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|All Authors / Contributors:||
Glen David Gold
|Awards:||Shortlisted for Guardian First Book Award 2001.|
|Description:||563 p. ; 24 cm.|
|Responsibility:||Glen David Gold.|
'Here is a book - a first novel, no less - to blow you away. It seeks to stun and amaze and deceive and, always, to entertain ... wholly original ... Gold's real aim is to recapture the lost era of the great illusionists and escapologists ... and his plot - garish, crude, infernally clever - is precisely honed to the task: it is a triumph of misdirection, a nest of boxes constantly springing fresh surprises. Stage illusions were a popular art; they worked at pace, with drive and rolling drums. Gold's prose has precisely that energy. He creates his own rich, strange world where anything is possible, where characters from fact and fiction mingle ... It's a novel that works on every level: as an evocation, an instruction, a revelation; as fun ... Gold is at his best in page after page of description of acts and actions, where the reader has his or her own seat in the stalls. He also has a gift for anecdote and dialogue ... This is the most exuberant stew of a novel: strange, tasty, addictive ... Glen David Gold has poured thought and toil and inspiration into telling his story, and he leaves himself with only one resounding problem at the close. After such a debut novel, what does he do for his next trick?' -- Peter Preston, Guardian 'History coloured by a wonderfully fertile imagination, it is a wry-humoured whodunit with a dazzling sense of suspense, it is a romantic tribute to a different age and, at its heart, it is a moving testament to the power of love over loneliness. .. Awesome...his timing and touch are immaculate as he creates one of the most diverting reads of the year...Simply brilliant...By turns fearful, intriguing, emotional and confounding, but whatever it is, Carter Beats the Devil is never less than wonderfully entertaining.' -- Irish Times 'Gold has acheived a remarkable sleight of hand in this, his first novel. The Harding mystery is just one strand to a multi-faceted narrative that incorporates fact and fiction, real life and invented characters. It's a long book, but reads like a novella, such is the pace and action Gold manages to pack into it ... Gold's role is as much grand illusionist as author, and as he misdirects, misinforms and ultimately reveals his truths, the reader can only applaud. This is a terrific novel of the Jazz Age that entertains, informs and moves. Gold has tackled a difficult subject for his debut and succeeded brilliantly.' -- Jim Driver, Time Out 'It's refreshing to see an author so obviously into his characters and debut novelist Glen David Gold radiates enthusiasm in his tale of magician Charles Carter, implicated in the death of 29th US president Warren Harding. What's most unbelievable about this stagey set-up is that it's based on actual events. The droll, good-natured narrative never stumbles over 600 pages and Gold's characters, the endearingly troubled Carter at the top of the bill, sit so naturally in the proceedings they positively seem to enjoy being part of his show. Encore please!' -- The Face 'The first writer to have me suffocating with suspense was Wilkie Collins. I am now thrilled to have met his match in Glen David Gold, whose first book Carter Beats the Devil is the most audaciously plotted novel I have read since The Woman in White ... His characters are wonderfully eccentric - heroes, heroines and villains of gloriously Collinsian dimensions - and despite the high dramatic stakes, they never lose their credibility or sense of humour.' -- Helen Brown, Daily Telegraph 'The novel has some remarkable twists and turns and gives a detailed account of Carter's peculiar life and his gesture to the President in involving him in the dangerous magic. All in all weird tale that is immensely readable and tremendously convincing despite being outrageous. It has also fascinating detail of the science of television.' -- Publishing News 'This fictional account of the career of Charles Carter, a famous American magician of the 1920s, takes the bare bones of his story and turns them into something as marvellous as the levitation and spirit tricks that once baffled his audience ... A quirky life story that transmutes into a John Buchan thriller. Although Gold welds the two styles together with considerable verve, what really sparkles is Carter's introduction to the world of theatrical magic. Live entertainment is now so frequently gazumped by its widescreen, digitally enhanced competition that a depiction of the golden age of variety performance could have appeared twee. Gold avoids this, showing a nation hungry for simple escapism from the restrictions of prohibition and that awful vanishing act where a generation of young men disappeared on the battlefields of France ... Gold uses many of the same tricks as his protagonist, including an ingenious visual trick hidden amongst the text ... He often leaves you spluttering, "but... what... how?" Engaging, comical and, yes, magical, this is a sure-fire contender for the debut novel of the year.' -- Christian House, Independent on Sunday 'An electrifying mystery tour from the turn of the 20th century to the end of the roaring twenties ... The prose breathes the very air of the burlesque house - the mixture of cheap glamour, false bonhomie and the faint hum of sexual tension ... Gold excels at the psychology of working the crowd, and the collective comforts of deceit ... The novel weaves biography and fiction with a seamless ease, history making various cameos and then being made to vanish like a dove into a handkerchief. Writing is thus the ultimate trompe-l'oeil: pick a word, any word, and Gold will tell you what it is ... To make the performance even more mesmerising, the book is also partly a thriller. When the President volunteers for one of Carter's tricks, he is found dead the next day. The magician becomes the prime suspect ... an ingenious device, brilliantly executed. If the magician is a murderer then both terms mean nothing, and the plot turns a dazzling array of somersaults. This novel casts a spell that is sly, intoxicating, deceitful and enduring. Savour its every page' -- Graham Caveney, Independent 'I found myself unable to stop reading. It is a magnificent achievement. The plot is endlessly inventive and surprising and pulls the reader through some very complicated events in the most compelling way.' -- Charles Palliser '[An] astonishingly assured debut novel ... one of the most interesting 'faction' novels in years. Already being hailed as a potential Pulitzer winner, CARTER BEATS THE DEVIL comes with all the burdens of heightened expectation. Few writers manage to survive the 'next big thing' tag thrust on them by an American literary establishment desperately trying to create some new faces. But Gold has managed to create a 600-page piece of wonder. [With] his enthusiasm for the characters, and a rather ingenious blend of historical fact and inspired fiction ... Gold is always in control and delights in misdirecting his audience ... an engrossing debut which more than fulfills the early Stateside hype.' -- Ian O'Doherty, Sunday Business Post (Dublin) '[A] remarkable novel, a combination of paranoid conspiracy thriller, period romance and meditation on the nature of art. Gold has taken the historical Charles Carter and many of his illusions (records of which survive) and turned him into a spectacular pulp hero, whose breathtaking escapes and trickster personality provide the opportunity for set-piece description and fictional sleight of hand ... Gold is an inventive plotter who does not push the parallels between conjuring and fiction, but clearly loves the thrilling game of sudden revelation common to both ... Part of the art of illusion is misdirection, putting things in plain view, and ensuring that people will not notice them until the right moment. Gold uses this technique with great skill - the triumphs and disasters of his hero come from nowhere only if one has been lulled into failing to pay attention to details ... Gold is charming when discussing Charles's relationship with his homosexual brother and impressive in the magic set pieces.' -- Roz Kaveney, Times Literary Supplement 'A novel teeming with real people ... the best pages drip with greasepaint ... [Mysterioso's] defeat is never in doubt - only the devilishly dazzling manner of it ... Gold takes the mystery of [Harding's] death and gives it a clever twist ... This is a novel that rescues the ephemera of history, puts them centre stage and shines a bright light on them. It is this spectacular recreation of a lost world that stays in the mind long after the last page is turned and the curtain comes down.' -- Adam Lively, Sunday Times 'Glen David Gold's debut novel, based on the real events of Charles Carter's life, is a fire-breathing, lion taming celebration of the golden age of magic. Forget Paul Daniel's- this was a world where feats of extravagant stage conjury dazzled an adoring public and Houdini really was the most famous man alive. Stupendous yet warm, wonderfully detailed and true to life, Gold conjures the mystery, romance and exuberance of a time before televised entertainment with a verve worthy of any virtuoso performer' -- The Observer 'A terrific novel of the Jazz Age that entertains, informs and moves. Gold has tackled a difficult subject for his debut and succeeded brilliantly.' -- Jim Driver, Time Out 'Awesome ... his timing and touch are immaculate as he creates one of the most diverting reads of the year ... Simply brilliant' -- Irish Times 'A splendid yarn by an impressive storyteller' -- Bookseller 'Here is a book - a first novel, no less - to blow you away. It seeks to stun and amaze and deceive and, always to entertain ... it works on every level.' -- Peter Preston, Guardian 'A top-hat-and-tails performance...suspenseful, compendious, moving and persuasive' -- Michael Chabon 'A thrilling, atmospheric showstopper, full of suspense and surprises.' -- Tina Jackson, Big Issue 'The first writer to have me suffocating with suspense was Wilkie Collins. I am now thrilled to have met his match in Glen David Gold. His characters are wonderfully eccentric - heroes, heroines and villains of gloriously Collinsian dimensions - and despite the high dramatic stakes, they never lose their credibility or sense of humour...a daredevil feat of writing that will remind you how fun reading can be.' -- Helen Brown, Daily Telegraph 'This fictional account of the career of Charles Carter, a famous American magician of the 1920s, takes the bare bones of his story and turns them into something as marvellous as the levitation and spirit tricks that once baffled his audience...A quirky life story that transmutes into a John Buchan thriller...Engaging, comical and, yes, magical, this is a sure-fire contender for the debut novel of the year' -- Christian House, Independent on Sunday '[A] remarkable novel' -- Roz Kaveney, Times Literary Supplement 'An electrifying mystery tour from the turn of the 20th century to the end of the roaring twenties...[it] casts a spell that is sly, intoxicating, deceitful and enduring. Savour it's every page.' -- Graham Caveney, Independent 'Glen David Gold's Carter Beats the Devil is a big, mischievous, intelligent read -- nice to see a bit of magic in fiction again' -- A.L. Kennedy, Observer (Books of the Year) 20011125 '[A] spectacular recreation of a lost world that stays in the mind long after the last page is turned and the curtain comes down.' -- Adam Lively, Sunday Times 20011125 'I found myself unable to stop reading. It is a magnificent achievement. The plot is endlessly inventive and surprising and pulls the reader through some very complicated events in the most compelling way.' -- Charles Palliser 20011125 'Immensely readable and tremendously convincing' -- Publishing News 20011125 'I've had the most fun this year with CARTER BEATS THE DEVIL - a first novel full of romance and adventure, with a fantastic smoke-and-mirrors plot. I recommend it to anyone who wants to brighten a murky winter.' -- Helen Brown, Daily Telegraph Books of the Year 20011125 'An enormously assured first novel' -- New York Times 20011125 'A stormer of a novel, this- the perfect read for people who despise airport blockbusters yet find themselves on aeroplanes longing for a good, meaty page turner' -- The Guardian 20011125 'With elements of the whodunnit and, crucially fo a book about magic tricks, the howdunnit, this is a four-course meal of a novel' -- The Times 20011125 'With elements of the whodunnit and, crucially fo a book about magic tricks, the howdunnit, this is a four-course meal of a novel' -- The Guardian 20011125 'This pacy book rips along to a marvellous and truly unexpected denouement' -- The Times 20011125 'Carter Beats the Devil is a cracking murder mystery unfurling the genteel milleu' -- The Times 20011125 'This is the curtain-raiser for an intricately structured feast of a novel...a wonderful swirling novel' -- The Daily Telegraph 20011125 'As a portrait of the Golden Age of Magic, it works brilliantly... Equally good, in a very different vein, are the accounts of Carter's love life ... Gold has captured the high-wire excitement of the age' -- Julia Flynn, Sunday Telegraph Books of the Year 20011125