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The Trick
by Emanuel Bergmann


Overview - 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.  Read more...


 
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More About The Trick by Emanuel Bergmann
 
 
 
Overview
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.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781501155826
  • ISBN-10: 1501155822
  • Publisher: Atria Books
  • Publish Date: September 2017
  • Page Count: 384
  • Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Historical - General
Books > Fiction > Literary
Books > Fiction > Humorous - General

 
BookPage Reviews

Magic across generations

The Holocaust is one of the darkest chapters in human history, and yet the stories that are born of it seem to be the most extraordinary examples of love and life. Emanuel Bergmann’s first novel, The Trick, which begins soon after the end of World War I, is no exception.

For Rabbi Laibl Goldenhirsch and his wife, Rifka, there is another reason to celebrate the return of peace to Prague—the birth of their son, Moshe. The new child briefly provides a respite from an otherwise unexciting postwar life. However, things take a turn as Rifka’s health deteriorates, leaving Moshe to deal with an abusive, depressed and drunk rabbi of a father.

Everything changes for Moshe when a neighbor takes him to a traveling circus as a cheerful distraction. So transformed is Moshe by what he sees that he wants nothing more than to become part of the troupe. With the determination of a child who is not yet unnerved by the possibility of failure, Moshe sets out in search of the circus, leaving his father, his city and his religion and changing his destiny from that of the many who stay behind.

Decades later in Los Angeles, a young boy named Max Cohn takes a similar leap of faith to keep his parents from divorcing. His answer comes in the form of an old vinyl record of love spells by the Great Zabbatini, a magician who can make anything possible.

And just like that, Bergmann expertly collides Moshe’s and Max’s universes. They may face two very different realities, but they share the tenacity to change their futures. The tragedy of the past weaves together with humor, love and a belief in the impossible in The Trick.

 

This article was originally published in the October 2017 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews