The Magic Touch: A Novel

Open Road Media
Amostra gratuita

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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Sobre o autor

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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Outras informações

Open Road Media
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Published on
4 de ago de 2015
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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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Qualificado para a Biblioteca da família

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It is 1962, and Elisa Esposito—mute her whole life, orphaned as a child—is struggling with her humdrum existence as a janitor working the graveyard shift at Baltimore’s Occam Aerospace Research Center. Were it not for Zelda, a protective coworker, and Giles, her loving neighbor, she doesn’t know how she’d make it through the day.

Then, one fateful night, she sees something she was never meant to see, the Center’s most sensitive asset ever: an amphibious man, captured in the Amazon, to be studied for Cold War advancements. The creature is terrifying but also magnificent, capable of language and of understanding emotions...and Elisa can’t keep away. Using sign language, the two learn to communicate. Soon, affection turns into love, and the creature becomes Elisa’s sole reason to live.

But outside forces are pressing in. Richard Strickland, the obsessed soldier who tracked the asset through the Amazon, wants nothing more than to dissect it before the Russians get a chance to steal it. Elisa has no choice but to risk everything to save her beloved. With the help of Zelda and Giles, Elisa hatches a plan to break out the creature. But Strickland is on to them. And the Russians are, indeed, coming.

Developed from the ground up as a bold two-tiered release—one story interpreted by two artists in the independent mediums of literature and film—The Shape of Water is unlike anything you’ve ever read or seen.

“Most movie novelizations do little more than write down what audiences see on the screen. But the novel that’s accompanying Guillermo del Toro’s new movie The Shape of Water is no mere adaptation. Co-author Daniel Kraus’ book and the film tell the same story, of a mute woman who falls in love with an imprisoned and equally mute creature, in two very different ways.” —io9

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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.

Rachel Simon’s debut, originally published in 1990, is a collection of stories about the struggle for love and intimacy, told from the point of view of adolescent girls, young mothers, and elderly women. Some are rooted in reality, others in magical realism, with tones ranging from serious to comic, sunny to dark. Throughout, Simon employs such a wide range of voices—sweet, shrewd, wistful, irascible, vulnerable, sensual—the Philadelphia Inquirer hailed her as “a literary ventriloquist.”

Among the highlights are “Little Nightmares, Little Dreams,” in which an elderly couple enters the unknown by trying to dream the same dream; “Paint,” in which a runaway-turned-artist’s-model provokes protests after her naked body becomes the canvas; “Afterglow,” in which a plucky thirteen-year-old playing hooky is held hostage by an escaped convict; “Grandma Death,” in which an overbearing grandmother can’t seem to go anywhere without someone dropping dead; and “Better Than A Box of Dreams,” in which a maid irritated by her boss’s dream therapy sessions dreams her own fondest wish back to life.

Little Nightmares, Little Dreams was presented on NPR’s Selected Shorts and the Lifetime program The Hidden Room. “Paint” and “The Speed of Love” were adapted by the Arden Theatre Company, and “Better Than A Box of Dreams” for InterAct Theatre, both in Philadelphia.

This 2014 ebook rerelease includes four previously uncollected stories. It also includes a new introduction that tells the story of the book’s astonishing path to publication, reveals the inspiration behind several stories, and offers wisdom from a seasoned writing friend that writers everywhere will treasure.

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