Excerpt from The Magicians by Lev Grossman, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Magicians

A Novel

by Lev Grossman

The Magicians by Lev Grossman
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Aug 2009, 416 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2010, 416 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Judy Krueger

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Young and strong and brave- o
He wore a sword and rode a horse
And his name was Dave- o…

"God!" Julia shrieked. "Stop!"

James had written this song years ago for a middle- school talent show. He still liked to sing it; by now they all knew it by heart. Julia shoved him, still singing, into a garbage can, and when that didn't work she snatched off his watch cap and started beating him over the head with it.

"My hair! My beautiful interview hair!"

King James, Quentin thought. Le roi s'amuse.

"I hate to break up the party," he said, "but we've got like two minutes."

"Oh dear, oh dear," Julia twittered. "The duchess! We shall be quite late!"

I should be happy, Quentin thought. I'm young and alive and healthy. I have two reasonably intact parents— viz., Dad, an editor of medical textbooks, and Mom, a commercial illustrator with ambitions, thwarted, of being a painter. I am a solid member of the middle-middle class. My GPA is a number higher than most people even realize it is possible for a GPA to be.

And yet, walking along Fifth Avenue in Brooklyn, in his black overcoat and his gray interview suit, Quentin knew he wasn't happy. But why not? He had painstakingly assembled all the ingredients of happiness. He had performed all the necessary rituals, spoken the words, lit the candles, made the sacrifices. But happiness, like a disobedient spirit, refused to come. He couldn't think what else to do.

He followed James and Julia past bodegas, Laundromats, hipster boutiques, cell-phone stores limned with neon piping, past a bar where old people were already drinking at three forty-five in the afternoon, past a brown-brick Veterans of Foreign Wars hall with plastic patio furniture on the sidewalk in front of it. All of it just confirmed his belief that his real life, the life he should be living, had been mislaid through some error by the cosmic bureaucracy. It had been diverted somewhere else, to somebody else, and he'd been issued this shoddy substitute faux life instead. Maybe his real life would turn up in Princeton. He did the trick with the nickel in his pocket again.

"Are you playing with your wang, Quentin?" James asked. Quentin blushed.

"I am not playing with my wang."

"Nothing to be ashamed of." James clapped him on the shoulder.

"Clears the mind."

The wind bit through the thin material of Quentin's interview suit, but he refused to button his overcoat. He let the cold blew through it. It didn't matter, he wasn't really there anyway.

He was in Fillory.

  • 1
  • 2

Excerpted from The Magicians by Lev Grossman © 2009 by Lev Grossman. Excerpted by permission of Penguin Group (US) Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Discover your next great read here

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Ghachar Ghochar
    by Vivek Shanbhag
    The Bengaluru (aka Bangalore) that has dominated economic news headlines over the past decade is the...
  • Book Jacket: Caught in the Revolution
    Caught in the Revolution
    by Helen Rappaport
    So taken were BookBrowse's First Impression reviewers by the inside look at the start of the Russian...
  • Book Jacket: Hillbilly Elegy
    Hillbilly Elegy
    by J.D. Vance
    In this illuminating memoir, Vance recounts his trajectory from growing up a "hillbilly" in ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Atomic Weight of Love
by Elizabeth J. Church

In the spirit of The Aviator's Wife, this resonant debut spans from World War II through the Vietnam War.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Mercies in Disguise
    by Gina Kolata

    A story of hope, a family's genetic destiny, and the science that rescued them.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Lola
    by Melissa Scrivner Love

    An astonishing debut crime thriller about an unforgettable woman.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

Life is the garment we continually alter, but which never seems to fit.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

O My D B

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
Modal popup -