Karen Runge's Reviews > Adventures of the Great Marlo & The Blue Pearl

Adventures of the Great Marlo & The Blue Pearl by Gary Markwick
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Gary Markwick, besides being a fascinating man in his own right, has the kind of pedigree fantasy novels are made of. He grew up in a family of performers (a mix of mentalists, escapologists, illusionists, magicians and general pick-a-card pranksters), and has gone on to explore (and teach) New Age Spiritualism along with ensuring his own prowess as a world-renowned palmist. Unusual, no? So this book of his is rare: it details the life and adventures of his maternal grandfather, David AKA Duncan AKA The Great Marlo. The book spans David’s (Duncan’s? Marlo’s?) early escape to join the circus as a young boy, his adventures as a stowaway, his escapades in pre and post-war America, and his eventual success performing as The Great Marlo (alongside his daughter Georgina—Gary’s mother). And because circus life, slipping out of straitjackets, and using card tricks to disarm Italian hoodlums isn’t enough, a large section of the book details the Buddhist lessons David (Duncan? Marlo?) learned at the circus as a young boy, as taught by his first mentor, The Great Marko.

Wait. We mentioned illusionists, didn’t we? I did? Or he did? Well, somebody did! And this is also a large part of the story. In the first chapter, Gary tells us upfront: “This is where it all began, the stories, the adventures, mysticism, magic and spiritual experiences of The Great Marlo. Some of which I know to be true and others, well, I will leave that to your imagination and for you to decide.”

Keep that in mind. The adventures of the Great Marko (not Marlo—Marko: Marlo’s first mentor) take up a substantial part of the book. This is docu-fantasy; involving wizards, magic stones, desert rescues and manifesting Buddhist masters. At the end of that, the more spiritually inclined may want to believe all of it, and the skeptics may have damaged their optic nerves with all the eye-rolling. Just remember, Gary told you what to expect. Take what you want and move on, because this is only one aspect of the story and the spiritual insights peppered throughout will (should?) hit their mark with you as and when they’re meant to.

Being a Spiritual teacher, it’s clear that Gary didn’t want to just write about the life of a magician, or even just his grandfather; instead he uses this as a crutch to detail the importance of singularity in a changing world, persistence in the face of life’s cruelties, knowing yourself and being open to the world. As Gary mentions in the Epilogue: “Everything that exists is as it is and as it should be.” He then encourages us to mindfully follow our karmic paths.

It isn’t all smooth reading and the editing isn’t what it should have been, but if you’re into New Age beliefs and/or have an interest in the kinds of adventures only a family of performers can have, you’re likely to enjoy this book.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
July 10, 2015 – Finished Reading
July 12, 2015 – Shelved

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