The Red Magician

Lisa Goldstein

Orb Books



Trade Paperback

192 Pages



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Winner of the 1983 American Book Award

The Red Magician is both a notable work of Holocaust literature and a distinguished novel—a marvelously entertaining fantasy that is, in the end, wise and transcendent.

On the eve of World War II, a wandering magician comes to a small Hungarian village prophesying death and destruction. Eleven-year-old Kicsi believes Vörös, and attempts to aid him in protecting the village. But the local rabbi, who also possesses magical powers, insists that the village is safe, and frustrates Vörös's attempts to transport them all to safety. Then the Nazis come and the world changes.

Miraculously, Kicsi survives the horrors of the concentration camp and returns to her village to witness the final climactic battle between the rabbi and the Red Magician, between the Old World and the New.


Praise for The Red Magician

"[The Red Magician] turns the hidden world of Eastern European Jews during the 1940s into a world of wonders, then transcends the Holocaust with a magical optimism."—The New York Times Book Review

"[Goldstein] has given us the kind of magic and adventure that once upon a time made us look for secret panels in the walls of wardrobes, or brush our teeth with a book held in front of our eyes, because we couldn't bear to put it down."—The New Yorker

"A beautifully told, richly textured fantasy."—Publishers Weekly

"This touching novel is an effortless repast, nourishment for the mind and soul . . . I applaud the intent; I applaud even more the results."—Philip K. Dick

Reviews from Goodreads



Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1
In the town where Kicsi grew up there was a rabbi who could work miracles. It was a small town, and borders--Hungarian, Czech, Russian--ebbed and flowed around it like tides. Once, Kicsi remembered, she went too far from home and came to a place where the people spoke a different language. In the distance, on the horizon, stood the mountains, fat and placid as cows.
The rabbi who could work miracles was sitting in the living room talking to her parents as Kicsi came down the stairs early one morning. Outside the sun was rising slowly, its light falling on the
Read the full excerpt


  • Lisa Goldstein

  • Lisa Goldstein lives in Oakland. Her other books include Strange Devices of the Sun and Moon, Tourists, Travellers in Magic, and Summer King, Winter Fool.