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The Confabulist

Harry Houdini was once the most famous person on the planet. He is the man who can make the impossible seem real. So when, on the most extraordinary night of his life, Martin Strauss accidentally kills the great magician, his own life is turned upside down. He loses his home, the woman he loves and every hope he once had. Now his doctor has informed him he is losing his mind too, and Martin decides it is time to set the record straight with Houdini’s daughter, Alice. 

But this record will not straighten easily. A lifetime of sleight of hand takes some explaining…

Life and death, memory and forgetting, the thrill of escape: Steven Galloway has unleashed the power of a luminous imagination in this dazzling new novel.  

Read the Globe & Mail interview.

Online reviews

Star Tribune

Steven Galloway
About the Author

Steven Galloway was born in Vancouver in 1975. His debut novel, Finnie Walsh, was nominated for the in Canada First Novel Award. His second novel, Ascension, was nominated for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, and translated into seven languages. It was published in Australia by Text. He lives in Vancouver with his family.

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Text publication date:
28 May 2014
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Praise for Steven Galloway
andThe Confabulist

‘A brilliant novel, and one that virtually demands multiple readings to pick up all the subtleties (especially concerning the end of the book, and enough said about that).’ starred review

‘Clever and entertaining, The Confabulist is a novel that takes great joy in exploring the art of illusion, saving its final trick to play on its readers.’

‘Like a good magic trick, The Confabulist is so cleverly constructed that Galloway leaves you wondering: How did he do it?…It’s a beautifully wrought novel about the grip of illusion and the way we tell ourselves stories to seek redemption, or forgiveness at the very least.’

‘[Galloway’s] explorations of the relationships between truth and illusion, fiction and reality, need and conscience are stimulating and affecting…An entertaining fictional reflection on the 20th century’s most famous magician.’

‘A thoughtful, intriguing book and certainly not all smoke and mirrors.’

‘Astonishing, intriguing and marvellous.’

‘In this gripping, multi-layered account of two lonely men haunted by the decisions they make, Steven Galloway has exquisitely crafted a powerful play on perception and regret—an ending that’s pure magic.’

‘A cleverly constructed novel, hard to put down, and just as hard to forget. It’s a fascinating meditation on identity and memory and the line between illusion and reality that keeps haunting you, even when you think you know how the trick has been done.’

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