Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Confabulist: A Novel by Steven Galloway

The Confabulist
Steven Galloway
2/5 stars

I was given this book by the Amazon Vine program in return for an honest review.

According to the blurb, The Confabulist is a "narrative that weaves together the rise and fall of world-famous Harry Houdini with the surprising story of Martin Strauss", whose fate was tied with that of Houdini's. Given that, I expected to read a fictionalized account of Houdini, "woven together" with that of Strauss. What I got instead was a few chapters about Martin and his mystery (that was easily solved long before the end of the book), a small part where the two lives do come together, and the rest of the book being a fictionalized and alternative account of Houdini's life (sadly written in rather dull prose).

Martin's life and story were interesting, the only reason I continued to read, and so I was disappointed that the focus was not actually on him. I am, honestly, not quite certain as to why Martin was even introduced as part of this novel--so little did he feature. Given his obvious interest in Houdini and apparent disinterest in Martin, Galloway would have done better to have simply written the life of Houdini (hopefully with more verve and liveliness) and left out Martin's "mystery" entirely.

Note: This is my opinion; on Amazon, 47% of the reviews were 4 stars.

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