Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.
So, as I type this post, I'm freezing my little fingers off. Yes, my friends, Winter has arrived in all its blustery glory and all at once. It went from 80's to 40's (or lower) in the course of 24 hours. No warning. No time to adjust. Oh, and did I mention it's RAINING? Yeah, raining. So we're talking WET and COLD...aka miserable! I mean, I love the cold...it's about time...but the wet, I could do without. Anywho, you didn't drop in to get a weather update, so I'll get back to the original plan for the day...
Today, we welcome TLC Book Tours for a stop along their latest blogosphere endeavor featuring a work of Fiction via Atria Books. It's the author's first novel, but it's already toting the "international bestseller" moniker (way to go!) and you're about to see why. Ready or not, here comes today's book of choice...
About the book...
A deeply moving, humorous story of a boy who believes in everything and an old man who believes in nothing.
In 1934, a rabbi’s son in Prague joins a traveling circus, becomes a magician, and rises to fame under the stage name the Great Zabbatini just as Europe descends into World War II. When Zabbatini is discovered to be a Jew, his battered trunk full of magic tricks becomes his only hope of surviving the concentration camp where he is sent.
Seven decades later in Los Angeles, ten-year-old Max finds a scratched-up LP that captured Zabbatini performing his greatest tricks. But the track in which Zabbatini performs his love spell—the spell Max believes will keep his disintegrating family together—is damaged beyond repair. Desperate for a solution, Max seeks out the now elderly, cynical magician and begs him to perform his magic on his parents. As the two develop an unlikely friendship, Moshe discovers that Max and his family have a surprising connection to the dark, dark days the Great Zabbatini experienced during the war.
Recalling the melancholy humor of Isaac Bashevis Singer and the heartbreaking pathos of the film Life is Beautiful—this outstanding first novel is at once an irreverent yet deeply moving story about a young boy who believes in magic and a disillusioned old man who believes in nothing, as well as a gripping and heartfelt tale about the circle of life.
This is a story about love...lost, found, personal, and for our fellow man...with a certain amount of "character" to spare. Surprised? Don't be. It's often the most unsuspecting of journeys we embark upon that lead us to those true hidden gems.
Here we have the story of two men, many many moons apart, and yet their lives are going to intersect in ways they can't even fathom. From the moment young Max beats down the door of the (formerly) great Zabbatini's current home sweet home in a desperate plea for a way to stop his family from dissolving into nothingness to the moment Zabbatini is once again worthy of the "great" title he once wore with pride, I was hooked. I meandered from page to page with eyes wide open and a heart bursting with joy, sadness, melancholy, magic, awe, and so many other feels that you'd never imagine having for a story dominated by a pleasure obsessed elder and a young man refusing to accept what's in front of him. Neither of these characters are the same as they once were and the steps and missteps taken or missed along the way, just add that much more to the tale.
We get to know Moshe as a youth and his humble beginnings. Son of a rabbi (sorta) with a disinterest in learning the ins and outs of his faith, yet a desire to see the world...or at least the portion of it dominated by a "princess of Persia". Yeah, I'll give you two guesses and one of them are gone as to whether she was truly royalty...but times being what they were (world on the brink of war anyone?), allusions were commonly accepted as truth (which brings me back to the rabbi and his wife conversing about the war front and "the miracle"...that line totally killed me!). He endeavors to find his own path through life, and yet shall not remain unscathed by the world burning down around him. Flash over to Max and we find a boy simply wanting his family to stay together, yet wishes are still not horses, so he is unable to ride it into the sunset of his dreams. His journey is so innocent, so pure in its intent, that is plays a nice balance to the old man's curmudgeonly ways. When they are woven together to a VERY surprising end, we see the true magic of life right before our eyes.
All in all, I was enamored with BOTH of their stories from start to finish. Max and the former great magician have more in common than they know, but by book's end, their journeys past, present, and potential future, are revealed in all their many colors, and you'll come to realize that everyone has a story; some just hide the aftereffects better than others. A tale that is both charming and crass, but with a heart of gold at its core, fit for older teen through adult readers of both Historical and General Fiction genres.
About the author...
Emanuel Bergmann was born in Germany and is a journalist and translator. He has been living in Los Angeles since 1990. His first novel, The Trick, is an international bestseller
Special thanks to Lisa at TLC Book Tours for the chance to bring this tour to you and to Atria Books for the ARC for review. (THANKS!) For more information on this title, the author, the publisher, THIS TOUR, or those on the horizon, feel free to click through the links provided above. This title released September 2017, so be on the lookout for it on a bookstore shelf or virtual retailer of your choosing.
BEFORE YOU GO....
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Until next time, remember...if it looks good, READ IT!