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by Christopher Priest
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  • Author:
    Christopher Priest
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    Orion Books; Film Tie-in Ed edition (2004)
  • Pages:
    368 pages
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The Prestige is a 1995 novel by British writer Christopher Priest. The novel tells the story of a prolonged feud between two stage magicians in late 1800s England.

The Prestige is a 1995 novel by British writer Christopher Priest. It is epistolary in structure; that is, it purports to be a collection of real diaries that were kept by the protagonists and later collated. The title derives from the novel's fictional practice of stage illusions having three parts: the setup, the performance, and the prestige (effect).

In writing The Prestige (1995), Christopher Priest (1943–) took this idea and enriched it with many more things . The Prestige is probably Priest’s most famous novel, having been filmed memorably by Christopher Nolan in 2006.

In writing The Prestige (1995), Christopher Priest (1943–) took this idea and enriched it with many more things: the iconic gaslit world of Victorian-Edwardian England, a deep engagement with the art of stage magic, and his own abiding questions about how much the tellers of stories should be trusted. Earlier Priest novels such as The Affirmation (1981) or The Glamour (1984) have unreliable narrators who lead you into dizzying labyrinths where nothing is certain, not even the ‘I’ who is telling you the story.

FREE shipping on qualifying offers. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required. Winner of the World Fantasy Award Inspiration for the movie directed by Christopher Nolan.

Christopher Priest was born in Cheshire, England. In 2006, The Prestige was made into a major production by Newmarket Films. Directed by Christopher Nolan, The Prestige went straight to N. US box office. It received two Academy Award nominations. He began writing soon after leaving school and has been a full-time freelance writer since 1968  . Other novels, including Fugue For a Darkening Island and The Glamour, are currently in preparation for filming. He is Vice-President of the H. G. Wells Christopher Priest was born in Cheshire, England.

Christopher Priest's The Prestige has the patter to go with the trick, says Alex Clark

Christopher Priest's The Prestige has the patter to go with the trick, says Alex Clark. When struggling journalist Andrew Westley receives a mysterious book in the post - the memoirs of Alfred Borden, the self-styled 'Professeur de Magie' - his interest is piqued; not least because he was adopted at birth, and one of the few things he knows about his birth family is that they were called Borden.

Author: Christopher Priest. Flyleaf: After ten years of quietude, author Christopher Priest (nominated one of the Best of Young British Novelists in 1983) returns with a triumphant tale of dueling prestidigitators and impossible acts. In 1878, two young stage magicians clash in a darkened salon during the course of a fraudulent sйance. From this moment, their lives spin webs of deceit and exposure as they feud to outwit each other

Christopher Priest (novelist). Christopher Priest (born 14 July 1943) is a British novelist and science fiction writer.

Christopher Priest (novelist). His works include Fugue for a Darkening Island, The Inverted World, The Affirmation, The Glamour, The Prestige, and The Separation. Priest has been strongly influenced by the science fiction of H. Wells and in 2006 was appointed Vice-President of the international H. Wells Society. Priest was born in Cheadle, Cheshire, England.

Christopher Priest is the author of the 1995 World Fantasy Award-winning novel, The Prestige (whose 2006 film adaptation of the same namesake went on to be a two-time Academy Award nominated box office hit). Born in Cheshire, England, Priest has spent most of his life as a full-time freelance writer. He currently lives on the Isle of Bute, in west Scotland.

Book by Priest, Christopher

The Prestige - Christopher Priest’s highly inventive, masterfully crafted tale written in the grand tradition of Victorian novels of mystery and suspense, specifically Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White (use of multiple narrators) and Moonstone (epistolary novel). The language is so well tuned and exact, so vividly clear, many the time turning the pages I felt as if I was launched miraculously back into the streets, flats and performance halls of turn-of-the-century London. So compelling and thrilling, my response to the British author repeats esteemed critic Garry Indiana's words regarding the literary output of Georges Simenon, “I know how he does it, but I have no idea how he can do it.” Christopher Priest - what a marvelous weaver of fictional magic. And speaking of magic, please read on.

True, the novel begins and ends at a country estate in modern-day England where journalist Andrew Westley and Lady Kate Angier, both young and single, take turns narrating as they sit together and move about in Kate’s family mansion, however this is but the frame – the bulk of the narrative consists of the respective diaries of two of their long dead ancestors, Alfred Borden and Rupert Angier, illustrious stage magicians who had been engaged in a bitter, vindictive rivalry protracted over many years, beginning in the late nineteenth century. The plot is simply too good and contains too many surprises for me to divulge any tantalizing secrets, thus I will shift my observations to a number of the novel’s underlying themes and philosophical enigmas.

Illusion: Counterpoint to nimble skill and dexterity performing sleight of hand and misdirection, concealment and manipulation on stage, Alfred Borden and Rupert Angier are also master illusionists as each pens his diary. Claiming the two magicians are less than reliable narrators is understatement as we are never entirely certain where the illusions start and where they stop, where reality begins and where it ends. Now you read it; not you don’t. And in case you might not catch the shift since it is so easy to miss, there is one short chapter of the novel where Christopher Priest deftly slides into telling the tale in objective third person – a crafty authorial variation on now you read it; now you don’t.

Revenge: Ah, retaliation, vengeance, payback, reprisal - the juice of mountains of fiction and generous helpings of history. But, as both Alfred Borden and Rupert Angier discover the hard way, the aftermath of vengeful words and actions are never nearly as clear-cut and confined as we might conceive. In many cases, the person extracting revenge is completely oblivious to the full range of consequences, sometimes affecting men, women and children over a number of generations.

Secrecy: An enormous part of a stage magician’s art is secrecy - how the trick is performed. Alfred Borden and Rupert Angier extend their secrecy to nearly all aspects of their personal and professional lives. Of course, the more secrets one has, more the possibility of being discovered. But while a secret remains a secret, the magician maintains a power, an advantage over his audience if stage magic; over his family and associates if his secret pertains to his personal life. The ultimate disgrace for a stage magician – having the secret of his trick revealed publicly during a performance. Of course, this is exactly the practice of both Alfred Borden and Rupert Angier.

Twins: Just think of the power a magician would possess if he had an identical twin he kept secret. All the jaw dropping feats of stage magic he could perform – I’m over here on this side of the stage, presto, in an instant, I’m over there on that side of the stage. Such secrecy and magic might qualify as the ultimate illusion. One could stake a career on such an astounding trick. However, two people going through life pretending they are one and the same person will undoubtedly alter a sense of one’s individual identity, one of the prime hallmarks of what it means to be human. Or, will it? Can a master of illusion pull it off successfully? Many the author captivated by the idea and possibilities of twins, my personal favorite: Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors featuring not one but two sets of twins.

Identity of the Self: Robert Nozick has a thought experiment where, after an accident, half of one person’s brain (along with memory) is transferred to a second person’s body. Both Tim, the giver, and Tom, the receiver, live after the operation and both Tim and Tom claim to be Tim. Are they both right? The next day Tim dies and Tom is now the only person claiming to be Tim. Does Tom (now Tim) assume the old Tim’s rights and obligations, including the right to live with Tim’s wife and kids? The ancient world knew such a dilemma of identity with the ship of Theseus: the planks and other parts of the ship are all replaced over time. After the last old plank is removed and replaced, is it the same ship or a different ship? What if less than half of the ship is replaced? What if more than half is replaced? The variations are endless. The Prestige hurls a few crazy twists into the mix.

Electricity – The end of the nineteenth century, the heyday as stage performers for the novel’s two magicians, was also the heyday for inventors such as Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla. In 1879 electric lights were first used for public street lighting. The possibilities and power of electricity captured the public’s imagination. And if a performer could include the sizzling, popping currents of this newly found power into their act– what a show!

Jolt of the Weird: Although a Victorian thriller in the tradition of Wilkie Collins, please keep in mind Christopher Priest has been strongly influenced by H. G. Wells. Similar to his science fiction novel Inverted World where events move along at a measured pace until the jolt of the weird, The Prestige has its own weird jolt which leads to a series of even weirder jolts. One of the most fascinating and astonishing last parts of any novel you will ever read. If you are stirred to consider The Prestige, I’m accomplished my own bit of magic as a reviewer.
Title is irrespective of what the book actually conveys. Fans of the movie will enjoy it; it's different enough (yet strangely similar enough) to present a great read. The dissimilarities from the movie make it a different story for sure, but said film's central twists are meaningless and inconsequential. I read with trepidation some reviews by others that suggested that the book was not worth reading. My response to that is "I read it in under 9 hours while still feeding, bathing, and putting a 4 and 5 year old to bed!" I couldn't put it down. If you loved the movie, you'll love the book even more.
The movie The Prestige is by far my favorite movie. I decided to read the book to see how the two relate. I am glad to find that even if you have seen the movie, the book is still refreshing with elements in common and unique to each other. I am glad I read the book and would suggest that anyone who likes the movie to read the book as well.
If you're a fan of Simon Vance's narration as I am, you should get this audiobook. I first discovered Vance when listening to his reading of The Ludwig Conspiracy and I've been a fan ever since. If Simon Vance can't make a book interesting, it isn't worth listening to.
I love the movie, and wanted to experience the original story it was inspired by. I was blown away by the storytelling and how its layed out. A bonus is it varies from the movie enough that it will keep you guessing even though you might know the secrets.
The ending - once I spent enough time going over it to finally understood what happened - blew my mind even more than the movie that led me to seek out this book! Excellent read.
Great piece of writing! If you've seen the movie, but haven't read this yet, you'll find the movie was only a bit of the story within a larger story. Though I will admit it was a bit odd to read several different styles and formats of writing from a typical novel, to someone's mental, personal account, to another's journal entries that often left me hanging until the (plural) kickers at the end.

A suspenseful and thoughtful read!
Keep you on tow as you read on. It's a different narrative style in the sense it doesn't feel like you are reading novel. Things seems unconvincing initially but you will get answers later on. Its mostly based defying common sense but hey it's fiction. Very good fiction indeed. Go ahead do read and get thrilled.

One thing though, climax could have been more imaginative and innovative considering intriguing build up.