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The Last Magician

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  184 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
The Last Magician is about power and betrayal, sexual obsession and social ostracism. At its center is Lucy, a good girl and a whore, whose nights are spent in a kaleidoscope of identities as she dons the masks her customers demand. Charlie is a photographer, filmmaker, voyeur, and the last magician—monitoring Lucy, piecing together the splinters of evidence surrounding th ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published September 17th 2003 by W. W. Norton Company (first published January 4th 1992)
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Aug 21, 2009 abatage rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
As the title suggests, The Last Magician is a story thick with the fantasy and mystery threaded between a unique group of characters and their inner relationships that essentially end up shaping their entire world. There is a certain skill displayed when such a narrative has the ability to create magic from within the confines of very grounded subject matter.

Personally, I adored reading this book as Janette Turner Hospital takes her time with revealing the actual point of the tale, and instead t
Shawn Mooney
Jan 13, 2017 Shawn Mooney marked it as did-not-finish
Abandoned 20% of the way in. The writing is excellent, but the story seems to be being told predominantly through extended descriptions of an artist's arthousey films and photographs, and the main character's reactions to them. I am not a particularly visual person, and so this mode of storytelling simply doesn't engage me.
Ma'lis Wendt
Dec 25, 2008 Ma'lis Wendt rated it really liked it
Fascinating story of intersecting lives in Australia
Feb 01, 2017 Madelyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Madelyn by: Mary Anne Richards
My interaction with The Last Magician was as uneven as the text felt to me. I picked it up, I grew bored. I picked it up again, and was confused. I picked it up and became intrigued, then amazed, then muddled. I picked it up, started reading again, and couldn't put it down, but only after I had read 150 pages. The characters will stay with me; I want to sit quietly and digest what I just read. Hospital's descriptions are similar to her Charlie's photographs: multi-layered, convoluted, picturesqu ...more
Celeste Rousselot
As with her other excellent novels (see Oyster and Orpheus Lost), Turner-Hospital has again created a detailed nightmarish world, this time comparing an open-pit mine and its workers in Brazil with the underground dwellings and poverty-stricken inhabitants of Sydney's inner city. There's even a mystery to boot. But at present I'm not in the mood for such darkness. Maybe I'll pick it up again later. For now though I'm pushing back to the "To Read" category.
Mar 09, 2013 Rebecca rated it really liked it
The description doesn't do this novel justice. This is a novel about friendship among people who have not figured out how to live in the world. It is about the social cages that we do and do not accept and about our willingness or unwillingness to see honestly the world around us. This is one of the few novels I have read twice. It is allegorical and complex and well written.
Jun 27, 2012 Katherine rated it it was ok
It was a little too... gothic maybe? It was just so dark and swirling and very, very written. I was too distracted by the deliberate symbolism, word choice, structure etc., to become absorbed in the story, which somehow manages to be both convoluted and predictable.
Dec 05, 2010 Anne_MB rated it really liked it
Set in Brisbane & Sydney, about a group of adults who shared a calamitous and life-changing event as children. I found the beginning section of the book difficult but enjoyed the book more and more as it progressed.
bargain = 1 of 29 books for $5.
Sam Hopgood
Jul 01, 2007 Sam Hopgood rated it really liked it
It took me a little while to get into the groove of this book. Lots of random puzzle pieces being thrown around led to confusion but persistence was rewarded in the end. Loved it.
Lisa Houlihan
Dec 21, 2014 Lisa Houlihan marked it as to-read
May 26, 2012 Jake rated it did not like it
With the exception of another book by Turner Hospital, rarely if ever have I been in so much pain as I struggled to finish a book I was obligated to read. I loathed it.
Apr 17, 2016 Denise rated it really liked it
otherworldly, disturbing, but beautiful writing.
Debra Morris
Nov 30, 2014 Debra Morris rated it it was amazing
Loved this book. A great puzzle that surprises and makes you think. Amazingly beautifully written.
Aug 28, 2012 Steve rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Hospital has crafted a complex novel, and one that really needs to be read more than once to appreciate.
Dec 02, 2012 Yvonne rated it it was amazing
All-time fave
Oct 29, 2012 Jane rated it really liked it
A fascinating book that is difficult to classify, set in a part-real, part-fantasy version of Australia
Mark Hill
Nov 01, 2009 Mark Hill rated it it was amazing
A stunning novel! The prose is immaculate, the story is gripping. And the lesson one can learn from it is wonderful. I was hooked at the first paragraph.

Mark Schulman
Jun 12, 2013 Mark Schulman rated it it was amazing
The Chicks
Jun 25, 2011 The Chicks rated it it was ok
Kelly's pick (last time I take a recommendation without reading it first)
Victoria Hawthorne
Victoria Hawthorne rated it really liked it
Dec 07, 2015
Chris rated it really liked it
May 06, 2015
Fleur rated it liked it
Oct 02, 2014
Geoff Wooldridge
Geoff Wooldridge rated it really liked it
Sep 24, 2014
Cecil rated it really liked it
Dec 22, 2016
Toni rated it liked it
Jun 05, 2013
Linda Kelly
Linda Kelly rated it liked it
Jan 27, 2013
Michelle Erica Green
Michelle Erica Green rated it it was amazing
Oct 02, 2008
Robert Collins
Robert Collins rated it liked it
May 24, 2012
Erin rated it really liked it
Jul 04, 2012
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Born in 1942, Janette Turner Hospital grew up on the steamy sub-tropical coast of Australia in the north-eastern state of Queensland. She began her teaching career in remote Queensland high schools, but since her graduate studies she has taught in universities in Australia, Canada, England, France and the United States.

Her first published short story appeared in the Atlantic Monthly (USA) where i
More about Janette Turner Hospital...

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