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 / Contemporary Women
Fiction / General
Fiction / Magical Realism
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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
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
In the first major study of women in an Arab country�s Jewish community, Rachel Simon examines the changing status of Jewish women in Libya from the second half of the nineteenth century until 1967, when most Jews left the country. Simon shows how social, economic, and political changes in Libyan society as a whole affected its Jewish minority and analyzes the developments in women�s social position, family life, work, education, and participation in public life.

Jews lived in Libya for more than two thousand years. As a result of their isolation from other Jewish centers and their extended coexistence with Berber and Arab Muslims, the Jews of Libya were strongly influenced by the manners, customs, regulations, and beliefs of the Muslim majority. The late nineteenth century witnessed a growing European cultural and economic penetration of Ottoman Liibya, which increased after the Italian occupation of Libya in 1911. Italian rule continued until a British Military Administration was established in 1942-43. Libya became independent in late 1951. The changing political regimes presented the Jewish minority with different models of social and cultural behavior. These changes in the foci of inspiration and imitation had significant implications for the position of Jewish women, as Jewish traditional society was exposed to modernizing and Westernizing influences.

Economic factors had a strong impact on the position of women. Because of recurring economic crises in the late nineteenth century, Jewish families became willing to allow women to work outside the home. Some families also allowed their daughters to pursue vocational training and thus exposed them also to academic studies, especially at schools operated by representatives of European Jewish organizations.

Although economic and educational opportunities for women increased, the Jewish community as a whole remained traditional in its social structure, worldview, and approach to interpersonal relations. The principles upon which the community operated did not change drastically, and the male power structure did not alter in either the private or the public domain. Thus the position of women changed little within these spheres, despite the expansion of opportunities for women in education and economic life. Change was slow, evolutionary, and within the framework of traditional society.

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