THE MAGICIANS by J.B. Priestley


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A bit of whimsy superimposed on what might have been a combination of Executive Suite with an alternative ending, produces a novel with an original theme that doesn't quite come off. Charles Ravenstreet is gently but firmly eased out of the business that has been the whole of his life interest, and is left rich, bored and alone. A chance at a production job which would put a miracle drug over on the public seems his best bet, despite his distrust of the key people involved, when an accident (or was it planned?) thrusts upon him three unexpected house guests, who turn out to be ""the magicians"". And it was magic indeed that they performed, as they brought him into awareness once again of the continuity of forgotten episodes of his past, the menace of the present, and a chance- in the midst of death- to make a new start. There's an assumption here of accepted significance of overlapping of space and time spans, of past, present and future; there is no attempt to rationalize the magic with reality- things just happen, fortuitously or disastrously, according to where you sit, and there are some loose ends (the suggested affaire-Mavis) that don't belong in the all lived happily ever after ending. Closer to Jenny Villiers than anything else he has done, but the sustained magic of that book is lacking here. Possibly the Priestley name still has a pull.

Pub Date: May 26th, 1954
Publisher: Harper