The Fat Man

images.jpgWarning! The Magician never really pulls a rabbit out of his hat. In fact, most of the Magician’s time and effort is spent delving into the mysteries of the occult sciences and spiriting beautiful young virgins away from their true loves.

At first you make the connections and comparisons between Maugham’s The Magician and Du Maurier’s Trilby. Interestingly the two titles cast a slightly different aspect on their narratives: I can accept that Margaret would not be as enticing as Trilby, but Svengali puts The Magician to shame.Basically the two novels are concerned with an evil man gaining control of a young, beautiful woman. Svengali makes use of mesmerism, or hypnotism, while Oliver Haddo (the Magician) seems to cast ancient spells or perhaps even uses some mind-altering potions.

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Text Messages and Teenage Suicide

SvengaliEver read Trilby by George Du Marier? If not, put it on your list. Trilby introduces us to the character of Svengali (not to be confused with Svengoolie) who, years before Lamont Cranston, was successful in clouding men’s (and especially women’s) minds and getting them to do all sorts of nefarious things. When I was about fifteen I too considered studying mesmerism as a means to control the minds of nubile young girls down at the beach. Of course it never worked and my reward was sadly to wear a towel around my waist most of the day. Puberty was hard.

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