Prestige

The Prestige (MP3 Book) - Christopher Priest, Simon Vance The Prestige is novel of perspectives; of the sightlines of magic acts; of the limited knowledge of historians; of the careful crafting of point of view.This is a book I needed two attempts to read. Being a fan of film director Christopher Nolan, I made one attempt to read the book immediately after seeing his film adaptation of The Prestige. Eager for some Victorianism, I was stymied by the contemporary framing story with which Priest sets up the novel, and was especially frustrated with the narrator's emphasis on his psychic communication with the twin he never knew but is convinced he has which seemed to be overdone.In trawling the public library website for a new audiobook for my commuted, and limited in choice due to technical issues, I thought I would give Priest's novel-version another chance, telling myself I would listen as least as far enough to get past the modern section.The story of two rival magicians in Victorian London, Rupert Angier and Alfred Borden, The Prestige is a fascinating read, though some of the descriptions of magic tricks do slow the narrative significantly in parts (and, listening to an audiobook, it was more difficult for me to skim those sections than it would have been in a print version).Despite its flaws, I'm glad I finally was able to read this book. Besides cutting the framing story, Nolan changed not only several details of the plot, raising the stakes in the middle of the story, but he also changed the ending, which is much more frightening in the book.What the film did not translate was the powerful use of point-of-view. By telling the story in long tracts rather than switching back and forth in small sections as the film does, Priest successfully lulls the reader into forming opinions of the characters, only to see those opinions reversed when the very events that formed them are told from another perspective.A note on the reader: The Prestige loses something in audio form. Due to the nature of the story, part of the prose's strength is in the fact that phrases can be read several ways. In the transformation to aural form, the reader must, perforce, choose one interpretation to present to the reader and in doing so, leave the ambiguity behind.This review also appears at Boxes of Paper.