Book Review and Interview with Author: The Red Magician by Lisa Goldstein

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Genre: Fiction with a little fantasy

Age Recommended: 12 and up

This story was a little creepy at times but overall it was great. It was set in the time of WWII and I really liked that the author combined the idea of witchcraft with WWII, making it seem as if they were related.

Read below to see my interview of the author, Lisa Goldstein.

The Red Magician

WWII has begun.

Kicsi is a young girl who lives in a rural village. One night, a man named Voros comes to her village, and speaks of death and destruction coming soon. Kicsi believes him and together they try to protect the village. Kicsi discovers that Voros is a magician after he saves someone’s life.

However, the local rabbi says that this is all garbage and that he is the real magician, not Voros. The two of them have a battle and Voros ends up disappearing after a spell gone wrong causes him to get hurt.

Kicsi realizes that she has fallen in love with Voros and cannot bear to see him go.

Soon after, Nazis come to Kicsi’s village and take her family to a concentration camp. Kicsi is separated from her family, faces a lot of adversity and falls ill . Miraculously, Kicsi survives long enough to meet Voros again. He takes care of Kicsi but she is still sick and may not be able to pull through. The rabbi also challenges Voros to a final combat…

Will Kicsi survive? Will Voros win?

Here is my interview with the author, Lisa Goldstein. (Thank you for answering my questions, Ms. Goldstein!)

Q: When did you start writing?

A: I wrote all my life, probably soon after I learned to read.  But I started seriously writing, actually sitting down and working every day, around when I graduated college.  Part of that was realizing that I had to get a job soon, and that if I was going to be a writer, now was the time to get to work.

Q: Who is your favorite character in the Red Magician?

A: That’s a hard one.  I like both Kicsi and Voros, Kicsi because she’s so familiar to me and Voros because I wrote him to be slightly distant and mysterious.  I actually think the two characters work best together, a combination of innocence and knowledge.

Q: Who inspired you to write?

A: I had a babysitter when I was a kid who had known several writers, including John Steinbeck, and her talking about them made me realize that writers were actual people, and that maybe I could write a book too.  She also encouraged me to write, something no one had ever done before.  I dedicated The Red Magician partly to her, and, amazingly, she lived long enough to see it (she was over a hundred when she died).

As for writing fantasy, I was very inspired by Ursula Le Guin.  She started at a time when people still said women couldn’t write science fiction, and it was terrific to find someone who not only wrote it but who wrote it better than anyone else around.

Q: What is your favorite book?

A: Not sure if this is about my favorite of my own books or my favorite book in general — but since I don’t like picking a favorite among my books I’m going to answer the second.  There are several books I keep coming back to and rereading.  One of them is _Little, Big_ by John Crowley, which is a brilliant history of a family in New York living with magic.  I think of it as sort of _A Hundred Years of Solitude_ set in the United States. Another is _Possession_ by A.S. Byatt, which moves between two stories, one about the relationship between two writers in Victorian times and the other about two contemporary academics trying to learn the truth about them.  It jumps back and forth in time, making connections between the two sets of characters and their writings and histories.  It isn’t fantasy, but one of the writers tells terrific stories about ghosts and fairy tales and a woman who turns into a serpent.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

A: Mostly that you have to sit down and write.  Make time to do it every day, or, if you don’t have time for this, at least several times a week.  And read a lot, from every genre, and try to learn from the good stuff and to see where the bad stuff goes wrong.

If you would like to read this book, you can purchase it here: The Red Magician

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