Millroy the Magician By Paul Theroux

Fourteen-year-old Jilly Farina was mesmerized by Millroy the Magician at the Barnstable County Fair. After all, he once turned a girl from the audience into a glass of milk and drank her. But when Jilly stepped into the wickerwork coffin during a performance, she had no idea he would transform her dreary life into something truly magical, and a touch bizarre.

For Millroy was no ordinary magician. He could smell the future, and Jilly was going to be part of it. Yet not even Millroy could foresee how far determination and a dream could take him, as he and his new young assistant hit the road--and the airwaves—to save America's unhealthy appetite and floundering soul.... Millroy the Magician


Read & download Millroy the Magician

Another typical case of Don't judge a book by its cover...

If you've been following my reviews for a while, you'll know by now that I havea mad love affair with Paul Theroux. (his books, of course. It's totally what I mean to say).

I LOVE Theroux.

No discussion about it. Nothing he can do will convince me otherwise. I hope. OMG I really really hope.

Of course I don't love every single one of his books, which would be asking a bit much, since a) he has written a lot more than most good authors these days, and b) he has written a few things that can clearly be labelled as I was young or otehrwise desperate and needed the money and c) if even Charles Schulz couldn't be a completely brilliant EVERY single day, we can't really expect it from Theroux either. Actually, I love him even more because of his weaknesses.

Ok, ignore that. And please trust me when I tell you that I'm not a fourteen year old girl witha crush, even though I sound like one...

Anyway, Theroux, books, covers, where were we?

Right, judging a book by its cover. Or not judging it. This one I judged a little bit - I had acquired a copy of Millroy in the form of a black paperback with a sort of esoteric of I don't know what. That plus the title (Magician? I'm not really into all that magic stuff) led to the aforementioned paperback sitting on my bookshelf for quite a few years until I finally convinced myself to read it this year.

And it was absolutely brilliant.

Yes, there is a magician. He may or may not be able to perform real magic. That's not what the book is about. The book is actually a fantastically spot-on satirical look on, well, everything - our belief in TV, the supernatural, advertising, eating (and the ridiculous cults we follow oin the name of health and goop, uhm, sorry, typo, I meant food), religion... it's absolutely brilliant.

The idea is as brilliant as the execution - at least until the very end. The ending is, well, I'm not going to spoil you, but it is surprising and extreme, and it spoke to me, because I felt that the book needed a bit of an abrupt shock as an end. I was expecting something different, but it worked for me.

This comes highly recommended, it's definitely one of the best books I've read this year. Millroy the Magician It is not often that I am at a loss for words about a particular book. It is even less frequent if I am not sure whether I liked a book or not. It took me about one week to read Millroy, and I primarily read because I wanted to see how the story of Millroy and Jilly would end. I still don't know if I enjoyed this book. The character of Millroy is certainly a complex and fascinating one, but the plot left something to be desired (for me). I wouldn't recommend this one to most readers - it is extremely bizarre and I can't say it was a pleasure read. Millroy the Magician I read this for a book club...blech! Just. Terrible. I couldn't bring myself to finish it. Millroy the Magician This is the only Theroux book I couldn't finish. By three-quarters through, I still didn't know what the story was about, didn't understand the odd and two-dimensional characters, and didn't even bother to the end to find out what happened, because I didn't care. A rare miss. Millroy the Magician This book is tricky surprising and so incredibly beautiful. It will give you much to ponder about humanity and the power of belief. I sincerely enjoyed it and could not put it down. Millroy the Magician

Maybe this is a book I can try to read again during the winter. It's slow-paced (which is normally fine) and a bit creepy (also, generally speaking, fine) but I think if you're reading a book like that, one or more of the characters should be engaging in some way or another. For me at this time, I wasn't drawn to a character or the story. Millroy the Magician Billed as a funny, dark satire of America's obsessions, and written by the talented Paul Theroux, this book should have been right up my alley, but quite possibly it is one of the stupidest things I've ever read. A warning label would be helpful: Caution--contains spurious vomiting and other unwarranted redundancies and pointless excesses. What in the heck was this all about? Cannot believe I kept reading this muddled tale to the very end. It did not get better. Millroy the Magician Though I've never truly watched the TV-series Carnivale, as I found them too scary for the time of day they were broadcasted, this book oozes the same feeling of dark mystery, which is partly why I loved it. Millroy is a magician capable of true magic (liquidizing people and drinking them like milk) and is obsessed with healthy food as eaten in the Bible. He takes 14-year old Jilly along on his travels, and it is through her eyes we see the slightly disturbing story unfold. Millroy the Magician A lonely child meets a magician at a fair and they go on to accidentally start a diet weird, just great. Millroy the Magician I could not put this book down, yet as I read the reason was not obvious. Beautifully written but a brilliant exercise in repetition. I became entranced. The book is hypnotic. At the end, the journey I had been on was not completely clear, as if I had emerged from an eon compressed in a 5 minute nap. I can remember it all yet I remain unsure of the purpose. Was Jilly Farina from Marston Mills a wide eyed delusional apostle and Millroy a false prophet? Was Millroy God's son but ultimately imperfect. The broader commentary on religion and the ability of humans to shape it to their needs, destroying the good in it, is excellent, but the tale is told over and over. The theme of diet does get to you in the end, even if it is partly allegorical. I am observing blockages and pursuing open bowels with a new fervour. The final chapters only partly reconcile the doubts about Millroy's intention for Jilly that are manifest from the books beginning. Is Millroy a paedophile? Perhaps it is this uncomfortable line that Theroux walks that is so compelling. Millroy is at once a savior for Jilly but also a potential predator. It is his own internal conflict over his intentions that gives him power? In many ways I have to concede the deeper threads in this book have probably sailed over my head. Worth reading nonetheless. Millroy the Magician