The Prestige by Christopher Priest

A couple of weeks ago, a friend handed me The Prestige and told me that the book was a mindfuck. I own the movie, but never knew it was an adaptation. So, I took the offer and started reading it. It was weird to be reading a book that was published so long ago that I had never heard of, but I was looking forward to diving in.

I finished the book today. The writing style was something I don’t normally read. It’s written through two diaries between two Victorian magicians, Alfred Borden and Rupert Angier. (Borden was played by Christian Bale; Angier, Hugh Jackman.) They embark on a multi-year feud started by an unfortunate incident. Angier started his career by arranging fake seances and one of his first clients was Borden’s aunt. Borden followed Angier with plans to unveil the ruse. When Borden made his move, he inadvertently knocked Angier’s wife and assistant to the floor, which sparked a miscarriage. The Angiers were wrought with depression, and Rupert was sparked for vengeance. The feud started and continued even after both men were tired of feuding. However, because of pride, neither set out to communicate their views and it spiraled out of control.

The book starts in the current time period where the descendents of Angier and Borden are meeting. I found myself more interested in what was going on “present day” than what was occurring in the diaries. Even so, I enjoyed the mystery. There were substantial differences between the movie and book, but I found that those differences did not ruin the experience of either. It was interesting to see the book’s narrative play out against my memory of the film, and while the differences were stark, I was not disappointed. It was a good read, no matter how long it took me to get through.


5 thoughts on “The Prestige by Christopher Priest

  1. themisanthropologist says:

    I read this book a few years ago, and I remember being very captivated with it. I read it after watching the movie, but to me, the book was so much better. It was so chilling and terrifying at times. I don’t remember the details now, but I do remember feeling I got while reading it. Loved it!

  2. akb_TheProjectionBooth says:

    The book and the film are so different from each other that they can almost stand together as companion pieces. By not doing a literal/straight adaption of the book Christopher Nolan was able to get around the “the book was better” jinx.

    The book is one of my favorite books, and the movie one of my favorite movies. Great stuff.


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