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The Art of Disappearing

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How do you know if love is real or just an illusion? When Mel Snow meets the talented magician Toby Warring in a dusty roadside bar, she is instantly drawn to the brilliant performer whose hands can effortlessly pull stray saltshakers and poker chips from thin air and conjure castles out of the desert sands. Just two days later they are married, beginning their life togethe How do you know if love is real or just an illusion? When Mel Snow meets the talented magician Toby Warring in a dusty roadside bar, she is instantly drawn to the brilliant performer whose hands can effortlessly pull stray saltshakers and poker chips from thin air and conjure castles out of the desert sands. Just two days later they are married, beginning their life together in the shadow of Las Vegas, where Toby hopes to make it big. Mel knows that magicians are a dime a dozen, but Toby is different—his magic is real. As Toby’s renown grows and Mel falls more and more in love with his wonderments, she starts to realize that Toby's powers are as unstable as they are dazzling. She learns that he once made his assistant disappear completely, and couldn’t bring her back. And then, just as Mel becomes convinced that his magic is dangerous, a trick goes terribly awry during his Strip debut. Exiled from the stage, Mel and Toby flee the lights of Las Vegas for the streets of Amsterdam where a cabal of old-time magicians, real magicians like Toby, try to rescue him from his despair. But he’s haunted by the trick that failed, and obsessed with using his powers to right his mistakes, leaving Mel to wonder if the love they share is genuine or merely a fantasy, conjured up by a lost magician looking to save himself from being alone. Ivy Pochoda’s spellbinding and cinematic storytelling seamlessly fuses timeless magic to modern-day passion. Haunting and beautiful, The Art of Disappearing is an imaginative and captivating love story destined to enchant readers for years to come.


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How do you know if love is real or just an illusion? When Mel Snow meets the talented magician Toby Warring in a dusty roadside bar, she is instantly drawn to the brilliant performer whose hands can effortlessly pull stray saltshakers and poker chips from thin air and conjure castles out of the desert sands. Just two days later they are married, beginning their life togethe How do you know if love is real or just an illusion? When Mel Snow meets the talented magician Toby Warring in a dusty roadside bar, she is instantly drawn to the brilliant performer whose hands can effortlessly pull stray saltshakers and poker chips from thin air and conjure castles out of the desert sands. Just two days later they are married, beginning their life together in the shadow of Las Vegas, where Toby hopes to make it big. Mel knows that magicians are a dime a dozen, but Toby is different—his magic is real. As Toby’s renown grows and Mel falls more and more in love with his wonderments, she starts to realize that Toby's powers are as unstable as they are dazzling. She learns that he once made his assistant disappear completely, and couldn’t bring her back. And then, just as Mel becomes convinced that his magic is dangerous, a trick goes terribly awry during his Strip debut. Exiled from the stage, Mel and Toby flee the lights of Las Vegas for the streets of Amsterdam where a cabal of old-time magicians, real magicians like Toby, try to rescue him from his despair. But he’s haunted by the trick that failed, and obsessed with using his powers to right his mistakes, leaving Mel to wonder if the love they share is genuine or merely a fantasy, conjured up by a lost magician looking to save himself from being alone. Ivy Pochoda’s spellbinding and cinematic storytelling seamlessly fuses timeless magic to modern-day passion. Haunting and beautiful, The Art of Disappearing is an imaginative and captivating love story destined to enchant readers for years to come.

30 review for The Art of Disappearing

  1. 4 out of 5

    Her Royal Orangeness

    http://onlyorangery.blogspot.com/2011... Toby Warring is a magician. Not a "pull a rabbit from the hat" magician, but one who has the ability to reach into other dimensions and produce real magic. He and Mel Snow meet and marry quickly, and their life journey follows the consequences of Toby's magic. It is a story about losing things, and the price one is willing to pay to find what has been lost. The storyline is utterly original. There are echoes of Alice Hoffman, but the story is completely the http://onlyorangery.blogspot.com/2011... Toby Warring is a magician. Not a "pull a rabbit from the hat" magician, but one who has the ability to reach into other dimensions and produce real magic. He and Mel Snow meet and marry quickly, and their life journey follows the consequences of Toby's magic. It is a story about losing things, and the price one is willing to pay to find what has been lost. The storyline is utterly original. There are echoes of Alice Hoffman, but the story is completely the author's own. This is no formulaic plot, but one that kept me in a constant state of fascination. The writing is gorgeous. I am in awe of the author's ability to use words. The author paints word pictures using every dazzling colour in the universe. Each sentence is a masterpiece of art. I feel that it is this use of words, even more so than the plot, that leads the reader from the first sentence to the last. A theme of lostness runs through the story like a river, sometimes a gentle babbling brook and other times a raging creek that threatens to burst its banks. And in the end the river empties into the sea, a vast expanse that both hides and exposes the essential meaning of "lost." "The Art of Disappearing" is Pochoda's first novel. She can't write a second one soon enough for me.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    This book had a great start. Interesting premise of a woman who meets a magician who wants to make it big in Vegas. But it got more and more strange with the last half being very very weak. This book started out being a love story but quickly turned from realistic to surreal to bizarre. I love Vegas and appreciated that part of the novel. But being able to talk to fabric? Being obsessed with water? Strange much ?

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    The first few pages had a kind of cheap feel to them, with the quick marriage in a Las Vegas wedding chapel of a couple who had just met. But it transformed before long into something quite different. Toby, the groom, is a natural magician, and Mel, the bride, is a textile designer who hears her fabrics sing. You may as well surrender to the magical and fantastic nature of the story, and if you wish, there are metaphors and real-life themes for your mind to explore.

  4. 4 out of 5

    ERIN SCHMIDT

    I wanted this book to be more romantic than it was, but that it not the book's fault. Mel Snow, the textiles saleswoman to whom the textiles sing, and the stage magician Toby Warring whose magic is not a trick, are meant to be together for only a finite amount of time and that's just the way it is. One can think of this book as magical realism - it reminded me in this respect of Audrey Niffenegger's Her Fearful Symmetry (and probably also The Time Traveler's Wife, although I've seen the movie bu I wanted this book to be more romantic than it was, but that it not the book's fault. Mel Snow, the textiles saleswoman to whom the textiles sing, and the stage magician Toby Warring whose magic is not a trick, are meant to be together for only a finite amount of time and that's just the way it is. One can think of this book as magical realism - it reminded me in this respect of Audrey Niffenegger's Her Fearful Symmetry (and probably also The Time Traveler's Wife, although I've seen the movie but not read the book). On the other hand, it could be taken as an extended metaphor for the fact that the neurological world in which each individual lives is a closed system, and there is no way to let another person inside our own worlds, no matter how much we love them and want to share with them. It's simply the case that magic is Toby's entire world, just as Mel's world is woven through fabrics and her brother Max's world was entirely contained within waters. Their paths cross, but they can never truly inhabit one another's worlds. This is a bit of a sad revelation, but the redeeming note is that each world has its own unique beauty.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Bridget

    Toby is magician who doesn't use tricks in his magic shows, he uses real magic. When he meets Mel he feels an undeniable passion for her. To prove himself to her, he magically places a glass of wine in front of her. The next day, they become husband and wife. Soon, Mel realizes that Toby's is haunted by a failed magic trick. He had an assistant who was part of a disappearing trick. The problem is, she didn't return. He cannot escape the feelings of failure when it comes to this past event. Will h Toby is magician who doesn't use tricks in his magic shows, he uses real magic. When he meets Mel he feels an undeniable passion for her. To prove himself to her, he magically places a glass of wine in front of her. The next day, they become husband and wife. Soon, Mel realizes that Toby's is haunted by a failed magic trick. He had an assistant who was part of a disappearing trick. The problem is, she didn't return. He cannot escape the feelings of failure when it comes to this past event. Will he learn how to keep control of his power or will he end up screwing things up past recognition? This is an amazing story that keeps you wanting more. It's beautifully written and I was absolutely enthralled! I love a good love story.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Deborah Harkness

    I thought this was an extraordinary book. I was in love with Toby from the start, with his misfiring magic. With a remarkable economy of language, Pochoda created two memorable central characters that stay with you long after you finish.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Constance McKee

    This is a novel about a woman who impulsively marries a magician after knowing him for a day. But the magician does real magic and not illusions. Many interesting things happen due to his magic. This is an unusual book. The writing is lovely and lyrical and parts of the narrative feels dreamlike. The plot moves along well until toward the end, when I found it confusing. I like the premise, though, and found it fun. I should probably go back and try to sort out the confusing aspects of the plot, This is a novel about a woman who impulsively marries a magician after knowing him for a day. But the magician does real magic and not illusions. Many interesting things happen due to his magic. This is an unusual book. The writing is lovely and lyrical and parts of the narrative feels dreamlike. The plot moves along well until toward the end, when I found it confusing. I like the premise, though, and found it fun. I should probably go back and try to sort out the confusing aspects of the plot, but I know I won't do it because my TBR list is long already with books I haven't read. Still, it's worth a read.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Rosie

    I have always been interested in magic and magicians. I am an excellent foil for any magician. Thought I had died and gone to heaven in The Magic Castle many decades ago. So this book about Toby Warring, a magician whose ‘tricks’ are ‘real’, was very interesting to me. The final focus is on Toby and wife Mel Snow’s relationship and a fantastic participatory illusion called The Dissolving World. Locations range from the Nevada desert & Las Vegas to Amsterdam and the small towns in the surrounding I have always been interested in magic and magicians. I am an excellent foil for any magician. Thought I had died and gone to heaven in The Magic Castle many decades ago. So this book about Toby Warring, a magician whose ‘tricks’ are ‘real’, was very interesting to me. The final focus is on Toby and wife Mel Snow’s relationship and a fantastic participatory illusion called The Dissolving World. Locations range from the Nevada desert & Las Vegas to Amsterdam and the small towns in the surrounding area. If you have no interest in Magic or Existential philosophy, don’t bother.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lulu Johnson

    In this book, a magician can do magic shows because he is actually doing real magic. I loved this bit about this book. I love that magic is real and that really unbelievable things happen. It felt like Pochoda struggled a bit though with coherence. When you have real magic that involves time travel, it can be hard to keep everything straight. The story suffers a bit of confusion because of this. I did really enjoy the love story at the center though. It was certainly lopsided and messy but it wa In this book, a magician can do magic shows because he is actually doing real magic. I loved this bit about this book. I love that magic is real and that really unbelievable things happen. It felt like Pochoda struggled a bit though with coherence. When you have real magic that involves time travel, it can be hard to keep everything straight. The story suffers a bit of confusion because of this. I did really enjoy the love story at the center though. It was certainly lopsided and messy but it was also real, probably the realest thing in the book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Michele Dancer

    Ivy Pochoda is a writer of enormous talent. This is the third book I've read by her though it was her first published. This story of a magician who can do actual magic and the woman he loves is suffused with atmosphere, one of Pochoda's true gifts. She's not a big purveyor of happiness for happiness's sake and this book is no different. It was interesting to read this one after having read two of her later novels and see her growth as a writer. You won't have fun reading her books but you will b Ivy Pochoda is a writer of enormous talent. This is the third book I've read by her though it was her first published. This story of a magician who can do actual magic and the woman he loves is suffused with atmosphere, one of Pochoda's true gifts. She's not a big purveyor of happiness for happiness's sake and this book is no different. It was interesting to read this one after having read two of her later novels and see her growth as a writer. You won't have fun reading her books but you will be glad for the time you spent in the worlds she creates.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jennww2ns

    DNF @ 35% The whole book annoyed me. The protagonists are naive, wide-eyed, simple folk, the antagonists might as well be Boris and Natasha, and Greta is beyond absurd. Not a single one of them was more than one-dimensional. I liked it so little that I wouldn't even bother reading anything else by this author. DNF @ 35% The whole book annoyed me. The protagonists are naive, wide-eyed, simple folk, the antagonists might as well be Boris and Natasha, and Greta is beyond absurd. Not a single one of them was more than one-dimensional. I liked it so little that I wouldn't even bother reading anything else by this author.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tricia

    So much potential. But it didn't hold me. The narrative was unique and I loved the magic woven into the storyline. An intetesting idea without that...that thing that steals the show. I liked it. Didn't love it. So much potential. But it didn't hold me. The narrative was unique and I loved the magic woven into the storyline. An intetesting idea without that...that thing that steals the show. I liked it. Didn't love it.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Robyn Harrison

    Beautiful, elegant writing and an enchanting (magical!) premise, though it got a bit tangled toward the end.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Shannon Leonard

    Could not, did not finish. The characters did not capture my brain nor heart. I had no investment in the story line within the first 6 chapters. If I find myself wondering about the people or pondering their activities, I will return to Ms. Pochada's first novel. Could not, did not finish. The characters did not capture my brain nor heart. I had no investment in the story line within the first 6 chapters. If I find myself wondering about the people or pondering their activities, I will return to Ms. Pochada's first novel.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Melody

    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 the 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?

  16. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

    Mel Snow met the love of her life in a desert saloon one night. Two days later, they are married. Toby is a magician hoping to make it big one day in Las Vegas. Only, he isn't your usual magician. He doesn't perform tricks of illusion like most magicians. He is a real magician, practicing real magic. He knows very little about where his magic comes from or how to control it, which makes him dangerous, not only to himself, but those around him. After a mishap with a former assistant, he swore off Mel Snow met the love of her life in a desert saloon one night. Two days later, they are married. Toby is a magician hoping to make it big one day in Las Vegas. Only, he isn't your usual magician. He doesn't perform tricks of illusion like most magicians. He is a real magician, practicing real magic. He knows very little about where his magic comes from or how to control it, which makes him dangerous, not only to himself, but those around him. After a mishap with a former assistant, he swore off using humans in his act again. But that could only last so long. Mel finds a kindred spirit in Toby; both moving from place to place, searching for that which they've lost. Mel has her own magic, although it's never really described as that in the novel. She is a textile consultant and she has this uncanny ability to hear the voices and music coming from textiles. She is able to weave stories together from them, including her own. Toby has a charm about him that draws people to him. Mel can't help but begin to doubt that her own presence in his life wasn't something he concocted. Or is their love real? And while this is a significant plot point, the real story seems to be about two people trying to find their way in the world and come to terms with their pasts. Toby longs to rewrite the past while Mel struggles to understand it and find her place in it. Toby's story took center stage in the novel. However, when I had read the final page of the book, I came away feeling it was much more Mel's story. And that makes sense given she is the narrator. It's hard for me to talk about this book and my feelings surrounding it without giving too much away. The development of the characters over the course of the novel is an intricate part of its make up. This is very much a character driven novel. The author also introduces us to old time magicians who long ago lost their magic, a not so good magician bent on revenge, a brother who is called by the water, and a teenage runaway who wants to make a name for herself. Each of their stories serve an important purpose in the novel, giving the reader an even fuller image of Toby and Mel, both as individuals and of their relationship together. There is a beauty in the writing, in the descriptions of the desert and later Amsterdam as well as in the life given to Toby's magic. I was just as mesmerized as Mel in Toby's gift and powers. It wasn't until the second half of the novel, however, that I found myself completely drawn into Toby and Mel's life. The first half was interesting enough, but the story seemed to lag now and then. I think it had more to do with how separate Toby and Mel's stories seemed at that point. They seemed a bit disconnected from each other in those initial chapters. The novel grew on me though as everything fell into place, and, by the end, I was quite impressed. I used to think that magic realism and I didn't go well together, but I've since chalked that up to a bad experience. The Art of Disappearing made me believe in magic for the few hours I was reading. I left the book feeling satisfied and a bit sad. I look forward to seeing what the author has in store for us next.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Zoë Danielle

    After finishing a few disappointing books lately, I was waiting to fall in love and The Art of Disappearing by Ivy Pochoda was the perfect novel to do that. In The Art of Disappearing Mel Snow meets the magician Toby at an out of the way roadside bar, and the two connect immediately and decide to marry in Las Vegas. Mel knows Toby's magic is different, that it isn't about illusion but that he has a gift and that his magic is real. They move to Las Vegas where Mel works as a textile consultant as After finishing a few disappointing books lately, I was waiting to fall in love and The Art of Disappearing by Ivy Pochoda was the perfect novel to do that. In The Art of Disappearing Mel Snow meets the magician Toby at an out of the way roadside bar, and the two connect immediately and decide to marry in Las Vegas. Mel knows Toby's magic is different, that it isn't about illusion but that he has a gift and that his magic is real. They move to Las Vegas where Mel works as a textile consultant as the fabric sings to her and Toby works on pursuing his dream of having a Vegas show. As Toby's success grows, Mel learns that his magic may be more dangerous than she ever could have anticipated. When things go wrong, the couple flees Vegas for Amsterdam and move in with a bunch of old real magicians who may be able to teach Toby powers beyond his imagination just as Mel begins to doubt whether or not their love is real- or if Toby conjured her too. The setting in The Art of Disappearing almost becomes its own character, the desert heat of Vegas and the rainy streets of Amsterdam, Pochoda uses location as a powerful tool in telling her story. However my favourite skill of Pochoda's is her haunting, enchanting, lyrical use of language. The description in the book was velvety beautiful from the very beginning, and her word choice was the perfect way to tell a story that is part magic, part human truth. The Art of Disappearing is what I wanted My Name is Memory to be, it is the perfect blend of the real and the unreal, magic and reality. It is full of unique and powerful characters, and I felt a connection to each of them. I especially loved the way Pochoda described Mel's relationship with her water-loving older brother Max, and the complexity of having to both love somebody and let them go, a theme which dominated the novel. It is a romance without resorting to the cliches of the genre, a love story without being predictable, a look into the human heart with touching and remarkable skill- The Art of Disappearing is a book I did not want to put down and a book I will be picking up again. I am eagerly awaiting whatever Pochoda writes next. *****

  18. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    Mel Snow is a traveling textiles consultant, working in Las Vegas, when she meets a magician in a diner. They are married almost instantly. Toby, though, isn't your usual card trick magician. His magic is real. I'm not talking about the wand-waving, Harry Potter style of magic. Toby's magic is the old, ancient magic of a true magician. Someone capable of conjuring from thin air...and someone capable of losing into thin air. While Mel in enchanted by Toby, she comes to realize that he is haunted b Mel Snow is a traveling textiles consultant, working in Las Vegas, when she meets a magician in a diner. They are married almost instantly. Toby, though, isn't your usual card trick magician. His magic is real. I'm not talking about the wand-waving, Harry Potter style of magic. Toby's magic is the old, ancient magic of a true magician. Someone capable of conjuring from thin air...and someone capable of losing into thin air. While Mel in enchanted by Toby, she comes to realize that he is haunted by a trick gone wrong. When things start to go wrong again, Mel and Toby flee Las Vegas and take up with some stodgy, old magicians in Amsterdam. It's there that the real journey of Mel and Toby begins. Toby becomes consumed by his magic, and Mel wonders about her place in his world. In the end, Toby and Mel each have a choice to make. But, of course, I'm not going to give that away. The Art of Disappearing is a lovely, enchanting, and haunting read. Ivy Pochoda has a true magic of her own in her writing style, and she weaves her own gorgeous tapestry of a story. Her descriptive use of language combined with the complexity of her storyline make for a truly remarkable read. For me, it's something like a cross between The Time Traveler's Wife and Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. Definitely a unique combination of reality and fantasy that doesn't disappoint. I very much enjoyed this book, and I definitely think you all should check it out!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Mel Snow and her magician husband, Tobias Warring. When Mel first met Toby she thought he was just one of those cheesy magicians. This was easy to understand, especially when the person is performing in Las Vegas. What Mel soon discovers is that Toby is not an imposter but the real deal. He is one in a million. The problem is that Toby can’t control his magic. During one of his performances, a tragic accident happens and Toby and Mel are forced to leave. They travel in search of someone who can Mel Snow and her magician husband, Tobias Warring. When Mel first met Toby she thought he was just one of those cheesy magicians. This was easy to understand, especially when the person is performing in Las Vegas. What Mel soon discovers is that Toby is not an imposter but the real deal. He is one in a million. The problem is that Toby can’t control his magic. During one of his performances, a tragic accident happens and Toby and Mel are forced to leave. They travel in search of someone who can help Toby before it is too late. This book started out a little confusing at first. Mel and Toby had gotten married. It started at the end and than went backwards to everything leading up to the present. If done right, I can usually follow along and get right into the story without any of the back ground storyline first. Unfortunately, this didn’t really happen for me this time. A reason for this isn’t for lack of detail because there was a lot of detail but because I felt the plot moved very slowly for me. Also, I was expecting Toby to do lots of magic and there wasn’t really that much. The love story through between Toby and Mel was memorizing. It reminded me of the movie, The Illusionist. Toby and Mel’s relationship was like Ed Norton’s and Jessica Beil’s characters…it was romantic, sad, and magical, all at the same time.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Caitlin

    There is a trend in indie films and books to create quirky characters and then do nothing meaningful with their quirks - they're just sort of quirky to be quirky and often wander around the film or book with a dazed expression on their face and an emo haircut. Seriously, everybody on the planet is quirky - let's celebrate that and make the actual bits and pieces of a character something that matters - because it does. The Art of Disappearing is full of characters with all kinds of quirks and idio There is a trend in indie films and books to create quirky characters and then do nothing meaningful with their quirks - they're just sort of quirky to be quirky and often wander around the film or book with a dazed expression on their face and an emo haircut. Seriously, everybody on the planet is quirky - let's celebrate that and make the actual bits and pieces of a character something that matters - because it does. The Art of Disappearing is full of characters with all kinds of quirks and idiosyncrasies that the author fleshes out with great dexterity. This story of a conjurer who marries a textile designer to whom textiles and fabrics sing is full of the fantastical yet nothing is treated as a trick or an affectation or a filler. Toby and Mel felt true to me in a way that characters in books often don't. I loved this novel about love and letting go, about all the beauty in the world, and about longing after someone who's gone away. This is a beautifully told story full of conjured rabbits and snowstorms and brocades that sing. The Vegas and Amsterdam setting are perfect for it and there are many moments in this book that will stay with me. Ms. Pochoda has written a fearless and marvelous story told in just the right way. I loved it.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    In a way this book is surreal. I enjoyed the writing tremendously, however there wasn't a consistency of tension or a clear line of plot. Not that what happened was random, but I kept wondering what is the goal that the newly married couple are striving for. I was drawn by the heavy involvement of magic in the synopsis, so if you're looking for that you won't be disappointed. But like Morgenstern's "Night Circus", sometimes even magic and beauty and "intrigue" can fall flat when there isn't a re In a way this book is surreal. I enjoyed the writing tremendously, however there wasn't a consistency of tension or a clear line of plot. Not that what happened was random, but I kept wondering what is the goal that the newly married couple are striving for. I was drawn by the heavy involvement of magic in the synopsis, so if you're looking for that you won't be disappointed. But like Morgenstern's "Night Circus", sometimes even magic and beauty and "intrigue" can fall flat when there isn't a real plot. Just a quick note: I'm not a fan of magical realism, however I enjoyed it in this story than most others I've read. The marriage between the couple (especially since they only knew each other for 2 days before getting hitched) was nice since most couples usually have a rough start in their marriage, but Toby and Mel's relationship never really wavered. This story focuses on the theme of loneliness in a way I've never read before. From people who are actually by themselves to people surrounded by attention but still feel displaced, it's a heavy emotional baggage that people either learn to carry all the time, or allow it to keep them stuck in one place.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    This book was a very interesting read. I thought that the premise of the story was very well thought out. The book starts with the quickie Vegas marriage of the two lead characters and proceeds from there. They don't know each other at all, but are pulled to each other like magnets or magic! Mel's relationship with fabrics and textiles is interesting as they "talk" to her. She gets stories from pieces of material. The author does an amazing job of describing this connection and what Mel hears an This book was a very interesting read. I thought that the premise of the story was very well thought out. The book starts with the quickie Vegas marriage of the two lead characters and proceeds from there. They don't know each other at all, but are pulled to each other like magnets or magic! Mel's relationship with fabrics and textiles is interesting as they "talk" to her. She gets stories from pieces of material. The author does an amazing job of describing this connection and what Mel hears and sees. Toby is a magician who really does have magic. He isn't your run-of-the-mill illusionist or rabbit in the hat magician. He literally pulls things out of thin air and sends things there too. This is where the problems start for him. Ms. Pochoda has created a very readable story of love, loss, and magic that will leave you wondering "what if"? She is a master of the art of description. I am looking forward to seeing what comes next for this talented debut author. This book would be a great choice for a book club or discussion group.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Hunter

    Each of us have those moments we wish we could return to, those people who have slipped away from our lives. In this lovely, lyrical book, we meet a couple--textile consultant Mel Snow and her magician husband, Toby Warring--with their own memories to contend with. Whether seeking them in patchwork quilts, through the doors of magic boxes, in the depths of the ocean or the invisible pockets of the air around them, Mel and Toby find their own connection buffeted by the voices of the past. Reminis Each of us have those moments we wish we could return to, those people who have slipped away from our lives. In this lovely, lyrical book, we meet a couple--textile consultant Mel Snow and her magician husband, Toby Warring--with their own memories to contend with. Whether seeking them in patchwork quilts, through the doors of magic boxes, in the depths of the ocean or the invisible pockets of the air around them, Mel and Toby find their own connection buffeted by the voices of the past. Reminiscent of The Time Traveller's Wife and The Prestige, The Art of Disappearing also reminds me strongly of the work of Jonathan Carroll in its magic realism and in its exploration beyond our own reality of the forces and conundrums of love. At times the threads of the plot fray, but the evocation of the reader's own memories makes this a powerful, thought-provoking work.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Susan Coleman

    The story grabbed me immediately, and I devoured the first half, but somewhere along the way it seemed that the author lost the thread and couldn't figure where to go with the story. The premise was intriguing enough, but then the plot sort of devolved into purposeful bewilderment, a la the films Memento or Inception. I wanted her to pull something out at the end to offer a sense completion or at least give the reader a little reward for making it that far, but I was disappointed in the lack of The story grabbed me immediately, and I devoured the first half, but somewhere along the way it seemed that the author lost the thread and couldn't figure where to go with the story. The premise was intriguing enough, but then the plot sort of devolved into purposeful bewilderment, a la the films Memento or Inception. I wanted her to pull something out at the end to offer a sense completion or at least give the reader a little reward for making it that far, but I was disappointed in the lack of either. The characters too never grew on me in the way they should have. For a love story to work, the reader must want to pull for the couple, want things to work out for them so, if it doesn't in the end, we experience the same heart-rending jolt they do. But I never really cared about either of the main characters that much, and with no real strong supporting characters and an ultimately perplexing plot, this turned out to be very different from what I'd expected from the strong beginning.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Gigill

    I had a love-hate relationship with this book. At times I felt sucked in by the story and moved by the writer's pretty descriptions with words. I hated the constant melancholy undertone (especially when its sunny and summery out!), confusing storyline and lack of description around the main character. I loved how the cities played such strong roles in the books and how they made me want to travel. I found myself bored at times and lost in the sea of characters. There were lots of ups and downs; I had a love-hate relationship with this book. At times I felt sucked in by the story and moved by the writer's pretty descriptions with words. I hated the constant melancholy undertone (especially when its sunny and summery out!), confusing storyline and lack of description around the main character. I loved how the cities played such strong roles in the books and how they made me want to travel. I found myself bored at times and lost in the sea of characters. There were lots of ups and downs; I'm not sure how else to express. I wouldn't make it a priority to read, but it was interesting none the less. There is some truly beautiful writing in this book.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Renee

    I absolutely loved the book Visitation Street by Ivy Pochoda but unfortunately I didn't enjoy this book very much. The book is about a woman who meets a magician in a road side bar, is instantly drawn to this man who can pull roses from thin air and conjure castles out of desert sands. They marry two days later, and begin a life together in the shadow of Las Vegas. He is not a trained magician but a true magic-man. Because nothing in this book was remotely believable I just could not get into it. I absolutely loved the book Visitation Street by Ivy Pochoda but unfortunately I didn't enjoy this book very much. The book is about a woman who meets a magician in a road side bar, is instantly drawn to this man who can pull roses from thin air and conjure castles out of desert sands. They marry two days later, and begin a life together in the shadow of Las Vegas. He is not a trained magician but a true magic-man. Because nothing in this book was remotely believable I just could not get into it. However Pochoda is a good writer and if you like books about magic and fantasy you might enjoy this!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Actually 3.5 stars. From my book review blog Rundpinne. ..."I was first drawn into the story by the witty narrative and the unusual storyline, but I do not often read about traveling textile merchants meeting and marrying magicians, yet soon found myself immersed in the lives of Mel and Toby, each filled with their own secrets that haunt them." The full review can be read here. Actually 3.5 stars. From my book review blog Rundpinne. ..."I was first drawn into the story by the witty narrative and the unusual storyline, but I do not often read about traveling textile merchants meeting and marrying magicians, yet soon found myself immersed in the lives of Mel and Toby, each filled with their own secrets that haunt them." The full review can be read here.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Hadi

    Very clean writing, a strong beginning and a great ending but the middle section in Amsterdam was weak, introducing too many new characters that all felt similar. While Mel was a great character but Pachoda's constant references to Tobyas 'the magician' or 'my magician' - which may have been intended to present him as a cipher - had the effect of making him essentially one-dimensional. Consequently the passion between Mel and Toby had to be taken on trust, this may have been Pachoda's intention Very clean writing, a strong beginning and a great ending but the middle section in Amsterdam was weak, introducing too many new characters that all felt similar. While Mel was a great character but Pachoda's constant references to Tobyas 'the magician' or 'my magician' - which may have been intended to present him as a cipher - had the effect of making him essentially one-dimensional. Consequently the passion between Mel and Toby had to be taken on trust, this may have been Pachoda's intention as Mel too wonders if Toby had conjured her up but I think it weakens the story.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Gina

    this was one of those books where it seems interesting, then it's dull for a bit, then it picks up again and this cycle keeps repeating to a point where you're too far in the book to quit reading it because you've invested this much time in it, you need to finish it. I wasn't impressed with the book at all. It had 2 story lines going on at the same time and I wasn't sure what one had to do with the other. I'm not sure how it got such good reviews, it was hard to like one of the characters at one this was one of those books where it seems interesting, then it's dull for a bit, then it picks up again and this cycle keeps repeating to a point where you're too far in the book to quit reading it because you've invested this much time in it, you need to finish it. I wasn't impressed with the book at all. It had 2 story lines going on at the same time and I wasn't sure what one had to do with the other. I'm not sure how it got such good reviews, it was hard to like one of the characters at one point and the other you wanted to smack for being stupid.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Laurie

    p 51 "Snow was her elixer. And more important, snow made things match. It smoothed rough edges and harsh contours. It erased the garish paint jobs on new cars and undermined families who had trimmed their houses in a Caribbean palate. It masked badly pruned hedges and covered lawn ornaments. Snow, according to my mother, brought tranquility and beauty to a mismatched world. As she saw it, a good snowstorm would be better than a baptism." p 51 "Snow was her elixer. And more important, snow made things match. It smoothed rough edges and harsh contours. It erased the garish paint jobs on new cars and undermined families who had trimmed their houses in a Caribbean palate. It masked badly pruned hedges and covered lawn ornaments. Snow, according to my mother, brought tranquility and beauty to a mismatched world. As she saw it, a good snowstorm would be better than a baptism."

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