It speaks of Lev Grossman's savvy as a journalist, as well as an author, that his new book, The Magicians, stands on the shoulders of J.K. Rowling. After all, writing a novel that's being billed as a grown-up Harry Potter guarantees a certain level of media attention - not that Grossman suffers from lack of exposure, seeing as how his last release, 2004's bibliophile thriller Codex, was a bestseller and he remains a ubiquitous blogger and book reviewer for Time.
Calculation aside, Grossman has dived into fantasy literature with a gusto that makes most lifelong practitioners of the genre look like pretenders: The Magicians follows the spellbinding fantasy and moral murk surrounding Quentin Coldwater, a young wizard educated at a university for mages in upstate New York (called Brakebills, not Hogwarts). But after returning to the real world, his super power threatens to become his own Kryptonite - until he discovers that the setting of his favorite childhood fantasy novel is a real place, one that he must journey to in an attempt to bring sense to his own life. As a meta-genre meditation, The Magicians is stunning, but Grossman also cuts to the heart of fantasy as both a thing to read and a way to live and ponders what the nature of escapism might ultimately be.
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Grossman will be at the Tattered Cover at 2526 East Colfax Avenue tonight at 7:30 p.m. to discuss and sign The Magicians. For more information, call 303-322-7727 or go to www.tatteredcover.com.
Mon., Aug. 17, 7:30 p.m., 2009