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Author Topic: Lev Grossman's "The Magicians" (inspired by the intro to PC71)  (Read 6122 times)

eytanz

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So, in DKT's pretty excellent intro to PC71 "I'll Give In" (a story I still need to think about before commenting), he discussed Magic as Fantastical Escapism as opposed to the conjunction of magic and the mundane. A recent - very well written - book that deals with this issue is Lev Grossman's "The Magicians". I should point out that this is not a very enjoyable book in my opinion - all the characters, especially the protagonist, are extremely unpleasant - but it is thought-provoking in the way it plays with tropes. Mostly, it points out that once that once the novelty of magic wears off, all of other life's problems remain - and that kids who were isolated and/or abused are likely to grow up into screwed-up adults, magic or not.

Anyone else here read it? What did you think?



DKT

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Reply #1 on: September 30, 2009, 08:10:02 PM
I haven't had the chance to read this yet, but I did read Grossman's "Codex" which was about video game realities and ancient manuscripts. Kind of mundane SF, or maybe a smarter, subtler answer to Dan Brown. I enjoyed it, and thought it was well written, even if some of the characters weren't incredibly likeable or sympathetic and a pace slower than I typically like. Still, it was worth reading.

All that to say, more and more curious about The Magicians now.


Rachel Swirsky

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Reply #2 on: September 30, 2009, 11:55:28 PM
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curious about The Magicians now.

Ditto!



Anarkey

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Reply #3 on: October 13, 2009, 11:42:26 PM
Anyone else here read it? What did you think?

Reading it RIGHT now.  Talk in a week?  Read "Blindsight" in the meantime!  :)

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eytanz

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Reply #4 on: October 25, 2009, 12:15:54 AM
Anyone else here read it? What did you think?

Reading it RIGHT now.  Talk in a week?  Read "Blindsight" in the meantime!  :)

Oh, I wish I could, but my teaching load this term is such that I barely have time to read anything, let alone text that requires actual concentration. I will read it, but it will have to wait to December...



Anarkey

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Reply #5 on: October 26, 2009, 11:41:07 PM
So, in DKT's pretty excellent intro to PC71 "I'll Give In" (a story I still need to think about before commenting), he discussed Magic as Fantastical Escapism as opposed to the conjunction of magic and the mundane. A recent - very well written - book that deals with this issue is Lev Grossman's "The Magicians". I should point out that this is not a very enjoyable book in my opinion - all the characters, especially the protagonist, are extremely unpleasant - but it is thought-provoking in the way it plays with tropes. Mostly, it points out that once that once the novelty of magic wears off, all of other life's problems remain - and that kids who were isolated and/or abused are likely to grow up into screwed-up adults, magic or not.

Anyone else here read it? What did you think?

Ok, so I read it.  And you're totally right, there were some things I really, really didn't like about it, most of the people included.  But I loved the trope play.  Writingwise there was some enviable prose, and some very pretty imagery.  Definitely a well done book.  But I find teenage angst really boring a lot of the time.  I found it boring while I was having it and am endlessly grateful I don't have to return to my teenaged years.  So a lot of the ennui the characters felt translated too well to me.  I am bored by your boredom!  Stop whining!  I need a magic ring so's I can reach into this book and SMACK you.

Although there was some great parts, and some of the prose was very pretty, I almost felt like I'd have preferred sitting around and talking to Lev Grossman about the conceptual aspects of the book instead of reading it.  Like the execution was not quite up to the premise?  Even though I can't point out where the execution went wrong, it's just that it didn't sparkle the way the idea of it did, I guess.

Hated the ending.  So pat and Hollywood.  WTF.  It was like "Oh did I forget to tie up a thread?  Allow me!  There.  Nice bow.  All tidied up."  For a book that was trying to be so much like real life, the ending was way too neat.

But loved, loved, loved the villain.  That was awesome, and I didn't see it coming until I think I was supposed to.

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stePH

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Reply #6 on: October 28, 2009, 03:36:20 AM
Kind of mundane SF, or maybe a smarter, subtler answer to Dan Brown.

Wow, talk about setting the bar so low you could step over it  ;D

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DKT

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Reply #7 on: August 18, 2014, 10:24:48 PM
Huh. It only took me four years to get back into this conversation. Should give everyone an idea of what my TBR pile looks like  :P.

Anyway, I expect I'll finally finish listening to Lev Grossman's the Magicians this week. Be curious to read a little bit further in the above conversation between Anna and Eytan, and maybe start some new ones.


Scattercat

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Reply #8 on: August 23, 2014, 08:27:11 AM
Well, I <3 this book to pieces, myself.  And while the ending is a bit too... happy, I guess?  I mean, I was down with Quentin having served as the solution to and source of all of his life's problems.  Anyway, the fact that we get sequels(!) set in Fillory(!!) with Quentin actually retaining the personal growth from the first book and yet still remaining completely himself (and thus both the source of and solution to all of his own problems) is more than enough excuse for a deus ex machina for me.

Basically, if someone had written down my teenaged mental life with the jaundiced eye of a world-weary adult who has had it up to here with whiny idiot privileged teenagers (such as himself) who don't realize how good they have it, it would look like The Magicians

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