The Magician and the Cardsharp

Discuss the historical aspects of magic, including memories, or favorite stories.

Postby Guest » 01/03/05 04:55 AM

Richard Kaufman, in his July 2003 Genii column, wrote that Karl Johnson was working on a book ("Grabbing Air") detailing Dai Vernon's quest to find Allen Kennedy, a card player who could deal cards from the center of the deck. The book grew out of Johnson's articles in American Heritage and Genii. I was wondering what happened to the book.

I recently noticed, however, that Henry Holt (the publisher) and are both showing an August 2005 publication date for the book. The title is currently The Magician and the Cardsharp (changed from Grabbing Air). I thought Johnson's two articles were terrific, and I think the book should be an interesting read.

Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/03/05 10:39 AM

I know Karl has been hard at work on the book for the past several years and I believe it is on schedule for publication.
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Postby Richard Lane » 02/06/05 06:36 PM

Publishers Weekly and Amazon list a release date in August. ... s&n=507846
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Postby Guest » 07/22/05 05:42 PM

It appears the book is available now, earlier than its expected August 10 release date. I just got an email from Amazon saying my copy has shipped...

Postby Richard Hatch » 07/22/05 07:33 PM

We got our first copies in stock about 10 days ago. Looks great: photos of Kennedy and the Mexican convict who told Vernon about him...
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Postby NCMarsh » 07/22/05 09:53 PM

I was given an advance reader's edition as a gift by a client who owns an independent bookstore -- I'm about halfway through and the book is marvelous! Some wonderful stories -- and not only about Kennedy and Vernon...there is some rich background on the worlds that they inhabited -- great stories about the town that Kennedy was born and raised in and a really interesting picture of Kansas City in the '30's...I love the description of Miller as Vernon's Sancho Panza...

The back of the cover says that the book will be availible in August.

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Postby Tabman » 07/24/05 01:29 PM

The way they laid out the type in this book makes it very hard to read. The spacing is very awkward. It looks like it was left/right justified in a simple word processor. Try as I might to get some read speed going I couldn't do it.

The spaces are not balanced for reading I'm sorry to say. It's like driving a race car down a bumpy dirt road. The scenery is beautiful and you can't wait to see around the next curve but the road is so bumpy you can't get going. It's obvious from the first line. I may have to wait for the movie.

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Postby Dave Egleston » 07/25/05 07:23 AM

I agree with Mr Tabman -

It's not a comfortable read - but it's interesting enough to continue on.

A big plus is that it is extensively indexed and has an eight page bibliography but there are no footnotes which is a plus for me because it would have further interrupted the flow and rhythm of the story.

I haven't decided how to read this yet, so it may take a couple of weeks to finish it.

I want to thank Karl Johnson for writing this book, it is a fascinating story that I've heard several magicians tell.

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