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Life, Death, and Other Card Tricks Review

December 18th, 2002 10:51am
Reviewed by Christian
This is a nicely printed, thick book containing 401 pages. That is a lot of card tricks. But, is it any good?

Well, what do you consider good. If you are looking for the newest, slickest, quickest card moves, move along in your search. If you are looking for fascinating and compelling presentations for card tricks, then this is your book.

What Robert Neal has done is take many standard or already existing card tricks and encased them into very unique and well thought out story lines. You will find a very interesting take on the Jonah Card where every one wins.

There is fun with the Homing Card principle, The Anniversary Waltz, Roy Walton’s Kaleidoscope, and on and on. I think you get the idea. What sets this book apart is the effort that is made to make the tricks not only theatrically entertaining but also steering away from the classic “magician wins / spectator loses” presentations.

Robert Neal gives a comprehensive list of references after each trick. This allows you to not only learn where the trick came from but also where the idea of the presentation came from. This is a valuable learning tool for those that wish to improve their presentational abilities.

This book is an absolute sleeper for real world performers. When this book came out in 2000, it was well received but not a big seller. I believe that is because it focused on theatrical presentation and not wild and crazy new tricks. It is like the difference between a good drama and a good action movie. This is the type of book that shows one how to take a ordinary card trick, put some dramatic direction into it and turn it into a moving and amazing presentation.
5 stars

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Product info for Life, Death, and Other Card Tricks

Author: Neale, Robert E.
Publisher: Hermetic Press
Average Rating:  (2)
Retail Price: $37.00
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Manufacturer's Description:

Over 60 new presentations with normal playing cards. In Robert E Neale's world, playing cards appear, vanish, turn over, multiply, change and identify themselves to the magician, all in very mysterious ways. But if that were all they did, this book would be little different from hundreds of others on card tricks. What is unique in Robert E Neale's world is that, while the cards do all these things, they also tell stories, arouse emotions, explore the mysteries of life and death, and leave their viewers feeling just a bit altered by the experience. These are card tricks that entertain in ways that are rare and fascinating. In Robert E. Neale's world, Twisting the Aces isn't just a demonstration of cards turning magically face up. It's a humorous contest between Samurai warriors and flies. When cards are eliminated and chosen, the result isn't just a successful prediction. It's a game of life and death. When the cards of a poker hand multiply, vanish and change, they do so not in a magician's hands, but in those of W C. Fields. When a card vanishes and reappears, it isn't just a display of skill - it's a quick trip between dream and reality. And when a spectator's selection disappears from the deck, he isn't just surprised, he's made immortal. Hardcover, 164 illustrations, 414 pages.

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