The Trick by Emanuel Bergmann
Published September 19th, 2017 by Atria Books
Genres Historical Fiction
Sweeping between Prague during World War II and modern day Los Angeles, this deeply moving debut follows a young Jewish man in 1934 who falls in love and joins the circus as the country descends into war. Decades later, a young boy seeks out the now cynical, elderly magician in the hopes that his spells might keep his family together. Prague, 1934: The fifteen-year-old rabbi s son Moshe Goldenhirsch marvels at the legendary circus magician known as the Half-Moon Man. Unexpectedly, he falls madly in love with the magician’s delightful assistant, spurring him to run away from home to join the circus, which is slowly making its way to Germany as war looms on the horizon. Soon, he becomes a world-renowned magician known as the Great Zabbatini, even sought after by Adolf Hitler. But when Moshe is discovered to be a Jew, only his special talent can save him from perishing in a concentration camp. Los Angeles, 2007: Ten-year-old Max Cohn is convinced that magic can bring his estranged parents back together before they divorce. So one night he climbs out of his bedroom window in search of the Great Zabbatini, certain this powerful magician has the power to reunite his family.
I am a big fan of historical fiction and this book was described as perfect for fans of The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, which is one of my all time favorite books. This book is set in the same World War II area, but lacked the intense emotions and events that occurred in The Nightingale. I don’t like comparing books and obviously these are two very different stories. The Trick was a very interesting book but because of the two alternating story lines, I didn’t feel like I connected with the story or the characters as much as I could have. This book of course touches on some very important topics and occurs during a very difficult time in history. The 2 main characters, Moshe and Max, are living in different time periods; Moshe who leaves home to join the circus in 1934 and Max who finds a photo album of his father’s of The Great Zabbatini in 2007. The story alternates between the two characters and time periods.
Overall, I really enjoyed the book, but felt because of the two alternating perspectives and stories, I didn’t connect with the book as much as I could have. I enjoyed the author’s writing and the book is filled with moments about friends, family and love, as well as the hard issues from the time period during the Holocaust and WWII. If you are a fan of historical fiction, I would definitely recommend this book.
Thank you to the publisher, Atria Books for sending me an ARC of this book.