Laurant: Man of Many Mysteries

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Postby Lisa Cousins » 04/26/05 10:10 AM

I am so delighted and impressed with this cheerful and charming little book! Its svelteness and readabilty make such a striking contrast to the usual magic history mega-tome fare. And let's face it, most of us are not going to attain "legend" status in magic. It truly makes for a pleasant and much-appreciated divergence from the norm to hear the tale of this non-famous, yet always-working magician.

On the one hand, I can understand the impulse to collect every scrap of information about a historic magician and put it into a single book. Magic history is a really obscure interest, so what are the chances that another volume about any particular magician is ever going to appear? I can see the wisdom of collecting it all in one place. But there are two consequences of this approach which I consider quite poor. One is that it makes the study of magic history a pursuit for the wealthy, when it should be something within the reach of anyone who has any interest in magic at all. The other is that giant, encyclopedic references are not "user-friendly" and cannot realistically be read cover-to-cover, and so tend to end up on shelves rather than in minds.

To expose my own bias on this book, I was the person who drove over to the home of local collector Miller "Dusty" Cravens, gathered up his boxes of Eugene Laurant scrapbooks and ephemera, and shipped them off to Gabe. Having the chance to browse through this giant hodge-podge of material that Gabe had to sort through and organize for his book makes the work all the more praiseworthy in my eyes. Very nicely done, Gabe, and many congratulations to you.
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Postby gfajuri » 04/26/05 01:24 PM

Wow, Lisa!

Thanks ever so much for your kind words and your help in putting together the book. You were essential in getting things going.


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Postby Guest » 04/26/05 01:47 PM

I just got a flyer about the book and it sounds great! I will be carrying it soon!

Postby Guest » 05/09/05 06:56 PM

Just finished my copy and it is wonderful! Excellent writing in bringing forward a time, era, and performer, for others to learn and appreciate.
Gabe, you amazed everyone with your Abbott's presentation in Chicago, a few years ago, when you were barely out of high school...a few years later, and you come out with this quality a book...what a future!

Postby Matthew Field » 05/10/05 03:17 AM

This is an important and exciting book. Gabe Fajuri deserves highest credit for his reasearch into this little-known conjurer.

I thought enough of the book to print a long excerpt in the June issue of The Magic Circular.

You can find details at .

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Postby Leonard Hevia » 07/04/05 07:13 AM

Hi Lisa--I purchased my copy of this text a few weeks ago and plan to crack the cover soon. We can never have too many books on the history of magicians. Those texts have much to teach us about the performance of magic. I also agree that history texts should not be too expensive. I am reminded of the Patrick Culliton two volume set on Houdini that retailed for $300.00--ridiculous.

I highly recommend the biography of Blackstone Sr. that came out a few years ago. I'm sorry I don't remember the author at the moment. :)
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Postby Richard Hatch » 07/04/05 08:20 AM

Originally posted by Leonard Hevia:
I highly recommend the biography of Blackstone Sr. that came out a few years ago. I'm sorry I don't remember the author at the moment. :)
Blackstone: A Magician's Life by Dan Waldron. A GREAT book, right up there with David Bamberg's incredible ILLUSIONSHOW. Both published by Meyerbooks in Illinois. Alas, I don't believe they have a website. Both books are still in print. I know we have copies of the Blackstone and intend to restock the Bamberg (of course, we also have the Laurant!).
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Postby Lisa Cousins » 07/04/05 10:09 AM

The thing I really like about Bamberg's ILLUSION SHOW is that he seems to have begun writing it with regular people in mind, but then he can't quite "hold that thought," and instead falls into this tone of chatting with his magic chums. That's a really fun book. So is Dan Waldron's Blackstone biography.

But I must add that I love my Pat Culliton Houdini books. If I remember correctly, he only published 250 of them, and 13 of those went to libraries. I have therefore always taken pride in counting myself among the top 237 Houdini-likers in the world.
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Postby Gary Hunt » 07/04/05 07:36 PM

The Bamberg book is a wonderful book and a must read. IMHO it is the best magic autobiography every written. Sorry about that Robert-Houdin.

Working on my summer magic reading and thanks to H&R I just started Barry Wileys The Indescribable Phenomenon. I hate to say it but Jamy Ian Swiss review was right on. <g>. A great book and destine to become one of my favorite magic biographies. Anna Eva Fay was an amazing person and performer. What a like she had. A must read!!

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