The Spirit Cabinet

Publisher: Vintage Canada
After a slow climb out of the strip clubs and flesh pots of Europe, Jurgen and Rudolfo have hit the big time in Las Vegas, headlining a slick and well-oiled magic act. Rudolfo, a true misfit, is content orchestrating the spectacle, but Jurgen, stricken since childhood with the irrational desire to make magic, hungers for more. He finds it in a musty, mysterious collection of old manuscripts and magic cabinetry that once belonged to Houdini. And when he turns into the miracle-working saint of Las Vegas, chaos results. In a narrative that is whimsical, comic and melancholy by turns, Quarrington takes dead aim at the place in the human heart that hopes that doves can bloom from top hats and illusions can come true.


Chapter One
Preston the Magnificent, Jr., (or, as he preferred to call himself privately, Preston the Adequate) stood outside the George Theater dressed in an old morning suit that had belonged to his father. Being a much larger man than Preston the Magnificent, Sr., he had only managed to do up one button on the slate...
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"A marvellous, funny novel." --Roddy Doyle

"A magical novel, dazzling us-- Often funny, always surprising, and ultimately profound and very, very moving. In a sense, fiction writers are illusionists, making us believe in other worlds, and Paul Quarrington is a master of that ancient craft. He is a sorcerer, and his novel is spellbinding." -Tim O'Brien

"With the possible exception of Mordecai Richler, Quarrington is probably the funniest novelist writing in Canada today. It's not surprising that one of the richest gifts The Spirit Cabinet delivers is wave after wave of laughter." -The Toronto Star