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Magic Time

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  312 Ratings  ·  55 Reviews
Born and raised in Mississippi, Carter Ransom came to New York as a young man and has risen to become a columnist with a major city newspaper. But when his life in New York falls apart and he heads back home to recover, the still-live conflicts of his youth in the civil rights era rise up all around him again. A twenty-five-year-old murder case has just been reopened, a ch ...more
Paperback, 592 pages
Published June 12th 2007 by Picador (first published 2005)
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I really liked The Bridge so was looking forward to reading this. But I'm about 2/3 the way through and a bit disappointed. It just doesn't flow as well for me as Marlette's first novel did. The characters bunch up and are hard for me to keep straight, and I am not as convinced of them as I was in The Bridge. I may put this aside and come back to it later. The subject is not easy but is of interest and is not what is putting me off on the book. Must just be my mood. And of course I feel guilty b ...more
May 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Magic Time follows Carter Ransom, a New York transplant and Journalist who finds himself back in his Mississippi hometown as he recovers from an emotional breakdown. While there, a brash young prosecutor reopens a decades old civil rights bombing/murder case that changed a young Carter's life forever.

The trial shines a light on civil rights era wounds that have never truly healed. A middle-aged Carter still suffers the violent and sudden loss of the woman he loved. The relationship between Cart
Jun 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels
The death of Doug Marlette is a real loss. He only wrote two books; this is the better one.
I don’t find myself having much sympathy with his main characters. But I do find the plot lines and issues addressed intriguing. On the surface Magic Time address civil rights and love against its backdrop. As in so many good books, personal growth and realization is also addressed.
The plot runs quickly. The characters are interesting. Marlette adroitly handles the foreknowledge that one of the main charac
I tried reading this book when it first came out because I really enjoyed Marlette's first book "The Bridge." For some reason, I couldn't get into it at that point, but I picked it up again recently thinking I'd give it another shot.

It still flopped. Don't get me wrong, Marlette's writing is gorgeous and he knows how to set up descriptions very vividly, but the plot was all over the place. It kept bouncing from past to present without a smooth segue into either one, plus there were way too many
Feb 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
2/21/08 - great book! This book is both entertaining and informational about an important era of time. The love story is endearing and the strength and courage that it took to stand up for civil rights awed me.

I'm about 10 chapters into this book and I'm hooked. The book is set in the early 90's and the summer of 1964-the civil rights movement. The story is told by the main character, Carter Ransom. Cater lives in NYC, but is originally from Mississippi. You learn about the civil rights movemen
Feb 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
I loved Doug Marlette’s first book “The Bridge” so eagerly grabbed his next book “Magic Time” at a library book sale. It is about the re-opening of a Mississippi church bombing case from 1964. The story alternates between events in 1964 and the present day. The main character, journalist Carter Ransom, has returned to Troy, Mississippi to recover from a nervous breakdown. His father was the judge during the first trial of KKK members and Carter’s girl friend was one of the victims. He wrestles w ...more
Jul 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Author Doug Marlette was/is one of my favorite authors. Having read The Bridge, I was kept alert and challenged reading Magic Time. I regret that he is no longer with us. Books offer an escape and sometimes a chance to learn, in this case about the "darker colors of history. He shows every kind of Southerner from the noblest to the worst," quoted reviewer Mark Childress on the back cover. Marlette had the capacity to apply his satire and political insight to the craft of creating a novel that ta ...more
Gail Richmond
Jun 14, 2016 rated it liked it
A fascinating read woven around the Freedom Riders, the KKK, and the fight for Civil Rights of the 1960sas well as the threads that reach out to contemporary times across the years, Marlette's novel is detailed and well-written. This is the type of book I would usually love, but it is just a bit more history and a little too much detail to make it a rave review for me.

Still, if you are interested in the ties between today's problems with rights: racism, religion, and money--Magic Time has a lot
Amy Bradley
Jul 31, 2010 rated it really liked it
This book was a suggested read after I completed The Help. The book goes back and forth from the present back to the mid 1960s and Freedom Summer. Carter Ransom, a journalist, has a breakdown and returns to Mississippi to heal. The wounds of his past are opened again when a civil rights murder case is reopened. The book presented a different perspective of race relations during the 1960s. The twists and turns continued to the very end. It was definitely a page turner that I did not want to put d ...more
Apr 24, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: recentfiction
this novel exceeded my expectations in almost every aspect. great pacing, i really moved through it. the plot was interesting -- contrasting one person's experience with modern terrorism and the terrorism of the Old South during the civil rights movement. the characters were well defined, engaging and easy to keep track of despite the large number of them. there were a few journalism faces i recognized, but i didn't feel that it detracted from the story.

my only quibble was the climax. a little t
Dec 29, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Debbie, Lalla
Recommended to Marjorie by: Debbie
I enjoyed this book. Marlette writes very simliar to Pat Conroy. This book was basised in the civi rights era, which was interesting to learn more about that era. However in the same respect it got a little cumbersome with history at times. "Magic Time" is a long book and takes a commitive reader but it does read at a fast pace and is filled with some suspence, law and rommance along the way. It has some unexpective twists and turns and definitly keeps you interested. I am looking forward to rea ...more
Aug 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
Magic Time
Doug Marlette
Carter Ransom is a NYC newspaper journalist who has an emotional breakdown after his girlfriend and her son narrowly escape a terrorist bombing. Carter returns home to Mississippi where 25 years his first love, a civil rights activist working to register black voters in 1964, was killed by the KKK. The story goes back and forth between the present and the past and was very interesting and intelligent.
Mary Baker
Jul 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I thought this book was very good and had a hard time putting it down--stayed up until early hours of the morning finishing it. The time shifts between a terrorist bombing in New York City back to a church burning in Troy, Mississippi in 1964. The plot centers around convicting an ex Ku Klux Klan grand master of ordering the church burning and the murders of four Civil Rights workers in that church at the time of the burning. Lots of buried secrets are dug up and exposed.
Oct 16, 2007 rated it it was ok
Disappointing. It had about eleven different stories going on at once. There was so much drama and so many characters I had a difficult time keeping it all straight. It also time-jumps quite a bit.

The underlying main story is strong and some of the passages are beautiful. It gets cluttered with extra movie-type drama though. This book needed another round of editing. Simplified, it could have been amazing.
Sep 27, 2010 rated it liked it
Sprinkled with flashbacks, Marlette’s story ties modern terrorism to the KKK activities of the 1960s and slowly unravels the deeper truths of Carter Ransom’s life including his loss of Sarah Solomon, a civil rights worker who happens to be the love of his life, his father’s long-ago relationship with the mother of his high school sweetheart, the tragic birth of the brother he never really knew, and the secret lives of many of Troy, Mississippi’s elite citizens.
Holly Pedneau
Sep 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I adore this novel so much I own several different copies and loan it out to new people I meet in life. When people ask me what genre I love to read I always have a hard time answering that question. I love mystery. I love historical fiction. I love biographies. This book blends all my favorite elements into one awesome story line. I cried. I laughed. I immediately got online to find more of his books only to find out he had passed on. I highly recommend this book to anyone.
Amy Russell
Dec 05, 2012 rated it liked it
While the story reads like a romantic novel from the Old South, the story recounts a Southern town's history of the Klan and some of it's leading character's involvement in its activities. While it's an easy novel to read and has a romantic sub-plot to entice you, the main theme is the disgusting behavior of some of our founding fathers in the South.
May 04, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Marlette is best known for his political cartoons but I liked this novel built around a trial 25 years after the murders in Mississippi of civil rights workers during the l960's. Follows a young reporter from a small southern town who witnesses and suffers through the civil rights movement. Some interesting ideas about the "southern" mind set.
May 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
Feels like a good time to read a book about civil rights. I'm about half way through this and it is a solid page turner.

Now that I'm finished - and I did put it down a bit, I'd say it was a little predictable, and the parts that weren't' predictable were over the top implausible, if that makes sense. I don't want to give spoilers but it was "eh."
Léa Touch Book
Feb 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing : it describes a part of the History of the United States. This perpetual fight in order to obtain civil rights is moving and fascinating! The dialogues are excellent!
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
I liked this work of historical fiction set in the Civil Rights movement in the South. Although sometimes I couldn't keep up with the names of some of the minor characters and their role in the story.
Betsy O'connor
Feb 03, 2013 rated it liked it
I absolutely loved this book, except for about 10 pages near the end, which were just too unbelievable and overly theatrical. If you can ignore them, I'd recommend this book. It's a shame this author died so young
Jan 04, 2008 rated it liked it
Overall, I really like this book, although there were parts that did really drag on. Still, it was a good fictionalized account of Freedom Summer during the Civil Rights Era in the South. I may actually include this in my syllabus next time I teach social movements.
Jul 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
This story takes place during the civil rights era. It educated me in more detail about some of the events that occurred during that period of time. It is very well written with believable characters and events.
Nov 26, 2008 rated it liked it
This was a gripping story and seamlessly blended past and present as the Carter had flashbacks to that summer in 1964. The characters were well-drawn and likeable, although since it is a southern novel, there is a large cast of characters.

Benjamin Cornwell
Nov 09, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dnf
Okay, so I never finished this book, and I'll admit it was far from up my alley...but I really didn't like it. Not saying I wouldn't recommend it but if you're asking me its slow moving and far from the page burner described by the reviews.
Amanda Markert
Apr 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
A solid fictional novel about the civil rights era. An easy read and a page turner.
Toby Schonfeld
It is never a good sign when I have to repeatedly force myself to keep reading a book club book. Skip this one.
Mar 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
Another good one from Marlette. Set in the south during civil rights clashes.
Jul 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
enjoyed this one very much
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