The Trick (Paperback)

A Novel

By Emanuel Bergmann

Atria Books, 9781501155833, 384pp.

Publication Date: May 29, 2018

Other Editions of This Title:
Digital Audiobook (9/18/2017)
Hardcover (9/19/2017)
Library Binding, Large Print (1/3/2018)

List Price: 17.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Sweeping between Prague during World War II and modern-day Los Angeles, “The Trick is a lyrical, uplifting, and funny story that will tug at all of your heartstrings” (Armando Lucas Correa, bestselling author of The German Girl) that follows a young boy seeking out a cynical, old magician in the hopes that his spells might keep his family together.

In 1934, a rabbi’s son in Prague joins a traveling circus, becomes a magician, and rises to fame under the stage name the Great Zabbatini, just as Europe descends into World War II. When Zabbatini is discovered to be a Jew, his battered trunk full of magic tricks becomes his only hope for survival.

Seventy years later in Los Angeles, ten-year-old Max finds a scratched-up LP that captured Zabbatini performing his greatest illusions. But the track in which Zabbatini performs the spell of eternal love—the spell Max believes will keep his parents from getting divorced—is damaged beyond repair. Desperate for a solution, Max seeks out the now elderly, cynical magician and begs him for help.

With gentle wisdom and heartbreaking humor, this is an inventive, deeply moving story about a young boy who needs a miracle, and a disillusioned old man who needs redemption.

About the Author

Emanuel Bergmann was born in Germany and is a journalist and translator. He has been living in Los Angeles since 1990. His first novel, The Trick, was an international bestseller.

Praise For The Trick: A Novel

"As I flipped the pages, I was reminded of the best magic of all: love's ability to turn our greatest disappointments into our biggest blessings."
— First for Women Magazine

The Trick is a lyrical, uplifting, and funny story that will tug at all of your heartstrings.  A true miracle from the first to the last page.”
— Armando Lucas Correa, bestselling author of The German Girl

“Emanuel Bergmann is a formidable writer and he has meticulously weaved the story with two great characters. You will enjoy this brilliantly written debut novel no matter what your mood and age are.”
— The Washington BookReview

— New York Post

“Bergmann’s novel, a pleasing blend of Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants and Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything is Illuminated, puts magic back into everyday life.”
— Booklist

"Sweet, funny, magical."
— Kirkus

"The twin stories of Max and the octogenarian born Moshe Goldenhirsch in Prague will mesmerize readers as they move ever closer to the finale. While Max hunts down his quarry, I was envisioning the fortune-telling machine at the heart of the Tom Hanks film Big, but the images Bergmann creates are eerier and more devastating in his exceptional work."
— Library Journal

“Bergmann’s storytelling is a feat of magic in and of itself.”
— RT Book Reviews

“By turns sentimental and quirky, The Trick has much to love, most notably a charming intergenerational friendship between a boy who clings to his magical thinking and a disillusioned old grouch. . . Bergmann packs in enough magic and miracles to leave the reader under his spell.”
— Shelf Awareness

“A poignant story about one’s true worth.”
— Historical Novel Society

“A lovely story . . . A tale for those who continue to look for magic in the world.”
— New York Journal of Books

“A wonderful, inspiring book. Don’t miss it.”
— The Jerusalem Post

"The tragedy of the past weaves together with humor, love, and a belief in the impossible in The Trick."
— BookPage