The Prestige by Christopher Priest
The Prestige is about two magicians, Borden and Angier and their long-standing feud. The book starts with Andrew Borden meeting Kate Angier, both descendants of the Magicians. However, the real story is one that began more than a hundred years and is all told in the form of diary entries, from Borden's point of view as well as Angier's. Reading the same story from two different perspectives has always been something I've enjoyed. Mainly because although you can form your opinion from one perspective, it is always enlightening to read from the second one. In this case, it also gives you an overall view on how pointless the feud really was and how they even agree at some point that they should have never started this or should have worked together.
There are lot of descriptions in the book, from setting up equipment to the workings of electricity. It can be a tad bit boring at times, however it did make me eager to watch the movie to see how it is portrayed. It is something that you know even while reading the book, would creating a visually stunning picture. There is also some education on all the background work that is necessary to be able to effectively perform on stage. In the end, a Magician is what you are, it is not something that you do. It is what color's both Borden's and Angier's lives.
A sense of unravelling of a mystery is apparent throughout the book. I love how Borden at the beginning of the diary warns that things may not be as they seem. A magician's deception rules everything, even the diary itself. He compares his writing to a magic trick which it ultimately is. A trick that is his whole life.
"Audience know well that a magician will practice his illusions for years, and will rehearse each performance carefully, but few people will realize the extent of the prestidigitator's wish to deceive, the way in which the apparent defiance of normal laws becomes an obsession which governs every moment of his life. "
The Prestige movie is a masterpiece directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Michael Caine and Scarlett Johansson. There are significant differences from the book. The main differences are that although there is a feud, the reason for feud differs and the film completely drops off the story of the descendants. Of course, the movie is beautiful with the showmanship and dare I say . . the revealing of the prestige.
Do I think the book or the movie is better? I have to say that both should be enjoyed as standalones. When you read the book, you just know some of the scenes written have to be experienced visually. On the other hand, the suspense and the story from the different point of views is just better in the book.