SPOILERS - SEPTEMBER - The Prestige
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This book. Mesmerized me. I loved the movie, but aside from the visual of the actors as the main players (no hardship on me to see Hugh Jackman the whole time I'm reading), the book is really nothing like it, and yet, the movie is a condensation of all the tension and emotions in the book.
In both, I wanted to pick sides, to feel that one was good, and the other bad, but the author never let that happen. I wanted to like both, and ended up being rather horrified by both. At the end of the book, the puzzle was solved for the historical part, but questions abounded. In fact, I tossed and turned in bed thinking, and thinking, and thinking about it. And trying not to think about it. It has been a long time since a book has affected me in that way.
So the main questions, which make me shudder away from thinking about them are:
Why could the young man still hear the boy's voice?
Why was there no decay in the Prestiges? Did all of them still have a voice in Angier's head?
How did the electricity and shelving get installed? Descendants? Angier and his servants?
Why was the figure still in the vault? Did the partial Prestige get into a body, or miss? Or did he keep transporting himself into other Prestiges? Or did the first one somehow make him unable to die?
And here's the creepiest of all which my mind runs from. Was Kate's father a Prestige figure, meaning, was he her great-great grandfather? Is that why he was erratic, and did that to the boy, and left the family?
Bleeeeuuuurrrg. I have to find something happy, straightforward and light to read now.
Perhaps Cloud Atlas?
;-) That one would have your mind spinning as well.
I enjoyed The Prestige too and, like you, did not find the differences between the film and the book a problem. There was a whole strand of back-story missing from the film, but that was to make it fit the time available.
I appreciated that it was very clear those reporting events were not necessarily reliable witnesses, even though they were writing in their own journals. Each had a different take on their role in the feud.
And when he asked Andrew if he was going to leave with Nicky's body or stay, did he imply that the device could reunite them as it did with Angiers? Then he'd be trapped there or something?
Oh and the handwriting on the tag bit seems to imply that Angiers the magician was the one who threw Nicky into the machine.
Am I going crazy?
Yeah, that's how I feel when I try to think about it too much. The first night after reading it was a tough one with circling thoughts.
I found several sites that explained The Prestige but they were about the movie not the book. *pouty face*
>7 Bookmarque: I took the handwriting to be the same as in Angier's journal ergo Angier's rather than Kate's father, and I choose to think Kate's father simply displayed hereditary traits of instability rather than being a prestige...
...but I've no answers on the rest of the questions. I also wasn't sure whether the young man (Andrew?) would continue to hear/feel his twin / Nicky's voice/presence - it seemed it disappeared whenever they were in physical contact, but came back as soon as they were separated. So presumably Angier became a very haunted man - his comments on his depression when he first tested the device might be an understatement...
>14 Sakerfalcon: I think the inert prestige left behind in the device can only be described as a bug ;) Tesla wasn't expecting it, and it initially made him think the device wasn't working at all. It puts Mr Alley's reluctance to put his cat through it into a new light - he knew he'd still have a cat, but... his poor cat!
Great read. I've not read any Priest before, but I'll certainly seek out more.
I'm doing something a bit out of order, but imyril and I started talking about The Prestige in her thread, after I read her excellent review of it, then I thought that conversation would be good here, so I'm going to copy and paste it her, but if imyril objects, I'll delete whatever she asks me to.
imyril's first review post #19 in her thread, here: http://www.librarything.com/topic/179802#4845958
"Hurray for Morphy's Mighty Reads! This was a perfect palate cleanser, and joins Tigerman, The Shining Girls and The Thirteenth Tale at the top of my new reads of the year so far.
It really doesn't matter if you've seen the film - the book adds to the dark tale of 2 feuding Victorian illusionists with a modern-day wrapper revealing how the feud has trickled down into subsequent generations. In fact, there was enough additional depth and variation in the Victorian sections that I actually felt that I could be 'spoilt' - the end of the book and the fates of pretty much all the key characters is different here.
Told largely through the diaries of the two magicians, this is a study of obsession and animosity. All is fair in magic and war - they disrupt one another's performances, interfere (if not always intentionally) with love lives and ultimately threaten each other's lives. With asides on the cost of living a life of lies, what is considered acceptable to sacrifice for your art, and magic as both illusion and as science we haven't discovered yet, this is heady stuff, told with Gothic glee. I'm not particularly interested in stage magic; it really didn't matter - I was hooked from the start.
My only discomfort is the same one I had with the film - the awful position it puts its female characters in, especially Sarah Borden (although she is practically invisible in the book - her sad storyline was written into the film, it seems, as an attempt to explore consequences that are implicit in the book, although there's a strong suggestion that she and Olivia are unaware of what Borden is up to, unbelievable as that seems). In the book, Angier is not a widower and he visibly behaves badly with his string of affairs and long-suffering wife (although given the film kills her off in the opening sequence, it's open to debate whether she's getting shorter shrift here).
Either way, we're strictly in a world in which peripheral, poorly-treated women must always play third fiddle to the true focus of the magicians' lives: their career and each other.
I've docked it half a star for the abrupt ending - it's not that I necessarily wanted more answers (unlike Acceptance I didn't mind being left with a host of implications and questions), but it did feel like it just stopped."
"I think the portrayal of women was very true to what this story was about, the overwhelming obsession these men had with their craft and themselves. It's funny, because of the movie, even though Sarah was barely mentioned in the book, she always had a vivid place in my mind while reading. I thought the movie did a terrific job of showing the possible consequences for her in her situation in those times. It was also interesting that Angier chose to be completely honest with his wife."
"Oh, agreed - this is one of those aspects that bothers me in the sense of makes me sad, not angry or less appreciative.
It's a firm favourite film, but I have always felt awful on Sarah's account and the book didn't improve on this (I didn't expect it to), although at least she was spared the breakdown and suicide. I find that part of the film very distressing, although again it feels a truthful exploration of the implications. But it's no fun being a work widow, and the level of deception Borden executes is objectively horrifying. I took some comfort that here Sarah and Olivia genuinely seemed oblivious.
"And yet, there was one little sentence in his journal about what it did to Sarah, only, he never explains it. That is one where the two I's have a bit of a disagreement about how much to write, so that made me wonder."
>20 MrsLee: I think the book showed very convincingly that everything got thrown under the bus when it came to the feud. Wives, children, their own health - it's a very stark illustration of the lengths that obssession will drive people to. And of course, because we primarily see the action through the men's own writings, we don't exactly get a balanced view, despite some retrospective regret. I felt rather sorry not only for the wives but for the assistants without whom the illusions couldn't have worked - that must have been a pretty stressful job as I can't imagine either man being easy to work for.
Some questions remain. The main one for me is why did Borden continue to insist that he did not have a twin even though he was fighting for his life. He was about to have a knife plunged into his chest by Angier. If I was him I would have been shouting "Yes I admit it! I have a twin. Now you know my secret let me go!".
Yes, it's only fiction but when books and movies introduce outrageous ideas that have to be believable within the context of the framework they create. The Prestige doesn't quite achieve this, in my opinion.
I realise that this level of believability is not necessary for most readers. I'm just made that way. :-D
I just finished the part where Borden almost got Algiers drowned in the Underwater trick.