Friday, October 26, 2018

Magic (William Goldman)

Magic by William Goldman
You know what's fun? When authors you love dip into a different genre. When Stephen King writes a horror novel no one bats an eyelash or even yawns with boredom- it is a tenet of this universe we live in that Stephen King will continue to publish horror novels until well after he has died. But, what if King wrote a romance novel? THAT would be news. People would be falling over themselves to find out what it was about, did it sound like Stephen King, or did it sound like he was trying to be someone different? Like, Stephen King dressed up as Nora Roberts and now he's seeing how he feels.

Wait, that took a really weird turn. The point was, seeing an author write something outside of their normal genre is like seeing a teacher outside of school who is wearing shorts. It feels weird and exciting and wrong all at once.

Then a few months ago, I learned that William Goldman, author of my favorite book of all time The Princess Bride, had written a horror novel I about jumped out of my skin. How had I not known?? While I was busy rereading Princess Bride and buying every copy available, this classic nugget snuck past me.

Obviously I had to immediately find it on ThriftBooks and get a copy. Then I felt like I had to wait until SpoOkctober to really appreciate it. I'm glad I did! Autumn is the perfect time of year for this one.

This was a quick read, but fun nonetheless. The main character, Corky, is a magician who is actually making it places in this world, getting gigs on TV and on the precipice of the "big break!" As the story progresses, told in three parts (present, past, continuing present), we find that there might be something to worry about in Corky's noggin. By the end, Corky's noggin is the least of our problems. By the end, our problems are well outside of Corky's head.

Filled with Goldman's classically sharp wit, the book is entertaining even if it doesn't hold up too well to the passing of time. This one, like many written in the 70's and 80's, has that very decisive sound to it that lets you know what decade its from.   I don't know that I can put my finger on what that is, but somehow all of them (Rosemary's Baby, Stepford Wives, Psycho, The Omen) have the same sound. to them. (Incidentally, they also all have that same delicious smell. Smells like childhood.)

The pace of this one is pretty manic, so you have to keep your wits about you and be on your toes. Afterall, you don't want to fall for the magician's sleight of hand, right?

The final breakdown:
The Book
Overall fun, I enjoyed the banter between people, and would definitely enjoy seeing a rebooted movie with some more modern effects.

The Writing
What you'd expect from Goldman, fast paced witty banter that he's using to distract you from the truth.

These older books are harder for to read, honestly. There's something to the tone from that period that just doesn't grip me in the same way as The Shining or R.L.Stine do.

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