Magic (novel)

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Magic: A Novel
WilliamGoldman Magic.jpg
First edition
AuthorWilliam Goldman
Cover artistRichard Huebner[1]
CountryUnited States
PublisherDelacorte Press
Publication date
August 1976
Media typePrint (Paperback, Hardcover)
Pages243 pp
LC ClassPZ4.G635 Mag PS3557.O384

Magic is a psychological horror novel written by William Goldman. It was published in the United States in August 1976 by Delacorte Press. In 1978 Richard Attenborough directed a feature film adaptation of the story that starred Anthony Hopkins and Ann-Margret.

Plot summary[edit]

The novel concerns a man named Corky Withers, a shy, odd-tempered and alcoholic magician, whose lackluster performances start to turn around when he adds a foul-mouthed ventriloquist's dummy, Fats, to the show. It chronicles Corky's childhood and adolescence, and his deep love for a high-school crush named Peggy Ann Snow.

The novel is written kaleidoscopically, changing time period, location, and point of view swiftly and leaving important information, such as the identity of Fats the dummy, unknown for extended periods of time.


Goldman had the idea for a novel about a ventriloquist for a number of years before writing it.[2]

He says his editor suggested he cut the sequence where Corky's father talks about seeing Bronko Nagurski making a comeback in a football game, which Goldman had seen as a boy, but the author refused because he was so moved by it.[3]


Producer Joseph E. Levine paid $1 million for the film rights and to do the screenplay.[4].[5] The novel was well received.[6]


  1. ^ Modern first editions - a set on Flickr
  2. ^ Egan p 130
  3. ^ Richard Andersen, William Goldman, Twayne Publishers, 1979 p 100-101
  4. ^ WESTWARD THEY COME, BIG BUCKS FOR BIG BOOKS Rosenfield, Paul. Los Angeles Times 18 Feb 1979: n1.
  5. ^ 'Levine Buys Film Rights To William Goldman Novel' New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 03 Mar 1976: 27.
  6. ^ 'William Goldman pulls 'Magic' out of elliptical hat', Wolff, Geoffrey. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 03 Oct 1976: q1.
  • Egan, Sean, William Goldman: The Reluctant Storyteller, Bear Manor Media 2014

External links[edit]