Do you believe in magic? That’s one of life’s golden questions isn’t it dear reader? Does magic exist? Do our eyes dare deceive us or is it all a trick of the mind? To believe in magic is magic in itself, right? Make sense? If a child sees a magician pull a rabbit out of thin air, does it make it less magical because an adult noticed a concealed compartment where the rabbit was hiding? It’s still magic in the eyes of the child, so surely it must be magic? AHHH so many questions!
Today on the blog I am reviewing Magic (Published March 6, 2020) By Mike Russell. A big thank you to the publishers Strange Books for my copy to review, always appreciated. This is not my first encounter with Russell’s writing as I have reviewed most if not all of his books. You can read my last review here.
Does magic exist? Charlie Watson thinks it does and he wants to tell you all about it. Before he was famous, Charlie Watson decided to write a book to share with the world everything he knew about magic. This is that book. You will discover why Charlie always wears a top hat, why his house is full of rabbits, how magic wands are made, how the universe began, and much, much more. Plus, for the first time, Charlie tells of the strange events that led him from England to the Arctic, to perform the extraordinary feat that made him famous, and he finally reveals whether that extraordinary feat was magic or whether it was just a trick.
About The Author
Mike Russell was born in 1973. He grew up in the small village of Pulborough in the south of England. As a child, he enjoyed daydreaming, art and writing strange stories. As an adult, he enjoys daydreaming, art and writing strange stories.
Mike Russell’s books have been described as Strange Fiction, Magical Realism, Surrealism, Weird Fiction, Weird Lit, Absurdist Fiction, Metaphysical Fiction, Fantasy Fiction… but he just likes to call them Strange Books.
The narrative follows Charlie and his strong belief in the existence of magic. Charlie was adopted by Manzini the Marvellous after the death of his parents. His parents were horrible to him, they didn’t send him to school, told him not to cry and beat him. Manzini the Marvellous taught him to read, write and how magicians turned visible to show magic to everyone. After Manzini the Marvellous dies Charlie is left alone, apart from Mrs. Murphy who does his food shopping for him. After visiting a magic show by The Great Alfonzo, Charlie falls in love with the magician’s assistant called Lilian. The events that follow force Charlie to question everything he thought he knew and believed in. He goes into himself and feels lost, confused, sinking into a state of depression and uncertainty. He starts to feel the pull and wonders what is even real anymore. It’s a gripping story that tests the limits of one’s belief and purpose in life. Russell has flipped Charlie’s world in an instant and the results are explosive to read.
Charlie is a slightly odd but likeable character to follow. He speaks directly to the reader about magic and believes strongly that it does exist. His anecdotes are amusing and fun making you question if there is a small possibility in what he says. Russell has portrayed Charlie with childlike qualities such as his innocence and vulnerability about the world around him. Charlie himself is not a magician although he dresses like one. His house is full of rabbits and his favourite type of magic is levitation. What’s interesting to read is how simple and straight forward Charlie sees the world. He doesn’t even consider that magic is all a trick and takes everything that Manzini the Marvellous has taught him at face value. If someone is crying Charlie assumes that an invisible magician is pulling blue coloured hankies out of their sleeves. If you are unhappy he would suggest to go see a magic show. In ways you feel sorry for Charlie as he has lived a sheltered life. But the more you learn about him, the more you see that he is content in his ways. We should be happy that he is headstrong in his belief in magic. There is a lot one can learn from their experience with Charlie, a lot.
As is the norm with Russell’s writing he conjures a bizarre and interesting world. His take on life before the universe existed was a surreal experience to read. He writes how it was a giant black upside down top hat surrounded by nothing but empty blackness. The reader is then treated to images of flying magicians heading towards earth to watch the dinosaurs and our evolution. Russell’s strange, quirky style is visible throughout and adds to the story. An acquired taste that may not appeal to all but is always worth a sample.
I give Magic By Mike Russell a Four out of Five paw rating.
Prepare to be dazzled and step into a world bursting with magic. You will see and hear things you daren’t think possible. Russell’s writing is bold and out there, pushing the boundaries and taking risks where most writers wouldn’t dare. He enchants you and draws you into a world like no other. It’s interesting, different and simply breathtaking.
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