Lev Grossman is still the ‘Magic’ man

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Lev Grossman does not do magic tricks.

The author of “The Magicians” calls himself the “world’s most incompetent stage magician.” But it’s not for lack of trying.

“It turns out learning that stuff is incredibly boring; you’re doing the same thing over and over and over again,” said Grossman. “Like all writers, I’m a masochist — but even I’ve got limits.”

Luckily, Grossman does have a talent for writing about magic; his third novel — a coming-of-age story described as a “‘Harry Potter’ for grown-ups” thanks to its dollops of sex, drugs and dark magic — has been hailed by critics for its creativity and storytelling flair.

On June 3, the Clinton Hill resident celebrates the novel’s paperback release at powerHouse Arena in DUMBO, offering a chance for new readers to get acquainted with Quentin Coldwater, a brilliant Park Slope teen who finds that magic is real when he is accepted into an exclusive college of magic in upstate New York.

Beyond the new release, Grossman is still very much entrenched in the world he’s created; the author is currently at work on a sequel — “The Magician King,” to be published next fall — that catches up with the characters five years after the original.

“I built this whole world for the characters to live in,” said Grossman. “It’s all still set up and living in my head, so I figured why not set another story there before I tear it down forever?”

In that sense, who needs card tricks when you can create entire worlds?

Lev Grossman at powerHouse Arena [37 Main St. at Water Street in DUMBO, (718) 666-3049], June 3 at 7 pm. For info, visit

Updated 10:02 am, May 28, 2010
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