Tony's Reviews > The Magic Shop

The Magic Shop by H.G. Wells
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May 12, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: fiction-short-stories
Read in May, 2012

THE MAGIC SHOP. (1903; this ed. 1996). H. G. Wells. *****.
This is an over-sized library edition of one of Wells’s short stories that caught my eye. It is short – maybe thirty pages or so – but you will linger over the illustrations by the artist Francois Roca. I hadn’t heard of Roca before, but will seek out other books that he has illustrated. The story was originally published in the June 1903 edition of The Strand magazine, and later collected in, The Country of the Blind and Other Stories in 1917. The story is about a father and his young son walking in London, when the boy spys a magic shop and starts looking in the window. He eventually talks his father into going in to the shop. There they meet (presumably) the proprietor, who shows them a raft of magic tricks – though he assures them that the are not tricks, but really magic. The young boy is entranced, and ultimately picks out several of the items for his father to get for him. The whole procedure is infused with a sense of unreality for the father, and he begins to get very nervous – especially when the proprietor places his son under a large drum and “disappears” him. The story has an unusual turn, but all is well. The illustrations are what will stick with you. Mr. Roca is apparently a well-known illustrator and has quite a few books to his credit. I’ll be looking for them. Highly recommended.
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