Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Prestige

I read The Prestige by Christopher Priest last week.  It is now a motion picture by the same name. I picked up the book because I enjoyed the movie greatly, and had correspondingly high expectations for the book.  I was hoping to see some further character development, to delve more deeply into the personal lives of the performers, and that that other good stuff that typically doesn't make it into the movies.  The Prestige didn't really deliver on those expectations.

The book is written as the memoirs of a two rival illusionists around the turn of the century, as read by one's descendant.  The framing story is by far the weakest part, and is fortunately a very small portion of the book.  The memoirs are well written, but lack a certain amount of depth or character.  I wasn't very impressed with the pacing of the novel, nor the delivery.  Rather than feeling that I was being led into their life, I was left with the feeling of being a bored poltergeist, hovering over some poor man's shoulder.

To be honest, I didn't get much out of this book.  I found finding the discrepancies between the book and the movie more interesting than anything the book added to the story.

Robert Alverson


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