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Mr. Sebastian and the Negro Magician (thoughts)

June 16, 2009

Mr. Sebastian and the Negro MagicianThis is what love is, of course, this second sight, this spyglass to the soul.

She was like a poem. There was nothing extraneous about her.

“Luckily, Mr. Mulvaney, I had a home. And how fine a thing is that-a home. A place that’s always here for me to com back to. That’s all a person really needs, I think. As long as that’s out there, this haven, you can afford to make a couple of mistakes. When you have a home, mistakes have time to turn into blessings.”

All excerpted from Mr. Sebastian and the Negro Magician.

Honestly, here’s what was going through my head after I stayed up past my bedtime and turned the last page of Daniel Wallace’s Mr. Sebastian and the Negro Magician.

OMG! I can’t believe how good this was! Everyone should go read Daniel Wallace! I should put the rest of his books on hold! OMG! This is what reading should be! How can people not read?!

But that isn’t a very coherent way to review a book, now is it?

Here’s the most delicious aspect of reading this book: Wallace is a damn good storyteller. So when his characters tell stories, they truly are mesmerising. I don’t know how he does it, but the pacing, the images, the words themselves…everything is simply perfect. I was almost afraid to breathe, in case I broke the spell.

southernreadingWe know from the beginning that the book is a collection of information from various people who knew Henry Walker (the Negro Magician). So different chapters are told in different voices, and Wallace is great at differentiating them. It’s one of his strengths. I can’t tell you too much about the plot, but it does exist and it has a strong driving force. The book is about unravelling Henry’s life, slowly but surely. He’s had a crazy adventurous life, though, and much of it is told via his circus freak friends, so I promise you won’t be bored. Instead you’ll be like me, torn between turning the pages as fast as you can to find out what happens and wanting to savour each wonderful word.

The characters are the kind you remember forever. There’s an ‘Ossified Girl’ who was in love with Henry, and tells the story of why he could never even want to love her. There’s a private investigator who finds himself apologising to clients for not looking like Humphrey Bogart. And at the heart of it all is Henry, who used to do real magic but now fumbles the simplest card trick, Mr. Sebastian, who taught Henry magic long ago, and Hannah, Henry’s beautiful, ethereal little sister.

And oh, the themes the book explores. Love, hate, how the past can haunt your present and destroy your future, the connections people forge, and of course magic.

Go read this book. Right now. I promise you will love it.

(P.S.: Have you asked a question to help me write a review yet? I’ll love you forever if you do!)

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22 Comments leave one →
  1. June 16, 2009 10:38 am

    I love your “OMG” paragraph for a book review! Because really, it gets the message across quite well!

  2. June 16, 2009 10:51 am

    I’ve had this book on my tbr list for awhile now, but have never heard anyone review it. I’m so glad you thought it was good! that makes me much more inclined to want to read it soon.

  3. June 16, 2009 11:27 am

    Well your OMG! convinced me! On to the wishlist it goes…

  4. stacybuckeye permalink
    June 16, 2009 11:34 am

    Very nice review. From the OMG to the obvious thoughfulness of the book, this one sopunds like a good one.

  5. June 16, 2009 1:10 pm

    You’ve convinced me. Haven’t heard of Daniel Wallace but I’m off to look him up at amazon. Thanks for the enthusiastic review.

  6. June 16, 2009 4:07 pm

    Great review! Thanks! I’ll have to pick this one up.

  7. June 16, 2009 5:27 pm

    I sooo agree with you that everyone should read Daniel Wallace!

  8. June 16, 2009 6:32 pm

    I really like the quotes you have pulled out and you are obviously quite enthusiastic about the book..I’ll definitely keep it in mind!

  9. June 16, 2009 10:56 pm

    I’m so glad you loved this book! It’s been on my list since Daniel Wallace came to my little library. You’re review just pushed it to the top of the list.

    Thanks, Eva!

  10. June 17, 2009 10:38 am

    Rhapsody, I’m glad you liked it! :)

    Amanda, you should definitely read it.

    Bart, awesome. :D

    Stacy, thanks!

    Booklogged, yay!

    Amy, can’t wait to see your review. :D

    Robin, isn’t he just awesome?!

    Amy, great!

    Nik, I’m still So Jealous that you met Wallace. :p

  11. June 17, 2009 6:03 pm

    I am also so thrilled you reviewed this book. Daniel Wallace is such a terrific author and I adored this book and I’m glad you are spreading the word. :D

  12. June 18, 2009 4:05 am

    Putting it on my to read list right now! Love the quote!

  13. June 18, 2009 6:28 am

    OMG! I have to read Daniel Wallace!!! Love it! :D

  14. June 18, 2009 8:15 am

    Update: I bought this book yesterday at the PX!

  15. June 18, 2009 10:43 am

    I’ve had this on my book mooch wishlist for a while – your review has persuaded me to go and find out if the library has a copy and if they don’t go and buy a copy – thanks!

  16. June 18, 2009 11:18 am

    This sounds so good. I loved Big Fish, which I’m pretty sure Wallace wrote, as well. I’m adding this to my list immediately! Thanks, Eva.

  17. June 18, 2009 11:25 am

    Icedream, he is terrific, isn’t he!

    Claire, great! :) Those were three different quotes from the book..sorry if I didn’t make that clear.

    Maggie, lol; sometimes I just love a book so much I can’t help myself. :D

    Nik, that’s so cool they carried it at the PX! It must have a pretty fancy selection. :)

    Jackie, great!

    Lisa, Big Fish was Wallace’s first book. :)

  18. June 22, 2009 3:11 pm

    LOL! I love when I finish a book and can only think of a coherent way to recommend it as,”OKAY, THIS BOOK WAS AWESOME. JUST GO GET IT!” Definitely sounds like a good read, and I enjoyed your review. I’ll be looking for it!

  19. June 23, 2009 10:38 am

    I knooooow! The whole world should love him as much as we do :P It seriously makes me sad that he doesn’t get more recognition. Anyway…now thanks to you I feel like reading this again.

  20. iwriteinbooks permalink
    July 3, 2009 9:25 am

    Oh I love LOVE Daniel Wallace! This looks fantastic.

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