The Magic Touch: A Novel

Open Road Media
Free sample

This wild, magic-realist ride of a novel, originally published in 1994, is funny, sexy, satirical, linguistically exuberant, and utterly unique. Written as a fictional biography, it tells the life story of a woman with magical sexual powers that she uses to heal people. The story follows our heroine from her miraculous birth through her childhood in a magical orphanage to adulthood, when she uncovers sinister conspiracies among political and well-hidden foes. Woven into The Magic Touch is that of her grandmother, whose mysterious background propels the story forward in ways that begin as Faustian and end up as spiritual. The story culminates in a spectacular—and hilarious—showdown between the forces of good and evil.

This ebook re-release of The Magic Touch includes a new introduction that should be a must-read for fans of this book and aspiring writers everywhere. It reveals how Rachel stumbled on the idea for the heart of the story, the long journey she took in producing the book, and the kind words given by a respected professor that inspired her, at her lowest moment, to pick herself up and keep going.

The Magic Touch was Rachel Simon’s second book and first novel. It was a 1994 selection of the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers program, which highlights books of exceptional literary quality from authors at the starts of their careers.
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About the author

Rachel Simon is a New York Times bestselling author best known for the memoir Riding The Bus With My Sister (2002), adapted for a film by the same name, and the novel The Story of Beautiful Girl (2011). Little Nightmares, Little Dreams was her first book. Rachel Simon lives in Delaware.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Open Road Media
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Published on
Aug 4, 2015
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Pages
294
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ISBN
9781497693333
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / General
Fiction / Magical Realism
Fiction / Women
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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A “heartwarming, life-affirming” memoir of a relationship with an intellectually disabled sibling: “Read this book. It might just change your life” (Boston Herald).
 
Beth is a spirited woman with an intellectual disability who lives intensely and often joyfully, and spends most of her days riding the buses in Pennsylvania. The drivers, a lively group, are her mentors; her fellow passengers, her community—though some display less patience or kindness than others.
 
Her sister, Rachel, a teacher and writer, camouflages her emotional isolation by leading a hyperbusy life. But one day, Beth asks Rachel to accompany her on public transportation for an entire year—and Rachel accepts. This wise, funny, deeply affecting book is the chronicle of that remarkable time, as Rachel learns how to live in the moment, how to pay attention to what really matters, how to change, how to love—and how to slow down and enjoy the ride.
 
Weaving in anecdotes and memories of terrifying maternal abandonment, fierce sisterly loyalty, and astonishing forgiveness, Rachel Simon brings to light a world that is almost invisible to many people, finds unlikely heroes in everyday life, and, without sentimentality, wrestles with her own limitations and portrays Beth as the endearing, feisty, independent person she is.
 
“With tenderness and fury, heartbreak and acceptance . . . Simon comes to the inescapable conclusion that we are all riders on the bus, and on the bus we are all the same.” —Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean
Katherine Arden’s bestselling debut novel spins an irresistible spell as it announces the arrival of a singular talent with a gorgeous voice.
 
“A beautiful deep-winter story, full of magic and monsters and the sharp edges of growing up.”—Naomi Novik, bestselling author of Uprooted

Winter lasts most of the year at the edge of the Russian wilderness, and in the long nights, Vasilisa and her siblings love to gather by the fire to listen to their nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, Vasya loves the story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon. Wise Russians fear him, for he claims unwary souls, and they honor the spirits that protect their homes from evil.

Then Vasya’s widowed father brings home a new wife from Moscow. Fiercely devout, Vasya’s stepmother forbids her family from honoring their household spirits, but Vasya fears what this may bring. And indeed, misfortune begins to stalk the village.

But Vasya’s stepmother only grows harsher, determined to remake the village to her liking and to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for marriage or a convent. As the village’s defenses weaken and evil from the forest creeps nearer, Vasilisa must call upon dangerous gifts she has long concealed—to protect her family from a threat sprung to life from her nurse’s most frightening tales.

Praise for The Bear and the Nightingale

“Arden’s debut novel has the cadence of a beautiful fairy tale but is darker and more lyrical.”—The Washington Post

“Vasya [is] a clever, stalwart girl determined to forge her own path in a time when women had few choices.”—The Christian Science Monitor

“Stunning . . . will enchant readers from the first page. . . . with an irresistible heroine who wants only to be free of the bonds placed on her gender and claim her own fate.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Utterly bewitching . . . a lush narrative . . . an immersive, earthy story of folk magic, faith, and hubris, peopled with vivid, dynamic characters, particularly clever, brave Vasya, who outsmarts men and demons alike to save her family.”—Booklist (starred review)

“An extraordinary retelling of a very old tale . . . The Bear and the Nightingale is a wonderfully layered novel of family and the harsh wonders of deep winter magic.”—Robin Hobb
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