story of obsession and one-upmanship.
Each man had a chance at normal family life and ended up following their lust at some point. Each man wrote of wanting to give up the feud, of trying to reach out to the other and being rebuffed. Each man clearly tailored their record of incidents. What really happened? Probably something in between. And at the end I don't understand the purpose of the cult that started out the story, except it maybe implied, well, spoiler.
View all 13 comments. I saw this movie years ago. Still love it. Top ten all-time favorites list. And I didn't know it was based on a book until a few years ago, but it automatically went on my TBR.
Because it was going to be just as amazing. Needless to say, it's difficult for me to extricate one from the other here. It's also difficult for me to explain the book to anyone who hasn't read it, because I'm next-to-positive most of us have seen the movie if not, you may want to pick up the book first in this I saw this movie years ago. It's also difficult for me to explain the book to anyone who hasn't read it, because I'm next-to-positive most of us have seen the movie if not, you may want to pick up the book first in this instance.
I can say the book is mostly written in epistolary format and, comparatively, the twists aren't necessarily the same. PS the audio is wonderful if you're an audiobook person. I'm off to rewatch the glorious ambiguity that is the Christopher Nolan movie and see if I can't pick up more connections now that I've read this lovely beast. Dec 03, Sarah rated it really liked it Shelves: Well holy freaking hell, that was seriously intense.
I actually watched the movie to this back in or , and while I thought I remembered everything, either I didn't, or not everything from the book made it into the movie.
Based on my memory of the movie I thought it was really odd that it won the World Fantasy Award.
This is not a problem I'm having now! It was strange, intriguing, and highly suspenseful. I need to go calm down now. If one has a Reading Challenge with the category "serious grudge or vengeful competition", then this is the book. I hate to say this, and friends don't beat me, but this is one of those few instances when I enjoyed the movie so much more than the book.
I couldn't develop the right amount of interest in the game these men were playing with each other and the hate they felt for each other simply because he each wanted to be the accomplished magician.
Each man had questionable habits and put himself If one has a Reading Challenge with the category "serious grudge or vengeful competition", then this is the book.
Each man had questionable habits and put himself and others in danger. The book mostly consists of journal recitations, but there are also events taking place during a current time period.
I think the movie did a better depiction of the rivalry. The stories solve a mystery the young man has wondered about all his life … but leaves readers with lots, lots more questions than answers. I was madly in love with this book for most of the first three quarters of the story. The modern framing was fascinating, as it sets up a very intriguing question about Andrew Westerly, born Nicholas Borden, that he has never been able to answer, and introduces Kate Angier, who appears to have the information he lacks.
But then … oh, then. This was a terribly jarring note for me, and a misstep from which the book never recovered. Plus the ending is very gothic, but far too open for my tastes. Five stars for most of this book, which kept me glued to the story and gave me a huge reading hangover. One star for that final quarter, which just went wrong.
Anyone who wants to see a masterful writer at work and who doesn't mind a bit of weirdness. Not recommended for: This book is quite simply a masterwork. From a slow beginning, it ratchets up the tension like an old-fashioned horror film, until it's truly thrilling. With relatively little in the way of overt psychological insight - particularly into Borden, one of the two main characters - it nonetheless constructs clear, sympathetic, underst Not recommended for: With relatively little in the way of overt psychological insight - particularly into Borden, one of the two main characters - it nonetheless constructs clear, sympathetic, understandable, totally human protagonists.
While clearly enthralled by its own concepts and conceits and determined to play around in the areas marked 'post-modern' and 'literary', it is at the same time able to stand proudly as a totally readable, even old-fashioned, almost Victorian, mystery-thriller. Not that much really happens by blockbuster standards, and huge sections of prose are descriptions of entirely visual things - but these set-piece descriptions are spectacular and vivid, and frankly more visually compelling than any cinematic interpretation could be.
Underpinning all this success is Priest's prose, which may not scream for attention every paragraph but which is nonetheless quietly brilliant - I'm tempted to say virtually perfect. Most of the novel is in the form of two diary extracts by different men, each giving their experiences of the same events - both of them are middle-aged, English, Victorian stage magicians, and yet Priest manages to convey two totally characters simply through fine distinctions in narrative voice, the personality of the two writers dripping from every word and every idiosyncracy of syntax.
This is a novel that should be taught in schools - not just because of the many, many themes and notions it introduces, but simply as an example of how to write. It's also got one of the biggest narrative twist-kicks I've ever seen - as in I read one particular line and suddenly needed to re-read the last thirty pages while saying 'woah You really won't be expecting it. And no, it's not one of the twists that makes it to the film. It's twistier than that.
That said, it's not perfect. I felt a little emotionally detached throughout, never quite completely involved, though I couldn't help myself turning the pages. The framing story isn't given enough attention, and feels weak compared to the two central narratives; the ending is by itself superb, but feels a bit unconnected to the rest of the story. Sometimes it feels that he should let himself go down a fascinating diversion, rather than force himself to hurry along with the plot.
There are some other minor quibbles I could make as well. But they really would be minor. It is, by the way, better than the still quite good film - it's deeper, it's cleverer, it's less simplistic, it's more exciting, less predictable, and it's more suffused with class and quality. However, don't come to this from the film assuming you'll love it - it's very different in tone, and with it's old-fashioned though more readable than genuine Victorian literature!
On the other hand, don't assume there's no point reading this if you've seen the film, as there's a lot more to this than there is to the film, and the film doesn't really spoil the book very much.
Dec 12, Becky rated it liked it Shelves: This book was not anything I expected. Though, I'm not really sure just what I expected, to be honest. I alternated between thinking that this story was going to be dry and boring, or over the top "magicky", or all fluffadelic like what I expect The Night Circus would be like if I could bring myself to read it.
I don't like circuses, or They just don't interest me, and I zone out and then when I next have a conscious thought, I have a string of drool inching its way down my face and realize I've misplaced 20 minutes of my life. Which is another thing that I thought would work against this one for me.
But surprisingly it didn't. I think that this one worked because of the realism. This wasn't "magic", this was "illusion". Illusion has rules, and relies on real life physics and ability, rather than just "Oh, I'm going to imagine something and then POOF! Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series works for me for that very reason among others - he's created a system of magic that not only makes sense, but has limitations and boundaries and laws.
Yes, creativity and imagination shape the outcome of such magic, but only in the desired effect. There are limitations to what can be done, and how, and there's a cost for it. If you want to use force, that force comes from somewhere that will suffer a lack until the balance is restored.
Nothing just appears from nothing. So, ramble aside, the fact that this was indeed NOT magic of the fantasy sense but rather magic of the stage illusionist sense allowed me to enjoy the story much more than I thought I would, despite the fact that many would probably feel that illusion is boring compared to magic. I didn't think so, though. I thought it was interesting and well written, though, admittedly some sections were dry and overly detailed for the little that was actually conveyed.
I enjoyed the feud between the two illusionists, and enjoyed seeing the events from both perspectives. When things started really getting interesting around the 2nd half, I was thrilled because things that had confused me in the 1st half were now starting to click and make sense.
I really enjoyed the inclusion of Nikola Tesla, and was happy to see him given the credit he deserved as a mothereffing genius. Because he was. The Oatmeal.
Read it. Anywho, the apparatus was No idea. I get confused subtracting double digit numbers Do I carry the one? Multiply by pi? Should I have all these extra parts? Why are these instructions all in Korean??! It's hopeless, really. I liked the mysteriousness of the story, but I would have liked a little more closure and definition at the end. But still, very good overall, and I quite enjoyed it, and Simon Vance's reading, which can sometimes be hit or miss for me.
View all 8 comments. Jul 17, SR rated it did not like it Shelves: Living tissue is not of the same order of problem. The structure is so much simpler than that of the elements.
I threw the book at a couch, and when it bounced and landed open I rescued it immediately. What the hell. And at the same time blithely saying that "energy and matter are but two manifestations of the same force" in mass-energy equivalence wa page And at the same time blithely saying that "energy and matter are but two manifestations of the same force" in mass-energy equivalence was first proposed in a paper by Einstein - NO.
Oh, what the hell was that. Sure, it's fiction, but the characters themselves voiced valuation of scientific accuracy above all. By , the existence of atomic ratios in metals, alloys, and metallic oxides had been in play for nearly a century. Avogadro's main discoveries of ratios were reported in , based on tin oxide.
Bravais' work on crystalline lattices, observed only in metals, oxides, and minerals, was performed in JJ Thomson discovered electrons in , three years before the setting of the book. This was in the age of scientific showmanship - see Tesla, the importance of AC lighting at the Chicago World's Fair of , Edison's flashy literally exhibits, the ongoing obsession with telegraphy and radio - and Thomson's focus on metals in the "third Maxwell volume" would not have been unnoticed, even by lay readers.
It's inconceivable to think that science-obsessed performers - let alone scientists themselves - would still hold this animistic view of materials, where the living principle is seen as a simplifying characteristic rather than an emergent effect of compounding complexities, in Any modern author who wishes to write otherwise is either terribly confused or wilfully messing around, and the failure on Priest's part to reconcile his fictional characters with their historical setting broke the book for me.
In addition, it was poorly written and relied too much on would-be atmospheric tension, while the protagonist was a hateful small-minded ball of failure. So, no, no slack will be cut. Forsaking the actual understanding of the history of scientific discovery for the sake of the excitement of writing about an experiment on living cats is flat laziness.
Look, I can fix it in a paragraph: Kill the sentence on page and modify that around to "The elements and their alloys and oxides proved too simplistic for satisfaction, a child's trick of magnetic repulsion at a distance. Experimentation progressed rapidly to life organisms, in all their emergent complexity and seeming simplicity of form.
I can't fix that in a paragraph. So it seemed essential to give this book a go. Foremost, let me ask you: Are You Watching Closely? The story is told by four different perspectives and divided by five parts. The first one opens up in a modern-day London when a man so certain he has a twin brother though never seeing him is invited by a woman who "What follows is not sorcery, but the appearance of it.
The first one opens up in a modern-day London when a man so certain he has a twin brother though never seeing him is invited by a woman who tells him an eerie tale about his own childhood.
With this tale and a diary of his great-grandfather, he learns his past. The central plot circles around a Victorian era London, showing the dark side of both magic and science through two rival stage illusionists, Alfred Borden and Rupert Angier, trying to discover each other's trick and spoil it.
Until Borden presents an illusion no one knows its secret! The diaries of both magicians are supposed to reveal their secrets, but while reading them, it is clear something is hidden behind their words. Full of turns, plot twist that overwhelmed me for days and really awesome magic tricks! The action and suspense are superb and well presented to shock the reader.
To rate this book 4 stars, I had to remove the movie of my head temporarily. The book is really marvelous but Nolan's screenplay had changed the novel tremendously and made it better! I know the book is the origin of the movie, but there are very beautiful quotes in the movie like "Are you watching closely?
All in all, a very good story.
I really enjoyed it. Playing a part You travelled far What have you found That there is no time There is no time To analyse Sep 23, Arielle Walker rated it really liked it Shelves: Having loved the film but also been somewhat bewildered by it - never watch intricate films when you should be sleeping - they really won't make sense.
I was pretty excited to find that it was originally a book. This, I figured, would be my chance to actually understand the story!
Well, sort of.
The book is written in epistolary form, from the point of view of four main characters around 5 generations apart. Two characters write in diaries - these are the main characters, and the storyline that Having loved the film but also been somewhat bewildered by it - never watch intricate films when you should be sleeping - they really won't make sense.
Two characters write in diaries - these are the main characters, and the storyline that the film is based on. To be honest, I saw very little point in the inclusion of the younger two characters, set in our time and seeking to unravel the mystery of their ancestors. I think their parts added a little suspense as more and more secrets were revealed, slowly.
The writing style was very different from what I had expected, but I found it very successful. It made the characters unlikeable and yet also somehow relatable, and I ended up genuinely caring for them, to my surprise. There are a huge number of plot twists, though some are so foreshadowed that it is hardly a revelation when they are revealed at last - more of a "I knew I was right! I wish I had read the book before seeing the film - the film would have made more sense and, in turn, the book would have retained its secrets for longer, I think.
However I can definitely recommend discovering both forms of this story - it's a good one. Oct 06, Badseedgirl rated it really liked it Shelves: I was first introduced to the book by seeing the movie. I found the movie to be creative and did not see the twist ending coming. I was thrilled that this was a book, and put on the long long, long, God it's so long TBR list. And then promptly forgot it.
Fast forward to , and I stumble across a copy of the story. It was time to read the book and remove at least one more book from my TBR list.
Because I had seen the movie, the twist in the story was not the surprise it should have been. That I was first introduced to the book by seeing the movie. That was ok though, because the movie ended at the twist but the book has So. I get to say something about this book I don't think I have ever said in a review. The book and the movie are both great, even though they are essentially radically different. Read the book.
Watch the movie. Hell, do both. You won't be disappointed. Jun 14, Olive abookolive rated it it was ok Recommends it for: People who enjoy boring men doing boring magic. Recommended to Olive abookolive by: Liars who compared it to The Night Circus.
I must say that this was a sterling novel that absolutely kept me reading until the very end. But before I launch into it, here's my recommendation. The book thoroughly requires the reader's participation. It's not a wham-bam thank you ma'am kind of story and definitely NOT for readers who quickly become impatient with what they're reading. It is one of those books where you're going to be thinking about what's going constantly as you read, so don't pick it up if you think you're just going to I must say that this was a sterling novel that absolutely kept me reading until the very end.
It is one of those books where you're going to be thinking about what's going constantly as you read, so don't pick it up if you think you're just going to buzz through this one. You're not. I cannot go into too much detail because it will give away the story. The novel begins with a young news reporter who senses that somewhere deep in his past he had a twin, and even though he's checked birth records he was adopted at age 3 , he finds no trace of a sibling.
Yet, he has that sort of telepathy unique to twins, and so he must keep searching. However, that's just a brief moment in the story Their story is told through their respective diaries, and it's not until you've finished that you realize just what an excellent job Christopher Priest has done framing this extraordinary tale.
He has done it much in the way a magician performs a spectacular illusion, where you, the reader, are the viewer of the trick, and it's not until it's over that you feel the effects in the parlance of magicians, the "prestige" of what you've just read.
I can't remember anything else quite like this in the recent past. I very highly recommend this novel with one major caveat. The end is so abrupt, I was looking to make sure pages hadn't been torn out of my book. However, the rest of the book is so incredible that it will make up for the strange ending. Oct 15, unknown rated it really liked it Shelves: I didn't rank this yet? Did my rating Much weirder and more complicated than the movie.
Also a little stupider ghosts? The slight of hand also tends to play better in print when you don't have to see it acted out hey, my magic trick requires a double of Hugh Jackman, let's cast Hugh Jackman! I read this years back, before the film, and it's hard I didn't rank this yet? I read this years back, before the film, and it's hard to say how the one colored my perception of the other. The ending of the book was a letdown but the ending of the movie seemed too straightforward. Maybe it's just a flawed story.
Pretty good one though. View all 14 comments. Jun 02, ashley c rated it it was amazing Shelves: Let me preface this by saying I've already watched the film a year back, and I read this with the intention of revisiting the story by reading it. That said, it was a mark of how good this book was that I was still able to be surprised by the ending. There were some differences in timeline and details between the book and the film, so I still enjoyed it as the mystery that it was supposed to be.
I was going to give this book 4 stars - great premise, but a rather 'tell' not 'show' s Okay. I was going to give this book 4 stars - great premise, but a rather 'tell' not 'show' style to Priest's writing. I was ready to dislike the book, because of his matter-of-fact writing style that did not seem to add to the mysteriousness of the story, at first, but it was this forum thread SPOILERS! Not sure if the author meant to make us do so, but I enjoyed reflecting on the idea of the prestige , what it meant to blur the lines that defined the magician and the prestige, the parallels between Borden, Angier, and their modern day descendants.
I'm going to borrow a few ideas from the thread and say that I did come to appreciate the polar opposites that is drawn between the two feuding magicians - one being rather traditional, the other flashy and not afraid to use science to work magic. And hence the downfall of these two magicians are unique to them because of this difference in their craft and the way they lead their life.
I can agree as well, that the prose can be tiring to read - in fact, I think much of their life story is rather monotonous and can be edited out - but it's unassuming in the way that it tells the story in the limited perspective of the two magicians' journals, but assures the reader that we are in the privileged position to know much more and in much more depth.
I didn't really like the almost mystical way Priest wrote of Angier in the last part of the book. It's rather unbelievable, and mystical storylines aren't my cup of tea. I felt that the ending saved it, though. Even though it was rather gothic horror-esque, it tied up the story nicely, and it put into good use Angier's um, problem, introduced in the last part of the book.
One of the unsettling moments for me where I actually liked the movie much more than the book! This screwed with my brain What does it say about the human identity for him to continue to identify as the magician, the original?
Which of Borden was the prestige? What about Andrew and Nicky? It's also fun to think about Borden - how would someone live a life like that? What of his wife, his mistress, and children - who did he love?
I think the film handled this well - in the novel of course it was in Priest's unassuming way to not actually point it out, but rather it was implied. Feb 03, Stephen rated it really liked it Shelves: Christopher Priest can flat out write a good story and this is no exception. After reading and thoroughly enjoying one of his science fiction novels, The Inverted World: A Novel , I was anxious to check out one of his other stories and chose this one.
While the plot and tone are completely different than The Inverted World: A Novel , the strength of the story-telling and the excellent writing are certainly evident. The story is framed as an epistolary novel similar to Dracula by Bram Stoker and unfolds through the journals of the two magicians. I thought the story was engaging from the very beginning and, though leisurely paced, kept me interested the entire time.
The characters of the two magicians were three dimensional and very intriguing. I also want to point out for those that listen to audiobooks that I listened to the story as read by Simon Prebble one of my favorite narrators and did a superb job, as usual.
His reading of the novel would get 5 stars. Clarke Award for Best Novel Nominee: Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel I've had some real issues with this book, namely: The frame story.
What was that cult thing about? Why do we get a named character with that religious cult, that never reappers? Why did Kat's father view spoiler [roast little Nick in the first place?
That frame story was the worst thing around this book - it just did 3. That frame story was the worst thing around this book - it just didn't fit the story very well, was either over- or underdevelopped or completely unnecessary.
The ending. While nicely gothic, there's no real conclusion, since view spoiler [Andrew only gets rid of his "brother's" voice in his head while clutching him close to his chest, not at any greater distance - what is that supposed to imply?
Borden vs. The Borden part of the journal was emotionally and psychologically underdevelopped while Angier's sometimes had to much repetetive detail 4. When she delivers the results of her "investigation" to Angier, there's view spoiler [only one word there: There's no previous hint that either she or Borden were familiar with what Tesla can do with exception of the one exhibition , so why they would come up with this in that letter is a non-sequitur to me.
Mentor Texts 1 6 May 02, Readers also enjoyed.
Science Fiction. About Christopher Priest. Christopher Priest. Christopher Priest was born in Cheshire, England. He began writing soon after leaving school and has been a full-time freelance writer since In Christopher Priest was born in Cheshire, England.
In , The Prestige was made into a major production by Newmarket Films. It received two Academy Award nominations. He is Vice-President of the H. Wells Society. Angier suspects that Borden uses a double, but dismisses the idea because he thinks it is too easy.
Angier desperately tries to equal Borden's success. With the help of the acclaimed inventor Nikola Tesla , Angier develops an act called "In a Flash", which produces a similar result through a starkly different method. Tesla's device teleports a being from one place to another by creating a duplicate at the destination, leaving the original subject behind. Angier is forced to devise a way to conceal the original to preserve the illusion. He bitterly refers to these "shells" as "prestiges".
Angier's new act is as successful as Borden's. Borden, in retaliation, attempts to discover how "In a Flash" is performed. During one performance he breaks into the backstage area and turns off the power to Angier's device.
The subsequent teleportation is incomplete, and both the duplicated Angier and the "prestige" Angier survive, but the original feels increasingly weak while the duplicate seems to lack physical substance.
The original Angier fakes his own death in order to put behind his public persona of a magician and returns as the heir to his family estate, Caldlow House, without any publicity. While there, he becomes terminally ill. The duplicate Angier, alienated from the world by his ghostly form, discovers Borden's secret. He attacks one of the twins before a performance. However, Borden's apparent poor health and the duplicate Angier's sense of morality prevent the assault from becoming murder.
It is implied that this particular Borden dies a few days later, and the incorporeal Angier travels to meet the corporeal Angier, now living as the 14th Earl of Colderdale.
They obtain Borden's diary and publish it without revealing the twins' secret. Shortly afterwards, the corporeal Angier dies and his ghostly clone uses Tesla's device to teleport himself into the body, hoping that either he will reanimate it and be whole again, or kill himself instantly.
It is revealed in the final chapter that some form of Angier has continued to survive to the present day. Critical reception[ edit ] David Langford wrote in a review, "It seems entirely logical that Christopher Priest's latest novel should centre on stage magic and magicians.
The particular brand of misdirection that lies at the heart of theatrical conjuring is also a favourite Priest literary ploy — the art of not so much fooling the audience as encouraging them to fool themselves The final section is strange indeed, more Gothic than science fiction in flavour, heavy with metaphorical power. The trick is done; before and after, Priest has rolled up both sleeves; his hands are empty and he fixes you with an honest look.