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The Magician

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3.58  ·  Rating details ·  3,144 ratings  ·  345 reviews
Maugham’s enchanting tale of secrets and fatal attraction The Magician is one of Somerset Maugham’s most complex and perceptive novels. Running through it is the theme of evil, deftly woven into a story as memorable for its action as for its astonishingly vivid set of characters. In fin de siecle Paris, Arthur and Margaret are engaged to be married. Everyone approves and e ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published February 27th 2007 by Penguin Classics (first published 1908)
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Heather I am assuming you mean "Left Hand Path," and I found this author from the 1930's; Dennis Wheatley under a Google search of LHP.
Under Explore Tab at…more
I am assuming you mean "Left Hand Path," and I found this author from the 1930's; Dennis Wheatley under a Google search of LHP.
Under Explore Tab at top menu of screen, drop down shows Listopia where can be found under the search box entry of Occult Fiction a few Categories of relevant lists of books:
1. Gurdjieff Work in Fiction,
2. The Dennis Wheatley Library of the Occult
3. Magical Fiction For Magicians

Hope this helps.(less)

Community Reviews

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3.58  · 
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 ·  3,144 ratings  ·  345 reviews


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Dan Schwent
Feb 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
Arthur Burdon is due to marry his fiance, Margaret Dauncey. The pair have the misfortune of meeting Oliver Haddo, a self-styled magician and pompous ass. When Arthur assaults Haddo, the Magician hatches a plan to ruin Arthur's life in the most insidious of ways...

The Magician is a tale of revenge, seduction, and things of that nature, written by Maugham after he met Aleister Crowley. It's pretty much a horror novel, honestly.

Oliver Haddo is a revolting character that made my skin crawl and his
...more
Chrissie
This reads as a Gothic horror story, and it grabbed me--which is totally amazing! Books of this genre are not ones that normally attract me. I do not regret reading it. Proof is in the fact that the last three hours of it I spent glued to my seat. If Gothic horror stories are your cup of tea, grab it immediately; I guarantee you will not be disappointed. While I was listening, I was totally enthralled. While I was listening, I thought I would give it four stars. Only when completed was I release ...more
Susan
Jul 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First published in 1908, this was W. Somerset Maugham’s last novel for seven years, as he devoted himself to writing for the theatre. The rest obviously did him good, as he returned with the classic, “Of Human Bondage,” but this is an interesting, and lesser known, novel. It was inspired by meeting Alastair Crowley in Paris, who became the character, ‘Oliver Haddo.’ Crowley himself responded to Maugham’s interpretation of his character with a wry magazine article, “How to Write a Novel!” which h ...more
Tim
Sep 28, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a rather strange, but fascinating little book. Despite the short length (196 on my edition) it feels almost like two separate books It starts off as something like a comedy of errors, then slowly becomes more sinister until it becomes a flat out horror novel.

The story focuses on a couple that meet a claimed magician named Oliver Haddo. Our magician is boastful, seemingly has a story for every scenario (which will of course make him sound amazing) and has a bit of a sense of humor. There’
...more
Nancy Oakes
Sep 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Magician has so many of those elements that send my little dark-fiction reader heart racing, among them pulpy mysterious melodrama, a bit of decadence, and of course the dark forces of the occult and the supernatural. At its heart though, it is a story of revenge plotted by a most sinister villain, the "Magician" Oliver Haddo, and the race to save young Margaret Dauncey, the woman at the center of it all.

for plot details etc., you can go to my reading journal: http://www.oddlyweirdfiction.c
...more
Trevor
Mar 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literature
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Anushree Rastogi
May 18, 2013 rated it it was ok
Maugham's novel The Magician is an aesthetic disaster. From the fumbling realism at the beginning of the novel to the childishly Gothic fable that it turns into, the book seems to lack structure, design and well developed characters.
Maugham himself, on reading the book later, described it as “lush and turgid.” Cluttered with adjectives, the writing, bordering on being kitschy, does little to gloss over a story that is formulaic and shallow.
The plot is facile and it is no surprise that it was m
...more
Cat
May 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, read-in-2014
The Magician may not be Maugham's most known work, but it's my favourite so far.

Arthur and Margaret are about to marry when the sinister Oliver Haddo comes into their lives. Haddo is known for practising ocultism and to deal with the dark arts. At first, Arthur doesn't take him seriously; when strange things concerned with Margaret start taking place, Arthur is forced to realize that maybe he should have taken care not to offend the man who is known as a magician.

After having read two of Maugham
...more
Laura
Free download available at Project Gutenberg

An astonishing gothic story written by Somerset Maugham.

Location 122:
Dr Porhöet knew that a diversity of interests, though it adds charm to a mans personality, tends to weaken him.

Location 140:
One of my cherished ideas is that it is impossible to love without imagination.

Location 277:
She had learnt long ago that common sense, intelligence, good-nature, and strenght of character were unimportant in comparison with a pretty face.

Location 384:
I shall not
...more
Meseceva
Aug 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Inspiraciju za lik harizmatičnog i zlog maga Olivera Hadoa Mom je našao u Alisteru Krouliju. Sam Krouli je prepoznao sebe u Hadou i kasnije je to ime katkad koristio kao pseudonim. Ovo je bilo dovoljno da me privuče čitanju Volšebnika. Mom ima dobru ideju, lepo veze priču i ruga se Krouliju više ili manje otvoreno. Zanimljivo je da pokazuje solidno poznavanje okultne materije, pitam se da li je ono rezultat istraživanja posebno za pisanje ovog romana ili iza toga stoji nešto drugo. Kako god, got ...more
Michael
Sep 07, 2015 rated it did not like it
IN THESE MATTERS ALL IS OBSCURITY

"If I died tomorrow, every penny I have would be yours" – so spricht Arthur, gestandener Arzt, zu seinem Mündel Margaret, und unterstützt sie zustätzlich monatlich mit einer Summe, die der jungen Frau ein sorgloses Leben in Paris ermöglicht, jener Stadt, in der auch Maugham als junger Mann sich als Bohemien versucht hat. Ach, sagte das doch auch einmal jemand zu mir, aber so etwas geschieht vorzugsweise bei Courths-Maler und eben hier bei Maugham.

Arthur und Marg
...more
Roman Clodia
Jul 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Well, this is a departure from the Somerset Maugham I’m more familiar with – a Gothic fantasia set in Paris, this falls neatly into two halves. The first drags a bit and we’re not quite sure where the plot is going, but once Oliver Haddo, the eponymous magician and all-round grossly repulsive figure, has been insulted and sets out on a plan for revenge that also neatly provides the material for his horrible experiments, the pages race by.

A bit Dracula with the uses made of female sexuality, and
...more
Nigeyb
Jul 25, 2018 rated it liked it
I raced through this. Less from enjoyment and more because I wasn’t in the mood for it, so perhaps it was a case of right book wrong timing.

I’ve enjoyed many other books by WSM, but this one felt overly melodramatic.

The drift into gothic horror in the last section felt incongruous.

I was hoping for some insights into Aleister Crowley however his character was quite cartoonish.

Interestingly WSM, on reading it 50 years later, found the writing "lush and turgid". I agree.

Fine, but not up there
...more
Benjamin Duffy
Aug 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books
What a surprising, interesting book. After reading all of W. Somerset Maugham's most celebrated works several times over, and delving eagerly into his lesser-known (though not necessarily lesser in quality) material afterwards, this is the first one to completely surprise me.

The book is preceded, happily, by a foreword, "The Fragment of Autobiography," in which Maugham admits that the character of Oliver Haddo is indeed based on Aleister Crowley. He pulls no punches in his assessment of the real
...more
nettebuecherkiste
Paris zu Beginn des 20. Jahrhunderts. Der junge Chirurg Arthur Burdon besucht sein Mündel Margaret, die gleichzeitig seine Verlobte ist. Sie wohnt mit ihrer ca. 10 Jahre älteren Freundin Susie Boyd zusammen, die wie sie selbst in Paris Kunst studiert. Es herrscht heile Welt, das Paar ist glücklich, die alleinstehende Susie durch ein Erbe gut versorgt. Auftritt Oliver Haddo, ein weitgereister, arroganter Zeitgenosse, der angeblich magische Kräfte besitzt. Doch inwiefern stellt er eine Bedrohung f ...more
Ali
Jan 25, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is certainly a novel worth persevering with. The beginning is dare I say dull, and for a little while it drags, but then suddenly it develops into a truly gripping read. The awfully sinister Oliver Haddo is a sly practitioner of the occult, who appears to use his skill to ruin the lives of a couple of good and innocent souls. An excellent read.
Ms.pegasus
Jul 20, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ms.pegasus by: local book club selection
Shelves: fiction
As I read this book, published in 1908, I was reminded of Bram Stoker's DRACULA (1897). Both feature victimized young women made sympathetic by their Victorian perfection: demure, passive and virtuous. Both feature an evil entity with hypnotic powers applied to arouse dangerous sexual appetites.

Unlike Stoker's book, THE MAGICIAN's plot moves forward at a lugubrious pace. The first quarter of the book is devoted to introducing a number of less than riveting characters. Margaret Dauncey is engage
...more
Alexandra
Mit Freude habe ich dieses Buch in einer Lesegruppe begonnen, soll die Hauptfigur ja dem legendären und spannenden Aleister Crowley nachgezeichnet sein. Nach Beendigung der Lektüre bin ich mehr als enttäuscht und muss mir hier durchaus den Hinweis verkneifen, der sicher als goldene Regel jedem Jungautor auf dem Weg mitgegeben wird: "Junge schreib über Sachen, die Du verstehst bzw. die Du selbst erlebt hast."

Die Hauptakteure erinnern fast ein bisschen an Dostojewskis Adeligensalons - Bürgerliche,
...more
Liz Janet
Sep 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
“Yet magic is no more the art of employing consciously invisible means to produce visible effects. Will, love, and imagination are magic powers that everyone possesses; and whoever knows how to develop them to their fullest extent is a magician. Magic has but one dogma, namely, that the seen is the measure of the unseen.”
I think this is my favourite Maugham, a book about the creepy figure that was Oliver Haddo aka Aleister Crowley, in the early 1900's, between London and Paris.( Also, am I the
...more
Marko Vasić
Jan 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller, drama
Učmalost salonskih zabava, psihopata i manipulator, okultni rituali i nekromantija, samo su neka obeležja ove novele. Sa gledišta savremenih shvatanja, malo je naivno i prevaziđeno postavljen tok narativa, ali to se ne može zameriti s obzirom na datum objavljivanja. Niti je decidna fikcija, niti je horor, niti gotička novela. Jednostavno - jezovita proza. Psihološka tortura od strane "čarobnjaka" koji se iznenada pojavio niotkuda u jednom gradu Engleske i manipulacijom postavio glasine da kruže ...more
Kaloyana
Mar 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
Не съм доволна от тази история на Моъм. Един магьосник прави експерименти за създаване на хора. За целта прецаква всичко живо по пътя си. Доста противни неща имаше и като цяло не беше интересно, нито силно психологическо. Силата на Моъм е в историите, където може много да се научи за взаимоотношенията между хората в различни житейски етапи и ситуации. Това ми липсваше. И макар да не е съвсем зле тази книга ѝ давам 2 звездички, защото Моъм винаги ме е карал да немея и да го чета с кеф и нетърпени ...more
Laura
Apr 16, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has a very slow start but then picks up into something horrifying. I just wanted it all to be over. It's so dark and freaky. The descriptions have you holding your breathe for it to end quickly. If you like horror then highly recommend. If you are squeamish then may not be of your liking. First time reading this author and he can make your skin crawl. One of the nastiest antagonist in literature.
Paul Christensen
Jun 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Atmospheric horror story whose villain is a caricature of Crowley. Very readable, page-turning.

Greybeard by Paul Christensen
BAM The Bibliomaniac
There was a little more bizarre than what I expected from Maugham. I wish I had read this at Halloween. The villain is absolutely repulsive.
Osiris Oliphant
2001-07-20
Please introduce yourself, Mister Haddo!
The rabid results of a charlatan's inkling of matters occultic, and a young impressionable literary aspirant's efforts to champion intellectual Parisian bohemianism vivdly evokes the wondrous conversations he smuggled out of the "Le Chat Blanc", a philosophical refuge for learned gents on the Rue d'Odessa in Paris circa the 1900's, here fictionalized & crowned "Chien Noir" in this intriguing & evocative novel. "Oliver Haddo", the sinister
...more
Joseph Grinton
Maugham's caricature of Aleister Crowley (Oliver Haddo) is brilliant and, no doubt, accurate. Maugham says in his preface that Crowley recognised himself. I'm sure he did. He was probably even flattered in spite of Maugham's blatantly unflattering portrait. Maugham says he never read the review by 'Oliver Haddo' (Aleister Crowley) in Vanity Fair and wishes he had. I have read it and enjoyed it immensely. I love it when two very smart men clash. Maugham has definitely researched his subject and g ...more
Marts  (Thinker)
Feb 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Laura
I adored this book. I could visualize every scene and when you realize that Maugham had actually lived with Aleister Crowley it makes the book even more terrifying. The scene toward the end of the book with the hommunculi was completely prescient. It perfectly predicted our fears of human clones.
Margaret
This is all melodrama, little characterization, and overwritten (which Maugham himself acknowledges in his introduction). There's magnetism to the title character, based on Aleister Crowley, but the other characters are so cardboardish that I didn't much care what happened to them.
Armin
Jun 30, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Kein Schriftsteller beherrschte sein Handwerk besser steht auf der Rückseite meine Ausgabe, die in der Bibliothek der Süddeutschen Zeitung erschienen ist. Allerdings meinte Raymond Chandler damit sicherlich nicht den Verfasser des Magiers, denn diese von ein paar schwächlichen eigenen Einfällen zusammengehaltene Montage taugt nicht einmal als Gesellenstück und verhält sich zu seinen späteren Romanen wie Haddos Homunculi zu echten Menschen. Im Hinblick auf das Gesamtwerk gibt es zwar gewisse stru ...more
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Reading the 20th ...: The Magician by W. Somerset Maugham (August 2018) 71 27 Nov 26, 2018 06:52PM  
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William Somerset Maugham was born in Paris in 1874. He spoke French even before he spoke a word of English, a fact to which some critics attribute the purity of his style.

His parents died early and, after an unhappy boyhood, which he recorded poignantly in Of Human Bondage, Maugham became a qualified physician. But writing was his true vocation. For ten years before his first success, he almost l
...more
“Yet magic is no more the art of employing consciously invisible means to produce visible effects. Will, love, and imagination are magic powers that everyone possesses; and whoever knows how to develop them to their fullest extent is a magician. Magic has but one dogma, namely, that the seen is the measure of the unseen.” 14 likes
“He was no longer the awkward man of social intercourse, who was sufficiently conscious of his limitations not to talk of what he did not understand, and sincere enough not to express admiration for what he did not like.” 1 likes
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