Saturday, September 04, 2010

Project 365 (247/365): The Prestige (Book)

.:247/365: The Prestige (Book):.

The movie was better, but by no means does this mean that the book was a bad read.

In fact, the book, in many ways, weaves a different tale from the movies, and as such, has strengths both in its narrative and in its very structure as a published book rather than as a recorded film.

You’ve heard the story before: two magicians, Angier and Borden, and their rivalry as magicians slowly built up and escalated unto epic levels. While in the film, the two used to be friends who became bitter rivals when a botched escape act resulted in the death of Angier’s wife, the book’s rivalry started off with something far less drastic: Borden exposed Angier during one of his séances, and thus became an annoying thorn in Angier’s side.

This petty rivalry only highlighted how the smallest of transgressions, when unaddressed, can snowball into larger, unimaginable treachery. As the acts of aggression between the feuding magicians escalates progressively, they turn to more and more sinister means of upstaging each other, and the feud ends unresolved, and it becomes a mystery for their respective next of kin to unravel, as they take us on a ride into the mystery that lies beneath the murky details on the lives of both men.

The pacing of the book is decidedly slower than the film, but this results in a very good, stewing effect on the readers: what seems to be a deep-seated mystery becomes more and more horrifying as the book progresses. It likens itself to how a magic trick is often done, really: building up towards something, the whizz and the bang, then the aftermath. However, in book format, the buildup is actually dragged out to great effect, akin to the mentalist act, as opposed to the magician’s wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am approach most of the time.

As such, I do recommend this book to anyone who enjoys thrillers. I suggest reading the book, then watching the movie, if you haven’t yet, as it would be one of the most appropriate times for you to say that indeed, the movie was better than the book, but the book itself was still one piece of work worthy of more than one reading.

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