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Carter Beats the Devil: A Novel Hardcover – Sep 5 2001


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion (Sept. 5 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786867345
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786867349
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16.3 x 3.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 907 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (151 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #765,156 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


Inside This Book (Learn More)
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He wasn't always a great magician. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Karen Kirsch on March 17 2004
Format: Paperback
I would love to read this book again. But what would be the point! I remember each detail as though I had read it yesterday.
Just looked up my old review and was amazed that it has been
2 1/2 years since I read it. This will always be one of my all-time favorites. Glen, you are really Gold.
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Format: Hardcover
Ok, I confess that I wanted to be a magician when I was 8 years old and that Houdini (who makes a cameo in these pages!) was my hero; nevertheless, Gold's book is a fun stroll through early 20th century America with just enough tongue-in-cheek to make you smile page after page.
A well told story with many delightful quirks and spins, Carter becomes a magician, President Harding dies, and Jack Griffin (a secret service agent) tries to make the world a safer place. Lions, anarchists, San Francisco -- this book is full of charming intertwined and unexpected episodes. White Teeth by Zadie Smith is the last book that I read with the same intelligently light spirit of writing. I'd love recommendations from anyone out there.
Best wishes to the author and much success!
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Format: Paperback
I haven't been inspired to write a review in some time, but felt that this book warranted it. This is a truly, truly enjoyable read. Mr. Gold has a talent for being bold while at the same time inserting subtle themes in his writing.
I hate reading reviews that just tell what happens in the book, so I'll just give a few opinions. This book features many colorful characters, some actual historical figures, some not. They come and go throughout the novel at perfectly measured intervals: just when you think a character has fallen by the wayside, he/she is reintroduced in a new light and with a larger role to play in the plot.
"Carter Beats The Devil" is fun, engrossing, and at times even educational. It's definitely worth your time and money.
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Format: Paperback
Carter Beats the Devil was a very enjoyable read. I enjoy fiction that refers to history, and this book was very interesting. I also enjoyed reading the references about Magic from that era, it really gives an interesting view of the theatrics that went on in that time period. As an actress myself, I was also very interested in the parts about the audience responding to the magicians shows. The book really shows an interesting view on people from that time period and how they participated in entertainment.
If you are interested in Theater history in general, and want to read an interesting work of fiction, I recommend this as a very enjoyable novel to read.
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By Scott E. Conrad on March 17 2004
Format: Paperback
This is a fun historic novel. It does a good job of grabbing you at the beginning and I will admit some of the middle of the book dragged. However, the climax and conclusion wrapped up things pretty nicely.
Overall, a satisfying read. I will be looking at other things Glen Gold wrote.
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By A Customer on Feb. 15 2004
Format: Paperback
Carter Beats The Devil is a fairly interesting read. This book would definately find a nice place in the hands of those that enjoy history and interesting tidbits about how things gained their names ie how lofts (apartments) gained their name. Futhermore, CBTD starts off with a jump and kept my attention until a little over half way through the book. At this point, I found myself struggling to finish the book. I began exclusively seeking those historical tidbits just to make the last half of the book bearable. With that (attempting not to give anything away) the romance shared between Carter and his lover became highly unrealistic. It almost felt like the author was struggling to turn the novel into some dime store romance fling (and not a well written one at that). I found it completely unbelievable and dreadful to read. All in all, I finished the book and would like to conclude that it is creative and there are many interesting little side suprises throughout the book. However, if your looking for something amazing then I would skip this book and keep looking.
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By Karie Hoskins on Jan. 14 2004
Format: Paperback
The amount of research that Gold put into Carter Beats the Devil is readily apparent - yet this work of historical fiction reads like a novel. The first 80% of the book leads in a very pleasant and engrossing way up to the climactic scene that takes place during Carter's last major show. While Gold doesn't give away many tricks - he does make you feel as if you were standing in the wings of the Orpheum Theater. You can see, hear and almost touch the audience, the catwalk above, the dressing rooms...you are there with Carter (albiet with a slightly blocked view) as he performs his greatest tricks and has the time of his life - and as the other plotlines come to a head. I started into this scene at 10:30pm - and didn't stop until 12am even thought I had to get up at 5am!
The details of life in San Francisco in the teens/20's are rich, the writing is clear, Carter is well fleshed out (though the rest of the characters are a little stereotypical)...this is a good read. I'd recommend it to someone who was not in the mood for anything deep but didn't want anything cheesy or trashy. A fun book worth your while.
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Format: Paperback
***Some spoilers ahead***
This book took a little while to get moving for me, but once it did, it really took off and I was hooked.
"Carter Beats the Devil" is a sprawling thing, loosely historical (very loosely) and freshly unpredictable. I didn't realize until I read Glen David Gold's afterword that Charles Carter was a real magician performing in the heyday (teens and '20s) of the magic boom in the U.S. But don't be scared away by a dose of history with your fiction. The history on display here is only history in the loosest sense of the word. This book is first and foremost a work of fiction; let's face it---any book that has Warren Harding living on a deserted island with his wife and a menagerie of retired circus animals can't be taken too seriously, right?
The beginning of the book, detailing Carter's childhood and his motivations in becoming a magician, aren't that involving. For once, I just didn't care why he became a magician, and I would have accepted "he just wanted to perform magic" as reason enough. But on top of motivation not being necessary, the motivation Gold does provide isn't particularly interesting.
On top of the weak beginning, I thought the book was going to run a predictable course: Begin with framing device, explain childhood of protagonist, explain success of protagonist, explain downfall of protagonist, explain comeback of protagonist, return to framing device. I thought the novel would end with Harding's death, since that it is where it starts. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that the real plot didn't even get started until after Harding has "died." Once I reached this point in the book, I couldn't put it down and found scene after scene to be thrilling and memorable: the demonstration of T.V.
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