♦ The Magic In ‘The Trick’ Is How It Wins Our Hearts [REVIEW]

Hope and wisdom

In the hopes of saving his parents’ marriage, a young boy who still believes in the impossible elicits the help of a cranky old stage magician in Emanuel Bergmann’s debut novel, The Trick. (Photo by Todd Baker, Flickr)

Diamond Review BannerOnce in a great while, a book comes along that so completely captures my heart and imagination I can’t wait to tell others about it. Emanuel Bergmann’s marvelous debut novel, The Trick, is one such story. In it, we meet a charming little boy who sees the world with such wide-eyed wonder we can’t help but fall in love with him. After his parents deliver an announcement that will shatter his world, he forges an unlikely alliance with a cynical old man who has lost the ability to see all of life’s dazzling possibilities. Their friendship changes both of them in powerful and unexpected ways. 

Emanuel Bergmann's THE TRICK - Credit Atria Books

Atria Books

Once upon a time in Prague, an aging rabbi and his wife think they will never have the son they so desperately want. When World War I breaks out, he is sent to the front only to return home to discover that his beloved is “miraculously” pregnant with a boy who will become one of Germany’s premiere magicians, the Great Zabbatini.

With the arrival of World War II, however, the magician’s Jewish heritage is discovered, and he soon finds himself struggling to survive life in a Nazi concentration camp, pinning his hopes on the dreams and illusions he spent his lifetime conjuring. Seventy years later, those dreams have dissipated and the magic is all but gone. Now Zabbatini sits fading away in a Los Angeles home for the elderly, left only with his memories to haunt him.

Meanwhile, young 10-year-old Max Cohn is a precocious boy who has just learned that his parents are intent on divorce. When he finds a scratched-up old record of the Great Zabbatini’s best magic tricks, he becomes obsessed with one particular illusion, the love spell. He believes this may be the answer to his prayers, the solution that will save his parents’ marriage. And so he seeks out Zabbatini to see if he will work one last trick to salvage a crumbling family before it is too late.

It may be difficult to believe that this novel, which obviously deals with some very heavy topics (including war, genocide, and divorce, to name but a few), is one that is also buoyant and filled with optimism and hope, and most of all, tons of heart. With The Trick, Bergmann succeeds in making us look at the world through new eyes while deconstructing our fears and resurrecting our faith. He reminds us that friendship and love come in many different forms, are oftentimes found in the most unlikely of places, and that if we believe in something hard enough we can work a very special kind of magic. Filled with irreverent humor and heartfelt compassion, readers are sure to fall under the spell of Bergmann’s enchanting writing style and delightful characters, and will soon find themselves laughing despite themselves, cheering on an old man and a little boy as they give the world around them one more try.

Emanuel Bergmann

Emanuel Bergmann
(Photo by Philipp Rohner/
©Diogenes Verlag)


Emanuel Bergmann was born in Saarbrücken, Germany in 1972. After his high school graduation, he moved to Los Angeles to study film and journalism.

He has worked for various movie studios, production companies, and independent publishers in Germany and the United States.

He now makes his living teaching German, translating books, and writing articles. The Trick is his first novel.

Connect with Emanuel on Facebook.

By Emanuel Bergmann
384 pgs. Atria Books. $26.

TLC Book Tours Tour HostPurchase The Trick at one of these fine online retailers: Amazon, Books-A-Million, and Barnes & Noble.

The Trick is brought to you in association with TLC Book Tours.

The Trick Giveaway

Congratulations to John Smith for winning a copy of The Trick!

Contest ended December 22, 2017. Stay tuned for more opportunities to win other great reads.


About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

4 Responses to ♦ The Magic In ‘The Trick’ Is How It Wins Our Hearts [REVIEW]

  1. Pingback: It Takes Courage to Be Empathetic | Jathan & Heather

  2. Pingback: Emanuel Bergmann, author of THE TRICK, on tour November/December 2017 | TLC Book Tours

  3. This seems like the kind of book that will stay with readers for a very long time. I’m so looking forward to getting to know these characters!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.

  4. Jathan Fink says:

    Reblogged this on Jadeworks Entertainment and commented:

    Once in a long while, one of those stories comes along that celebrates the beauty of life and the magic of friendship. Emanuel Bergmann’s debut novel, The Trick, is one of those stories. Don’t miss this stunning new diamond reviewed book!

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