I just recently finished reading W. Somerset Maugham's The Magician, and I am wondering why I haven't read it before. With as much as I've enjoyed things like Frankenstein and Dracula, this one was sure to be an enjoyable read for me. And it was.
The Magician puts together a nice tale of a creepy character messing up the lives of the seemingly normal characters around him. It is a nicely put together story, and sufficiently disturbing. I like the interest in questions of science and magic, and their place in this modern world we've been living in for over a century now. I like how the concerns of the day (it was written in 1908) still resonate today. It is fun to consider the questions raised by the text, and to mull over how they have changed — and how they haven't — today.
I didn't really get into the ending of The Magician, and found it seemed a bit too "built up" for a very predictable ending. I thought that the discoveries our heroes made during the climactic final scene were well-done, and after that... well, I didn't think it needed to be written so melodramatically, I suppose.
But then, that is always half the fun of these sorts of stories. The Gothic telling, the overwrought emotions. It all comes together, and it works.
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