Review: The clever, smart and imaginative The Magician’s Lie

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MagiciansLieI have no idea why it took me so long to read Greer Macallister‘s The Magician’s Lie, but am so glad I finally did. Because, yes, it’s pretty magical.

Forgive the cliché, but I’m excited and can’t help myself. It’s been a long time since I’ve read a novel this entertaining, and I want you to read it, too.

Smart, imaginative and set in small-town Iowa at the turn of the 20th century, The Magician’s Lie tells the story of the Amazing Arden–the most famous female illusionist of her day. She’s renowned for her trick of sawing a man in half. But on the night that begins in Chapter 1, Arden exchanges her saw for a fire ax. Soon after the show, Arden’s dead husband and the ax are found underneath the collapsed stage.

Police Officer Virgil Holt is sure Arden is guilty. After a night of drinking to try to forget the injury that could cost him his career, his wife and his life, Virgil catches Arden trying to leave town. But the story she tells as the two sit alone in the police station makes Virgil begin wonder whether perhaps there’s a way they can both be free of their burdens.

Publisher’s Weekly gave The Magician’s Lie a starred review, and with good reason. Colored with meticulous research and generous, well-placed details, the novel is clever, suspenseful, well-crafted and highly original.

GreerLast month, Literary New England had the pleasure of hosting a terrific live Tweet chat and book giveaway with Greer. If you go to Twitter and type #LNEChat into the Search box, you can find and read our conversation, which was made that much more fun by all those who joined in.

Here’s a short excerpt of our #LNEChat:

LNE: Is it cliche to say writing a novel is like making magic?

GM: Lots of similarities btw the novelist’s art & the magician’s. We lie to a willing audience. … And if I do my job, you feel like the people are real, even though you know they’re not.

LNE: Did you take any magic classes to help you write The Magicians Lie?

GM: I tried to learn some magic, but it turns out, I’m terrible! That’s what’s great about words. They always work.

LNE: Please talk about your protagonist, Arden. Is she anything like you?

GM: Not much like me, really! She’s much more interesting. Me, I’m awfully normal.

LNE: Any advice for aspiring novelists?

GM: Hard work won’t guarantee you get published, but giving up guarantees you won’t. Keep going.

LNE: You Tweet a lot and have a strong Facebook presence. You enjoy interacting with fans?

GM: Oh gosh yes. I love readers THE MOST. Best thing about being a writer. (That & other writers, who are also readers.)

– Cindy Wolfe Boynton

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