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The Art of Disappearing

3.15  ·  Rating Details ·  266 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
How do you know if love is real or just an illusion?

When Mel Snow meets the talented magician Toby Warring in a dusty roadside bar, she is instantly drawn to the brilliant performer whose hands can effortlessly pull stray saltshakers and poker chips from thin air and conjure castles out of the desert sands. Just two days later they are married, beginning their life togethe
Hardcover, 311 pages
Published September 15th 2009 by St. Martin's Press
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(showing 1-30)
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Apr 11, 2011 Brian rated it it was ok
This book had a great start. Interesting premise of a woman who meets a magician who wants to make it big in Vegas. But it got more and more strange with the last half being very very weak. This book started out being a love story but quickly turned from realistic to surreal to bizarre. I love Vegas and appreciated that part of the novel. But being able to talk to fabric? Being obsessed with water? Strange much ?
Her Royal Orangeness
Feb 04, 2011 Her Royal Orangeness rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of Alice Hoffman; people who love "The Time Traveler's Wife"

Toby Warring is a magician. Not a "pull a rabbit from the hat" magician, but one who has the ability to reach into other dimensions and produce real magic. He and Mel Snow meet and marry quickly, and their life journey follows the consequences of Toby's magic. It is a story about losing things, and the price one is willing to pay to find what has been lost.

The storyline is utterly original. There are echoes of Alice Hoffman, but the story is completely the
Sep 20, 2009 Bridget rated it really liked it
Toby is magician who doesn't use tricks in his magic shows, he uses real magic. When he meets Mel he feels an undeniable passion for her. To prove himself to her, he magically places a glass of wine in front of her. The next day, they become husband and wife.

Soon, Mel realizes that Toby's is haunted by a failed magic trick. He had an assistant who was part of a disappearing trick. The problem is, she didn't return. He cannot escape the feelings of failure when it comes to this past event. Will h
Deborah Harkness
Aug 02, 2010 Deborah Harkness rated it it was amazing
I thought this was an extraordinary book. I was in love with Toby from the start, with his misfiring magic. With a remarkable economy of language, Pochoda created two memorable central characters that stay with you long after you finish.
Dec 30, 2016 Sasha rated it did not like it
When I read a magical novel, I want to be taken to a magical world. I think this book had great potential, but ended up being nothing more than lackluster. I didn't relate, or feel a connection to any of the characters, and it seems as though she put more emphasis in describing her surroundings than developing her characters and plot. I was super excited to read this book, but only ended up disappointed.
Jan 01, 2011 Wendy rated it liked it
Mel Snow met the love of her life in a desert saloon one night. Two days later, they are married. Toby is a magician hoping to make it big one day in Las Vegas. Only, he isn't your usual magician. He doesn't perform tricks of illusion like most magicians. He is a real magician, practicing real magic. He knows very little about where his magic comes from or how to control it, which makes him dangerous, not only to himself, but those around him. After a mishap with a former assistant, he swore off ...more
Nov 07, 2010 Melody rated it really liked it
There are many perceptions of magic. While some may think of and link them to witchcraft (usually in the olden days), others view them as an entertainment and a form of art. So, is there such a thing as real magic, or are they merely tricks and illusions. I'm afraid I can't answer them, but I want to say I love watching magic performance and that I really enjoyed reading The Art of Disappearing; a story between a magician and a textile consultant.

Mel Snow is drawn to Toby Warring the instant the
Oct 14, 2010 Zoë rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review-copy
After finishing a few disappointing books lately, I was waiting to fall in love and The Art of Disappearing by Ivy Pochoda was the perfect novel to do that. In The Art of Disappearing Mel Snow meets the magician Toby at an out of the way roadside bar, and the two connect immediately and decide to marry in Las Vegas. Mel knows Toby's magic is different, that it isn't about illusion but that he has a gift and that his magic is real. They move to Las Vegas where Mel works as a textile consultant as ...more
Sep 07, 2009 Erin rated it really liked it
Mel Snow is a traveling textiles consultant, working in Las Vegas, when she meets a magician in a diner. They are married almost instantly. Toby, though, isn't your usual card trick magician. His magic is real. I'm not talking about the wand-waving, Harry Potter style of magic. Toby's magic is the old, ancient magic of a true magician. Someone capable of conjuring from thin air...and someone capable of losing into thin air.

While Mel in enchanted by Toby, she comes to realize that he is haunted b
Oct 11, 2009 Cheryl rated it liked it
Mel Snow and her magician husband, Tobias Warring. When Mel first met Toby she thought he was just one of those cheesy magicians. This was easy to understand, especially when the person is performing in Las Vegas. What Mel soon discovers is that Toby is not an imposter but the real deal. He is one in a million. The problem is that Toby can’t control his magic. During one of his performances, a tragic accident happens and Toby and Mel are forced to leave. They travel in search of someone who can ...more
Erin O'Riordan
Jul 03, 2011 Erin O'Riordan rated it really liked it
I wanted this book to be more romantic than it was, but that it not the book's fault. Mel Snow, the textiles saleswoman to whom the textiles sing, and the stage magician Toby Warring whose magic is not a trick, are meant to be together for only a finite amount of time and that's just the way it is. One can think of this book as magical realism - it reminded me in this respect of Audrey Niffenegger's Her Fearful Symmetry (and probably also The Time Traveler's Wife, although I've seen the movie bu ...more
Sep 11, 2010 Caitlin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
There is a trend in indie films and books to create quirky characters and then do nothing meaningful with their quirks - they're just sort of quirky to be quirky and often wander around the film or book with a dazed expression on their face and an emo haircut. Seriously, everybody on the planet is quirky - let's celebrate that and make the actual bits and pieces of a character something that matters - because it does.

The Art of Disappearing is full of characters with all kinds of quirks and idio
Jun 02, 2016 Nicole rated it liked it
In a way this book is surreal. I enjoyed the writing tremendously, however there wasn't a consistency of tension or a clear line of plot. Not that what happened was random, but I kept wondering what is the goal that the newly married couple are striving for.

I was drawn by the heavy involvement of magic in the synopsis, so if you're looking for that you won't be disappointed. But like Morgenstern's "Night Circus", sometimes even magic and beauty and "intrigue" can fall flat when there isn't a re
Oct 18, 2010 Jules rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed, blog-tour
This book was a very interesting read. I thought that the premise of the story was very well thought out. The book starts with the quickie Vegas marriage of the two lead characters and proceeds from there. They don't know each other at all, but are pulled to each other like magnets or magic!

Mel's relationship with fabrics and textiles is interesting as they "talk" to her. She gets stories from pieces of material. The author does an amazing job of describing this connection and what Mel hears an
Elizabeth Hunter
Dec 20, 2009 Elizabeth Hunter rated it liked it
Shelves: library, uncat
Each of us have those moments we wish we could return to, those people who have slipped away from our lives. In this lovely, lyrical book, we meet a couple--textile consultant Mel Snow and her magician husband, Toby Warring--with their own memories to contend with. Whether seeking them in patchwork quilts, through the doors of magic boxes, in the depths of the ocean or the invisible pockets of the air around them, Mel and Toby find their own connection buffeted by the voices of the past.

Susan Coleman
Apr 25, 2012 Susan Coleman rated it liked it
The story grabbed me immediately, and I devoured the first half, but somewhere along the way it seemed that the author lost the thread and couldn't figure where to go with the story. The premise was intriguing enough, but then the plot sort of devolved into purposeful bewilderment, a la the films Memento or Inception. I wanted her to pull something out at the end to offer a sense completion or at least give the reader a little reward for making it that far, but I was disappointed in the lack of ...more
Jul 26, 2013 Gigill rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, drama, book-club
I had a love-hate relationship with this book. At times I felt sucked in by the story and moved by the writer's pretty descriptions with words. I hated the constant melancholy undertone (especially when its sunny and summery out!), confusing storyline and lack of description around the main character. I loved how the cities played such strong roles in the books and how they made me want to travel. I found myself bored at times and lost in the sea of characters. There were lots of ups and downs; ...more
Feb 02, 2014 Renee rated it it was ok
I absolutely loved the book Visitation Street by Ivy Pochoda but unfortunately I didn't enjoy this book very much.
The book is about a woman who meets a magician in a road side bar, is instantly drawn to this man who can pull roses from thin air and conjure castles out of desert sands. They marry two days later, and begin a life together in the shadow of Las Vegas. He is not a trained magician but a true magic-man.
Because nothing in this book was remotely believable I just could not get into it.
Gina Gresch
Dec 28, 2014 Gina Gresch rated it did not like it
this was one of those books where it seems interesting, then it's dull for a bit, then it picks up again and this cycle keeps repeating to a point where you're too far in the book to quit reading it because you've invested this much time in it, you need to finish it. I wasn't impressed with the book at all. It had 2 story lines going on at the same time and I wasn't sure what one had to do with the other. I'm not sure how it got such good reviews, it was hard to like one of the characters at one ...more
Oct 10, 2013 Dhali rated it it was ok
Very clean writing, a strong beginning and a great ending but the middle section in Amsterdam was weak, introducing too many new characters that all felt similar.

While Mel was a great character but Pachoda's constant references to Tobyas 'the magician' or 'my magician' - which may have been intended to present him as a cipher - had the effect of making him essentially one-dimensional. Consequently the passion between Mel and Toby had to be taken on trust, this may have been Pachoda's intention
Oct 04, 2010 Jennifer rated it liked it
Actually 3.5 stars.
From my book review blog Rundpinne. ..."I was first drawn into the story by the witty narrative and the unusual storyline, but I do not often read about traveling textile merchants meeting and marrying magicians, yet soon found myself immersed in the lives of Mel and Toby, each filled with their own secrets that haunt them." The full review can be read here.
Aug 30, 2013 Laurie rated it it was ok
p 51 "Snow was her elixer. And more important, snow made things match. It smoothed rough edges and harsh contours. It erased the garish paint jobs on new cars and undermined families who had trimmed their houses in a Caribbean palate. It masked badly pruned hedges and covered lawn ornaments. Snow, according to my mother, brought tranquility and beauty to a mismatched world. As she saw it, a good snowstorm would be better than a baptism."
Mar 09, 2014 Mary rated it did not like it
Ugh. I WANTED to love this book. It had all the right elements...magic and the supernatural, epic love, and an air of melancholy. But the whole thing never knitted together for me. Maybe because I read it in bits and pieces, but it felt disjointed, I never understood how Mel and Toby ended up together (I saw no love story whatsoever), and it left way more loose strings for me than it tied up. It just felt like a mess!
Rachael Wiggins
Dec 10, 2012 Rachael Wiggins rated it it was ok
Light-hearted yet dark at the same time, I was intrigued from the beginning. I wasn't exactly happy with where the story went, or how it ended up, but I enjoyed the suspension of disbelief and the mystery of the magic. I would say the first half hooked me in, and I finished out of a hope it would end as stunningly as it retrospect, I didn't really feel rewarded.
Eric Mueller
Mar 18, 2012 Eric Mueller rated it liked it
Shelves: novels
I loved the concept and-- especially once things really got underway in the last 1/4th of the book-- The Art of Disappearing is well-plotted and keeps the story moving and unfurling well. I felt like there were a few characters that had some rough dialog and didn't seem realistic/authentic to the character in some scenes.
Deborah Bobo
Excellent first novel for Ivy Pochoda! It is the magical love story of Mel Snow and Toby Waring. Mel is a textile consultant who hears fabrics talk and sing. Toby is a magician with real magical powers. This is the story of the intertwining of their lives. The characters are well developed and the storyline draws you in.
Dec 18, 2009 MariLee rated it liked it
Probably give this a 2.9ish. Started out stronger for me, got slower and more drawn out towards the middle, and then I didn't really like the end. The language is beautiful in this book and the author is really good at putting sentences together--but the pacing was too slow in the middle and towards the end. I was left feeling kind of "myuh" at the end.
Jul 18, 2010 Kristin rated it liked it
Shelves: adult
I fell odd rating a book I could not read. I read the first 20 or so pages, and then just couldn't go on. I'm not sure that it was the book itself. Often, my interest in reading is relative to my stress levels. Perhaps I will give this book another chance some day. I enjoyed the characters and beginning. ?
Oct 09, 2013 Pmcdnld2 rated it really liked it
I liked this but it was strange. Mel meets a magician in a diner and quickly marries him. His dream is Vegas-but the catch is his magic is not an illusion but is real and he cannot always control his tricks. Very interesting if unbelievable.
Dec 30, 2012 Alyce rated it it was ok
Not bad for a first novel. The beginning was very interesting; it drew me in immediately, but then the plot starts to lag about 3/4 of the way through. She tries to play with time/dimensions and I'm not sure it was completely successful. Also, I did not enjoy the ending.
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i want to read this book 1 13 Jul 07, 2009 12:58PM  
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Ivy Pochoda is the author of the critically acclaimed novel Visitation Street published by Ecco / Dennis Lehane Books. Visitation Street was chosen as an Amazon Best Book of the Month, Amazon Best Book of 2013, and a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Huffington Post, ...more
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