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Magic

3.64  ·  Rating Details  ·  979 Ratings  ·  64 Reviews
Starting out as a boy in the Catskills, Corky develops into a brilliant and famous magician whose long-hidden secret and expert skills attract dark forces intent on destroying him.
Kindle Edition, 256 pages
Published (first published March 1st 1976)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,709)
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Charlene
3.5 stars!

This novel was a lot of fun. There's an evil vent dummy, (just look at that face on the cover!), and a somewhat wishy-washy magician. Put them together and what have you got? A total blast!

This book seems a little tame compared to the horror that abounds today, but back in the 70's when it was written, I'm sure it was a shocker. And perhaps because I was a criminal profile junkie back in the day, the origins of the psychological issues in this story didn't quite ring true for me. But g
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Thomas Strömquist
Better than a third of this book had me bewildered about what was going on - there was a story there, albeit 'differently' told - but I could not see where it was going. It was going into a twist, and then it really took off. Much more coherent storytelling (but not without quite a few unorthodox takes) in the second half and by then the chill factor has really set in. Tops off with a plausible and good ending. I really liked this sometimes oddly told (not always linear time, thoughts merge into ...more
Joanne Harris
Nov 01, 2014 Joanne Harris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an old favourite of mine; perhaps a little dated now, but no more than, say, CARRIE (and I think that adds to its noir appeal). Sparse, punchy and peopled with the kind of characters that transfer naturally to the screen, it's a terrific piece of proto-screenwriting and a masterclass in the art of the unreliable narrator. It's also a stonking illustration of the artist's condition; his relationship with his audience; his need to be loved; his passion; that sense of weird duality all arti ...more
Tony Gangi
Jun 27, 2010 Tony Gangi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just a fabulous read. A difficult to find book, but well worth the effort. Goldman shows why he's a master storyteller. The book--while exceedingly similar to the film since Goldman translated it for the screen--offers a few new insights into the characters of Corky and Fats, and even offers up to the reader the possibility that one of the two of those characters was sane. Which one it was is anyone's guess. Was it Fats? Was it Corky? This unusual slant on the book is no where to be found in the ...more
Pamellia
Mar 10, 2016 Pamellia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Honestly I couldn't finish this book...Not because it wasn't an excellent story but because I saw the movie all those years ago and felt it was a waste of time to finish reading. Of course it was well written and worth the time I spent on it. I read it as a book of the month selection from one of the groups I belong to here on Goodreads.
Kimberly
Mar 04, 2016 Kimberly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: group-read
Review to come!
Eric Bauman
Mar 23, 2011 Eric Bauman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
I think William Goldman is a genius of a writer for the screen. “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” “Misery”, “The Princess Bride” and others are wonderful movies, due in large part to the man who wrote the screenplays. But I had never read him in book form (not even “The Princess Bride”—and don’t give me that look!).

But probably my favorite movie of his is the 1978 film, “Magic.” "Magic" is one of those really great movies that nobody knows about, starring Anthony Hopkins, Ann-Margret and Bu
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Ben Loory
well, goldman's not much of a stylist, but he sure knows how to tell a story... granted, it's a pretty goofy story much of the time, and feels really dated and robert zemeckis-y, but as soon as that psychotic ventriloquist's dummy starts talking, the flaws are quickly forgotten as the whole book becomes seriously and legitimately disturbing, way more so than the phrase "psychotic ventriloquist's dummy" might lead one to expect.
Corielle
Nov 24, 2015 Corielle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-buy
This is one of those books that reveals something about 100 pages in that makes you want to flip back to the beginning in order to reread everything with that new information in mind. Which makes it a great read, but extremely hard to review without spoiling that fun for someone else. So bear with me!

I picked up Magic (and Marathon Man, which I'll be reviewing later this week) after listening to As You Wish, in which Cary Elwes mentions William Goldman's other works. I've only ever read The Prin
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Chris
May 11, 2011 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very disturbing, in a great way. I remember when it dawned on me just who Corky was talking to -- I thought he was his agent. Creeps galore!

I also recall putting a real knife from the kitchen on top of the knife on the cover of Sharon's copy (we'd been using it to strip speaker wire as we set up her stereo). That creeped her out a bit *too* much.
Rebecca McNutt
Apr 12, 2015 Rebecca McNutt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lindsay
Nov 14, 2007 Lindsay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: horror fans
Shelves: misc-horror
Corky is a ventriloquist/magician about to hit it big. Real big. But he's got a problem. He's completely and totally insane; he's got a split personality that has manifested itself in his ventriloquist dummy, Fats. Corky thinks Fats is alive, giving him advice, telling him what to do, making him do terrible things. Corky's descent into madness is pretty spooky and well-written. The ancillary characters are great, but Fats steals the show.
The film version of this is really excellent. It was made
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Kinksrock
Mar 03, 2016 Kinksrock rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a short but thrilling novel because, in the middle, you are given information that makes you have to re-think the first half of the book.
Kate
Jul 05, 2008 Kate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2000, horror, age-adult
My reading selection was slim pickin's during my semester in Rome, and the version of this book I read had a creepy picture of a ventriloquist's dummy on the cover and a fairly cheesy writeup on the back, which my friend Chris read aloud until I was pretty much on the floor laughing. I think both of us read this book. It wasn't half bad, but Wow! The movie IS bad. Even Anthony Hopkins couldn't save that one. The climax is killer.
Oscar Torrado
Además de su carrera como escritor, el autor William Goldman también ha hecho su aporte al mundo cinematográfico, gracias a él tuvimos la excelente adaptación de Misery, de la cual se hizo a cargo escribiendo su guión convirtiéndola en una de las mejores adaptaciones de un libro de Stephen King, pero poco a nada sabia de su carrera como novelista hasta que me topé de casualidad con Magic.

Magic cuenta la historia de Corky Withers, un mago profesional al que después de una vida bastante dura encue
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Lois Duncan
Mar 11, 2010 Lois Duncan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the scariest books I've ever read.
Andre Dumas
Oct 22, 2014 Andre Dumas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A few years ago I watched 'Magic' the film starring a young(er) Anthony Hopkins and was whisked away to the magical and evil land of Corky and Fats. Fast forward to last week when I was perusing the library stacks looking for William Goldman's 'The Princess Bride' and instead found about 3 books that I had seen the movies of and loved. William Goldman therefore may just be my new hero.

I admit some of the 'magic' was taken away just by already having seen the film. There's a great reveal halfway
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Robert
Jul 07, 2013 Robert rated it really liked it
Only the third William Goldman book I've read, but it's entertaining, gripping, and satisfying. A lovely, traditional thriller that reminds me a lot of the Ira Levin thrillers I've read. Magic, too, relies heavily on literary tricks that would not necessarily be possible in other media.

The story, of a shy loner magician, and his changing personality, is a very elegant piece of writing, even if you dislike the gimmicks. The writing style is direct and matter-of-fact, but the way people speak len
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Bettie☯


Description: Starting out as a boy in the Catskills, Corky develops into a brilliant and famous magician whose long-hidden secret and expert skills attract dark forces intent on destroying him

Watch here

Deanna Watson
Mar 18, 2016 Deanna Watson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had no idea the Anthony Hopkins flick was based on a novel - the screenplay was written by Goldman, so the film parallels the novel nicely. A good, quick, creepy read!
Sally Bisbee
Jul 11, 2010 Sally Bisbee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Magic tells the story of Charles "Corky" Withers, a man that has just failed his first attempt at professional magic. His mentor says that he needs to have a better show business personality. A year later Corky comes back as a ventriloquist with a foul-mouthed dummy named Fats -- I'm not saying anymore. This was a GREAT book and a terrifying movie. (Marathon Man, Brothers, Control). Goldman is 5-star all the way.

Patrick
Jan 19, 2008 Patrick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2001
My brother's theory about Goldman is that in all of his books, the protagonist is really good at one thing. In this one, its magic, and later on, ventriloquism, which eventually drives him mad, and totally ruins his chances with this babe.
Beth
Apr 09, 2010 Beth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
Keith made fun of me for buying this at the book fair a couple years ago, probably because of the cheesy cover. Turns out it's surprisingly creepy. Now I'm going to have to check out the movie.
Daryl
Apr 15, 2009 Daryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Again, a much better book than a movie; gimme a break--Ann Margaret? Anyway, it was a good read from a master wordsmith--his earlier books are all worth reading.
Alan Novich
Feb 21, 2008 Alan Novich rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Goldman is a wonderful author. Look him up and Ira Levin as well. Magic was a movie, but the book is so much better, and frightening.
Douglas
May 04, 2016 Douglas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved and hated this book so much that I cut it up and performed it in my sophomore-year prose performance competition. Before dozens of high school audiences, I turned myself into the hapless magician and his moody best friend. I think I even won some small trophies?

Good times.

Goldman has a unique brand of creativity that we should all pay attention to, above and beyond Princess Bride and Marathon Man.

Bonus: This book taught me a magic trick that I've never forgotten, and I still use sometim
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Kaethe
Jul 08, 2014 Kaethe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: creepy
I've got to give it four stars. Just thinking about it after all this time gives me the willies.
Judy
Apr 12, 2010 Judy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting plot -- a magician is good, with help -- and his helper is evil.

Karin
Nov 04, 2007 Karin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Scary and disturbing. Not my type of book but very well written.
Algernon
Apr 01, 2008 Algernon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Good psychological thriller.
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Goldman grew up in a Jewish family in Highland Park, Illinois, a Chicago suburb, and obtained a BA degree at Oberlin College in 1952 and an MA degree at Columbia University in 1956.His brother was the late James Goldman, author and playwright.

William Goldman had published five novels and had three plays produced on Broadway before he began to write screenplays. Several of his novels he later used
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