The Spirit Cabinet

by Paul Quarrington | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0679309853 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingPooker3wing of Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on 3/11/2007
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2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingPooker3wing from Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Sunday, March 11, 2007
I couldn't help myself. 99 cents for a new hardcover at Coles' giant clearance sale just across the street!

Journal Entry 2 by wingPooker3wing from Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Thursday, February 18, 2010
On hearing the sad news of Paul Quarrington's passing I decided to dig out one of his books to read. I was hoping to find Whale Music in my stash, but it looks like I've sent both copies of that award winner out traveling. Sometimes I do wonder. But that left this one.

Well it does not hold a candle to King Leary which I absolutely loved, but then what Canadian doesn't relate to hockey. Magic on the other hand does not appeal to me as much as an adult as it did as a kid. I always somewhat resented the fact that my brother got a magic kit for Christmas one year and I did not! So I was rather hoping that I'd get the goods on a magic trick that I could pull off the next time I see my brother. However, I did not come away with any of those unless you count the card tricks to which I suspect brother already knows the secrets.

This book was a fun read. Jurgen and Rudolfo are two aging gay magicians who, despite their dubious starts in life, have found each other, hit the big time and are living in a mansion, with all its luxuries and servants as well as a menagerie of exotic birds and animals, in Las Vegas. They've perfected their art and have their act down pat. Rudolfo is content with things as they are. He's okay with adding or changing a few minor details so the act does not become stale, but really there's not much need because there's always a new crop of tourists willing to pay the ticket price (including, and making me laugh, a middle-aged woman from Winnipeg at one point). Jurgen, on the other hand, has the desire (since childhood really) to perform real magic, not just tricks. So when Houdini's vast magic collection comes up for auction, Jurgen must have it. They end up spending millions on this collection of rusty chains, rings and handcuffs and pile after pile of dusty yellowed books and manuscripts that they store in the Grotto, one of the many rooms in their mansion.

The entrance to the Grotto is controlled by a big boulder that must be moved to allow entry. The grotto itself gave me the creeps but one piece of the Houdini collection is even creepier - that being the Davenport Spirit Cabinet. The cabinet is forever oozing weird animals from it crescent shaped holes and seemed to me to be quite sinister or possessed. Jurgen, of course, is determined to master the use of this cabinet.

As might be expected, the book is full of oddball characters. Quarrington's descriptions of them are fantastic. But despite their wackiness and puffery, you can see them as they are underneath - human beings as frail and needy as the rest of us. I think the main problem with the novel for me was that, although Jurgen and Rudolpho are presented in such a way that I ought to have had some sympathy or empathy for them, I really didn't muster up any. I didn't care whether things worked out for them or not. Interested yes, but not in my heart.

I have to admit that I sometimes got lost in the plot and wondered about the need for so many characters. I sometimes likened myself to Samson, the arthritic, albino leopard who lived in the mansion, watched TV when he wasn't performing, and knew there was something unusual going on but was too lazy and set in his ways to do much about it unless he had to.

As I've said this was a fun read - probably not Quarrington's best work, but magical in its own way.

Journal Entry 3 by wingPooker3wing at York Avenue in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Saturday, March 20, 2010

Released 10 yrs ago (3/20/2010 UTC) at York Avenue in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada



on a parking paystation across the street from the Convention Centre.

This book was released for week #12 of the Never Judge a Book by its Cover release challenge. An easy theme this week - "the", "a", or "an" in the title. I thought too that perhaps the word "cabinet" might appeal to the folks attending the Home & Garden show at the convention centre this weekend. Mind you, I'm not sure that many of us would want this particular cabinet in our homes. It's not a "spirits" cabinet. :)

I hope the finder enjoys it!

Journal Entry 4 by wingAnonymousFinderwing on Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Caught this book outside the Winnipeg Convention Centre, resting on a parking meter.
Not a bad read.
I'm taking it to Toronto in a couple of weeks and will release it there.


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