Marty Quick, troubled hero of James Flint's 52 Ways to Magic America
, has a dream. From the age of nine he has yearned to become the most celebrated magician in Las Vegas. This isn't easy when you're starting out from your dad's garage in Beckenham. But after 10 painful years of card-shuffling and mockery, Marty seems poised on the threshold of success. He's become "Young Magician of the Year" and procured the services, both on and off-stage, of Terri Liddell, a suburban beauty bearing more than a passing resemblance to Princess Diana.
But the glamour of Vegas still seems very distant as Marty finds himself condemned to the cabaret circuit of shabby provincial towns. Only a miracle can save him. And that's exactly what happens when he bumps into another Diana--doppelganger in Blackpool. Marty envisages an illusion to stun the world, but can he pull it off before the clouds of self-delusion engulf him?
This is a fascinating foray into the magician's secret world--and the author should be commended for his painstaking research. The tricks of the trade, the seedy aura of theatre green rooms, the backstage bickering--all are captured with compelling skill. On other levels, however, the book doesn't quite deliver. As his childhood dreams dissolve, so does our affection for Marty, particularly when he transfers his obsession, somewhat inexplicably, to the dot.com boom--a subject that already looks outdated. --Matthew Baylis
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
‘A beautiful book quite unlike anything I’ve ever read. The reason I rate Flint, and this novel, so highly is that he is prepared to take enormous risks…Flint truly captures how it feels to love England even when all your dreams are of America.’ Matt Thorne, Independent on Sunday
‘Flint’s talent and invention are unmistakable; his writing vigorous and beautiful.’ The Times
‘The tragi-comic tale of a suburban guy with big dreams, a thing about blondes – and a mullet. Seedy and lyrical.’ Hari Kunzru, author of ‘The Impressionist’
‘A truly original voice in modern fiction.’Face
‘Consistently entertaining.’ TLS
‘In the manner of Jonathan Meades, Flint displays a sure touch for the sort of weirdness that comes from slightly damaged people from the English suburbs.’ Esquire