Harry Houdini was once the most famous person on the planet. He is the man who can make the impossible seem real. So when, on the most extraordinary night of his life, Martin Strauss accidentally kills the great magician, his own life is turned upside down. He loses his home, the woman he loves and every hope he once had. Now his doctor has informed him he is losing his mind too, and Martin decides it is time to set the record straight with Houdini's daughter, Alice.
But this record will not straighten easily. A lifetime of sleight of hand takes some explaining...
Life and death, memory and forgetting, the thrill of escape: Steven Galloway has unleashed the power of a luminous imagination in this dazzling new novel.
Read Caroline Baum's Review
The Confabulist is also full of intrigue and espionage, but set mostly in the 20s when Harry Houdini transfixed audiences around the world with his feats of escapology. What is perhaps less well known (at least to me) is the fact that fledgling intelligence agencies in various countries thought he might be useful to their covert operations. How he gets involved with the imperial Russian household and extricates himself from some near fatal tight spots makes for high drama. The traditional bookshop, like the tiger, is an endangered species. Maybe that is why it is enjoying a 'moment' in contemporary fiction as rarity confers mystique: there is almost a 'bookshop genre' in literary fiction now, with clever narrative puzzles constructed around erudite clues in secret tomes. The bookshop has become our favourite location of knowledge, of stories behind stories, and also the domain of eccentric characters no longer confined to the pages of books but as living breathing figures hiding in the backroom, often reluctant to part with their stock.
About the Author
Steven Galloway was born in Vancouver in 1975. He is the author of three prestigious novels including The Cellist of Sarajevo, which was longlisted for the 2012 IMPAC Dublin literary Award and has been translated into numerous languages.
'A brilliant novel, and one that virtually demands multiple readings to pick up all the subtleties (especially concerning the end of the book, and enough said about that).' starred review Booklist 'Clever and entertaining, The Confabulist is a novel that takes great joy in exploring the art of illusion, saving its final trick to play on its readers.' -- Hoopla 'Like a good magic trick, The Confabulist is so cleverly constructed that Galloway leaves you wondering: How did he do it?...It's a beautifully wrought novel about the grip of illusion and the way we tell ourselves stories to seek redemption, or forgiveness at the very least.' Washington Post '[Galloway's] explorations of the relationships between truth and illusion, fiction and reality, need and conscience are stimulating and affecting...An entertaining fictional reflection on the 20th century's most famous magician.' Kirkus Reviews 'A thoughtful, intriguing book and certainly not all smoke and mirrors.' Otago Daily Times 'Astonishing, intriguing and marvellous.' Good Reading 'In this gripping, multi-layered account of two lonely men haunted by the decisions they make, Steven Galloway has exquisitely crafted a powerful play on perception and regret-an ending that's pure magic.' North and South 'A cleverly constructed novel, hard to put down, and just as hard to forget. It's a fascinating meditation on identity and memory and the line between illusion and reality that keeps haunting you, even when you think you know how the trick has been done.' Weekend Herald
Number Of Pages: 320
Published: 28th May 2014
Publisher: Text Publishing Co
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.4 x 2.4
Weight (kg): 0.42