ISBN-13: 9780312650995
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Published: September 2010
320 pgs
Source: Personal Library

There are many perceptions of magic. While some may think of and link them to witchcraft (usually in the olden days), others view them as an entertainment and a form of art. So, is there such a thing as real magic, or are they merely tricks and illusions. I'm afraid I can't answer them, but I want to say I love watching magic performance and that I really enjoyed reading The Art of Disappearing; a story between a magician and a textile consultant.

Mel Snow is drawn to Toby Warring the instant they met in the Old Stand Saloon in Tonopah, Nevada. Toby brought her a drink first, and she only knew he is a magician after the waiter told her about his profession. They had a few exchanges and shared a little about their life and their family. And they got married two days later.

They begin their life together in Las Vegas, where Toby hopes he would make his name as a great magician there; one whom performs real magic and not merely tricks and illusions. But Toby has a painful past that will always remind him of his magic and his lovely assistant who disappeared during a performance and couldn't bring back. From then onwards, he has swore off using assistants in his magic. On the other end, Mel still couldn't forget the childhood loss of her brother and hopes that he would appear one day again after she had lost him to a swirling river during a storm. They might not know each other for a long time, but at least they share a connection and felt the regret and loss in each other.

During his debut performance in Las Vegas, a mishap happened and they flee to Amsterdam, hoping they would put all the unhappy past behind them and start their new life in a new place. It is only a matter of time that Toby begins to find his way back to magic, and by then Mel begins to wonder if their love is genuine, or is it just part of a magic conjured by Toby.

Haunting and spellbinding like magic, The Art of Disappearing is one of the most unforgettable fictions I read this year. I loved it that the premise has a surreal feel and that it makes you think of the choice(s) you will make in life. The Art of Disappearing may sound like a love story, but I think there is so much more to it - the two protagonists finding their way, coming to terms with their pasts and deciding on the path they want to go. Aside from the lovely premise, I also loved Ivy Pochoda's writing style and how she managed to bring this story and the characters to life through her words.

Speaking of characters, as much as I enjoyed reading them, I have to say I didn't really understand Mel's feelings towards Toby at some point. She may have fallen in love with Toby, but throughout the book she sometimes refers him as 'the magician', which made me think there is still some distance between them. I wasn't sure what her intention is, but I just felt it is strange of her to refer that of her husband. Nonetheless, this won't diminish my liking for this book.

Finally, after reading this book this thought just came to me: Would you like to change anything if you are given a chance to travel back to your past?

(My daughter pointed out to me that day that she saw an image of a rabbit on the cover. I have to confess I didn't take notice of it until she mentioned it. However the image shown online is much more obvious as compared to my print copy, and don't you have to agree that children always have the most imaginative mind?

The bottom cover is how it looks like when it was first released in September 2009.)

7 Responses
  1. Julia Says:

    This sound more to me like time traveling - wish I love to read - but I understand it isn't. I'm curious of what kind of trouble did Toby get himself into before they walk into their old times. And wonder if their lives be back the way it was before the disappearance and change :) Great review, Melody! :)

  2. Beth F Says:

    Wow this sounds fantastic -- where is the line between believing and magic? I'm adding this to my list right now!

  3. The Bookworm Says:

    This sounds so good. I do see the rabbit now that you mention it! Children are always the most imaginative.
    Wonderful review.

  4. S. Krishna Says:

    Great review. This has been on my radar for awhile!

  5. Alice Says:

    I saw that rabbit too! Thanks for the review, Melody!

  6. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one too, Melody! I loved the author's writing style and it was such an imaginative tale. Great review!

  7. Veens Says:

    Wow, this is something I am sure I will enjoy. Oh my, I missed the Rabbit too.. Kids are so much more imaginative! Great review.

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