Currently reading

Paul Hanley
A Month in the Country
Michael Holroyd, J.L. Carr
A Tale of the Dispossessed: A Novel
Laura Restrepo, Dolores M. Koch
Mesabi Pioneers
Jeffrey Smith, Russell Hill
The Crusades Through Arab Eyes
Jon Rothschild, Amin Maalouf
Island of a Thousand Mirrors
Nayomi Munaweera

The Confabulist

The Confabulist - Steven Galloway A great story, well-told. The sections about Houdini are great historical fiction -- loosely based on facts, just factual enough to be believable, but truly fiction. The character Houdini is always questioning himself, always questioning reality, even as he plays with it to entertain others. The character of his wife, Bess, is much less fleshed-out, but I forgive the story for this because Houdini was so well etched.

And Martin, our unreliable narrator, simultaneously asking himself all the same questions, remember things but not sure whether they happened or not (mostly not). The last scene is one the reader sees coming, but it's beautifully done.

The best thing about a great book is the questions it poses. For me, questions make this a great book. Where's the line between reality and illusion? If we mislead others, is that always a bad thing? If it makes them happy? When does it become evil? And who in our society excels at illusion? It's not just the magicians.