Magic by Mike Russell

Firstly I’d like to thank Strange Books for reaching out and sending me this book to read, as always all thoughts are completely my own and I hope you all enjoy this review!

Magic is a novel which deals with some much deeper themes than the title might first suggest. During the first section of the book we are introduced to Charlie Watson, a young man who absolutely believes that magic exists, and uses it to explain all the things in the world that he doesn’t quite understand.

The novel is narrated by Charlie and the author makes excellent use of sentence structure and pacing to help us understand how difficult everyday situations can be for him. It also allows us to gain a deeper understanding of the relationship between Charlie and his recently deceased adopted father Manzini the Marvellous. I really enjoyed the introductory chapter of this book, it helps to set the tone for the novel and get us acquainted with Charlies way of thinking.

We follow Charlie through his journey of believing magic is real, not believing it is real, being not quite sure if it’s real or not, and full circle back to it being a certainty for him again. Russell really manages to tell a wonderful story in this novel and there are some lovely moments, one of my favourites being Manzini comforting Charlie at his parents graveside by saying that invisible magicians are able to take away a person’s sadness.

Manzini taught Charlie that a magicians main purpose is to bring joy to people, and despite not being a magician himself, this is something Charlie feels drawn to do. I found particularly poignant the metaphor of people feeling a pull to jump into the “hole-through-the-earth” for depression and suicidal thoughts, and felt that the author approached this in such a brilliant way. I don’t want to spoil the ending for any potential readers but I think Charlie is a truly amazing character and what he does at the end of the novel is not something I would have ever expected.

Overall this novel is a truly refreshing read and I would really recommend it to anyone trying to get out of a reading slump!