Magician is a collection of eleven stories in a wide range of tones and styles, all concerned with dilemmas faced by ordinary people.
In the title story, a young aspiring actress weighs the enticing, frightening possibilities of spending her future with a mystifying 52-year-old man. The young man in “Just South of Tyrone” conceives of life as a movie musical as he embarks on a romantic journey with a woman friend—until he finds himself stranded in Oklahoma and forced to depart from his imaginary script. In “Alligator” a young girl begins to understand the attractions of sex and alcohol and the depths of adult deception during a family vacation. Moby Dick: or, The Whale causes the main character of “The Kitchen” to question the choices that have led him to a lonely winter in Chicago. And in the prize-winning “Everything I Need,” a young man uprooted from a small town in Arizona seeks companionship in an overwhelmingly large city by attaching himself to the anonymous community of a radio call-in show.
Originally published in hardcover by Dutton in 1991, Magician was nominated for the Chicago Sun-Times Book Award. It has since been reprinted in a stunningly ugly paperback produced by Xlibris, available through Amazon.
For more recent, uncollected stories by Peter Turchi, click here.