The Confabulist weaves together the life, loves and murder of the world’s greatest magician, Harry Houdini, with the story of the man who killed him (twice): Martin Strauss, an everyday man whose fate was tied to the magician’s in unforeseen ways. A cast of memorable characters spins around Houdini’s celebrity-driven life, as they did in his time: from the Romanov family soon to be assassinated, to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the powerful heads of Scotland Yard, and the Spiritualists who would use whoever they could to establish their religions. A brilliant novel about fame and ambition, reality and illusion, and the ways that love, grief and imagination can alter what we perceive and believe.
Steven Galloway has pulled off an impressive feat. With Houdini as his backdrop, Galloway has blended fact and fiction in a mind-processor pioneered by Poe. The result is astounding. —David Ben, Magician and Artistic Director, Magicana
What begins as a playful, mind-teasing mystery about Harry Houdini, the greatest magician who ever lived, turns subtly, brilliantly into a beautiful elegy on love and loss, identity and self-deception. Galloway, who is fast emerging as one of our finest young writers, has produced another novel to linger over, read and re-read, in order to glean all that it has to offer. —Kevin Baker, author of The Big Crowd