Hayley's Reviews > The Magicians

The Magicians by Lev Grossman
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Dec 23, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites, real-life-bookshelf, adult, fantasy, mc-under-20, invented-setting, male-protagonist, witchery
Read in January, 2010

The Magicians is a very intelligently written and imaginative story for anyone who was ever obsessed with a fantasy series; anyone who desperately wanted to vanish into a book and never return. It is dark, and strange, and mystical. Mind you, this is not a children’s book. It is for the adults who grew up in Narnia, or at Hogwarts, and can’t let go of the magic that they knew there.

"Sometimes I wonder if man was really meant to discover magic," Fogg said expansively. "It doesn't really make sense. It's a little too perfect, don't you think? If there's a single lesson that life teaches us, it's that wishing doesn't make it so. Words and thoughts don't change anything. Language and reality are kept strictly apart--reality is tough, unyielding stuff, and it doesn't really care what you think or feel or say about it. Or it shouldn't. You deal with it, and you get on with your life.

"Little children don't know that. Magical thinking: that's what Freud called it. Once we learn otherwise we cease to be children. The separation of word and thing is the essential fact on which our adult lives are founded."

This is the idea at the heart of this book--the thing that pulses and throbs with every word and gives this story life. If magic is the binding together of word and thing, then books are magic. What is a book but the equivalency of language and reality, where words and thoughts become populated worlds? Maybe book-lovers are the eternal children of the world, the ones who never forget magical thinking, We always believe in the potency of words, willfully deny the separation of word and thing, and are never released from the spells cast over us by the books we love best. And that's what The Magicians is about: the way that the books we escape into take hold of us, how we choose them over reality, and what happens to a person when the boundaries between words and reality truly are dissolved.
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