Published by Simon & Schuster Audio on January 1st 1970
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 Zabbatiniis 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.
First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros is a weekly meme hosted by Diane at Bibliophile By the Sea. Each week, participants share a paragraph (or two) from a book they are currently reading or are planning to read soon.
Today I’m going to share the first paragraph for The Trick by Emanuel Bergmann. I’ll be starting this book by the end of the week as my stop on the blog tour is coming up on December 18th. I was first drawn to the blurb but this first paragraph has already drawn me in.
The Way Things Ought To Be
“In the early days of the twentieth century, in the city of Prague, lived a man named Laibl Goldenhirsch. He was a rabbi, an unassuming teacher who sought to understand the mysteries that surround us all. A daunting task, but he pursued it with heart and soul. He spent countless hours brooding over the Torah, the Talmud, the Tanakh, and other riveting reads. After years of learning and teaching, he slowly began to understand the way things are, but more importantly, the way they ought to be. There seemed to be some discrepancies between the shining glory of creation and the often baffling and rainy world in which we humans are forced to spend our lives. His students valued him, at least the ones who weren’t fools. His words could light up the darkness like a candle.”
What do you think? Would you continue reading?
I want to know more about this man, this rabbi and the wisdom he’s acquired over the years.
Diane D says
This sounds so good to me; enjoy
Ann Marie says
Susie | Novel Visits says
I’m a sucker for WWII books and because I’ve read so many, I’m always on the hunt for something a little different. This one sounds like it would fit that bill. Looking forward to your full review.
Ann Marie says
Thanks, Susie. Me too! I’ve hyped this one up in my head and I’m hoping it’ll live up. I’m a sucker for quirky, curmudgeonly characters (hence my devotion to Fredrik Backman). Throw in a circus and I can’t help but have high hopes.
I’d keep reading!
Ann Marie says
Thanks, Vicki! I’m looking forward to jumping in.