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The Magician and the Fool by Barth Anderson
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The Magician and the Fool

by Barth Anderson

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Unreadable. Worse, unmagical. To Oxfam it goes! ( )
  phoebesmum | Aug 7, 2011 |
I really liked this book - I would cheerfully give it 4 stars from my own perspective, but following it can be a bit tricky. And explanations would be useful - not lots, but some terms and phrases should be in a glossary or footnoted (I had a similar issue with all the Spanish in Patron Saint of Plagues, but tarot/magic knowledge is less widely known.) But then again, it's a book about a magician (of sorts) so go in expecting some tricks and sleight of hand.
Part of the confusion lies in that the story you see first isn't really connected to what happens next. First we are introduced to Jeremaih Rosemont, an art historian who took himself out of the mainstream, away from tenure and the pursuit of his career. He winds up in Nicaragua, and displays some unusual abilities to influence people, abilities and decisions he doesn't fully understand himself. In true conspiracy cannon, he is given an envelope with a ticket to Rome by a man outside the locked gates of his hostel, addressed to him, though no one would know where he is, etc. Naturally, he goes to Rome.
We are introduced then to Boy King, a tramp/homeless man in Minneapolis with a talent for reading tarot cards. He is being pursued by an unknown agent, possibly to do with the clashings of two ancient cults who strive for legitimacy/authenticity.
It's a wild ride, and well written, but is a book you have to approach with no preconcieved notions of how the story unfolds. Ancient mythology, magic, tarot and academia all rolled into one mad package. ( )
  DoskoiPanda | Jun 1, 2011 |
I'll need to re-read this one to get what's really going on. It starts out well, grabbing your attention instantly. However there is a slight lack of development which starts about three quaters of the way through making it hard to follow. At times I did think I had the thread of what was going on but then really lost it at the end. It was enjoyable though and the author definitely has great skill. ( )
  trinibaby9 | Nov 24, 2009 |
The Magician and the Fool.

this book was all over the place. directly following Lamb, it was interesting to read something so off the wall. Half of the book is incoherent. You are reading two different perspectives on opposing sides of the world.

The first is of Jeremiah Rosemont. Rosemont is a art historian who has taken himself out of the world as we know it. he has been disgraced (though you never truly know why). the book opens with him in south America where he is bumming from town to town looking for peace of mind. he is called to Rome, and given a ticket first class to get there. the ticket comes from someone that he doesn’t know and he has no idea why he is going there… but hey. it is a ticket to Rome. he goes.

Character 2 is of the Boy King. Boy King is a homeless guy living in Minnesota. he is a master reader of the tarot and is hiding from some silent enemy. he has been under the radar for 12 years and is frightened as he finds himself being led back into it.

The whole book revolves around a deck of tarot cards that is 400 years or so, older than any known written (on paper) text. Mythology of the creation of Rome, (the slaying of Remus by Romulus), sorcery, astral travel, lizard people, 900 year old humans, slip-streamed universes, times travel and mind control are all elements in the story.

I read this book cover to cover and enjoyed every page. unfortunately, i have no idea what happened in it. the author purposefully leaves out significant details and glosses over others leaving no solid answers for anyone reading the book. One primary question requiring more info, is what in the great flying fucketty fuck are all these people after the tarot deck for? They need Rosemont to authenticate the deck as being real. they need to catch the Boy King (for what reason, you are never privy to)…. but WHY??? it isnt ownership of the deck, it isn’t some super secret magic that i can tell. all they want is to have an unbiased opinion of the deck and it’s origins..,. fuck… fuck them… toss me some twine so i can help tie this all up.. i have theories, but that is all i can give..

this book was awesome in how fantastically frustrating it was. i hope there is a second book. though i doubt there is.. will need to look that up.

i would read a second just to get answers to the first.
( )
  JasonBrownPDX | Aug 18, 2008 |
My first thought on this book is that it's very Powers-ian. A secret world operating off to the side of this one that most people don't know about. And it all has to do with the Tarot. We learn about this world as Jeremiah Rosemont, once a scholar of the Tarot, learns about the other, secret world that swirls around the cards. A world that's obviously full of magic, that sprung from the fight between Romulus and Remus, that may be infinitely older than that.

Alternately, we learn of the Boy King, a transient who knows to much about this world and tries to keep himself hidden from it.

I found this book really intriguing. I'm familiar with the Tarot, and have been for somewhere around twenty or twenty-five years. But these ideas never would have occurred to me (which is why I'm not a writer). I just love reading books that have that anchor in our world and a plausible reason to go off into a dimension just a hair away--the one you see out of the corner of your eye.

I really really wanted to know much more about the magic and the world and different types of people involved with the Tarot, but as a publishing professional (and production editor), I realize that it would have just been an info dump--there really wouldn't have been a good graceful way to work it into the story without bogging down the narrative. So I'll just hope that Barth Anderson will set more works in this world. ( )
  PirateJenny | Jul 29, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553383590, Paperback)

For hundreds of years, men have sought their hidden futures in the legendary images of the tarot—but what secrets of the past are harbored by the priestess, the magician, the hanged man…and the fool? The author of the explosive The Patron Saint of Plagues returns with a richly textured mystical mystery exploring the dark heart of one of our oldest traditions.

Years ago, fallen scholar Jeremiah Rosemont left the bitter rivalries of academia behind and now lives a simple nomadic existence in South America, far from the arguments that once defined his life. But he can’t outrun his past…or the dangerous truth that lurks beneath his abandoned studies. Following an enigmatic summons to Rome, Rosemont finds himself at the center of a mystery that dates back to the fall of Troy, the pursuit of a mystical treasure many are willing to sacrifice fortunes and lives for: the earliest known tarot deck.

As Rosemont delves deeper and deeper into the tarot’s unsettling secret origins, his own fate is inexorably intertwined with that of the Boy King, a homeless man with an unspeakable gift…and a mysterious past of his own. For these two men—and the demons, dupes, and power seekers drawn to them—the cards will reveal everything, even the shattering, unseen truths of human life itself.…

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:23 -0400)

Years ago, fallen scholar Jeremiah Rosemont left the bitter rivalries of academia behind and now lives a simple nomadic existence in South America, far from the arguments that once defined his life. But he can't outrun his past ... or the dangerous truth that lurks beneath his abandoned studies. Following an enigmatic summons to Rome, Rosemont finds himself at the center of a mystery that dates back to the fall of Troy, the pursuit of a mystical treasure many are willing to sacrifice fortunes and lives for: the earliest known tarot deck. As Rosemont delves deeper and deeper into the tarot's unsettling secret origins, his own fate is inexorably intertwined with that of the Boy King, a homeless man with an unspeakable gift ... and a mysterious past of his own. For these two men--and the demons, dupes, and power seekers drawn to them--the cards will reveal everything, even the shattering, unseen truths of human life itself.… (more)

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