Dan Schwent's Reviews > The Magician

The Magician by W. Somerset Maugham
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really liked it
bookshelves: 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 seduction of Margaret was a little hard to read about. Arthur, Susie, and Margaret were also well drawn, flawed characters.

For a novel written in 1908, The Magician was surprisingly readable compared to many books of that era. The writing was lush and descriptive without being overly flowery and still felt pretty accessible. Haddon's occult knowledge and abilities were also very well done, not terribly flashy and somewhat believable. I have to think the way magic was depicted influence Susan Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.

The only strike against the book that I can readily come up with is the ending. I felt it was a little on the anti-climatic side and kind of a downer.

The Magician is a surprisingly effective horror novel for being over one hundred years old. I may have to give old Maugham another shot some day soon. Four out of five stars.
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Reading Progress

February 17, 2015 – Shelved
February 17, 2015 – Shelved as: the-freebie-queue
March 2, 2015 – Started Reading
March 5, 2015 –
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March 6, 2015 –
49.0%
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March 6, 2015 –
81.0%
March 6, 2015 –
84.0%
March 6, 2015 – Shelved as: 2015
March 6, 2015 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-10 of 10 (10 new)

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message 1: by T.W. (new)

T.W. Garland Hope you are enjoying it. It is an interesting mixture. It seemed a very 19th century novel while also being a little fantasy and science fiction.


message 2: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent I like it. Oliver Haddo better die before this is over!


message 3: by Mara (new)

Mara "a self-styled magician and pompous ass" it seems these traits pair nicely...


message 4: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent Mara wrote: ""a self-styled magician and pompous ass" it seems these traits pair nicely..."

Indeed they do.


message 5: by Linda (new) - added it

Linda Seems really interesting! I will add it to my books!


message 6: by Ɗẳɳ 2.☊ (last edited Mar 06, 2015 08:27AM) (new)

Ɗẳɳ  2.☊ "The only strike against the book that I can readily come up with against this book is the ending."

Sorry my processor highlighted this phrase, and said, "consider revising." Maybe I need a firmware update?


message 7: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Theaker Oliver Haddo turned up in a League of Extraordinary Gentlemen story - I'd wondered where he was from.


message 8: by Jack (new)

Jack I like the Maugham.


message 9: by Campbell (new)

Campbell Maugham's short stories are particularly excellent. His collection "The World Over" is definitely with seeking out.


message 10: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent Campbell wrote: "Maugham's short stories are particularly excellent. His collection "The World Over" is definitely with seeking out."

I may have to check that one out.


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