Mr. Sebastian and the Negro Magician




“As with Big Fish and The Watermelon King, Wallace offers here a Southern novel full of whimsy and folklore. Clearly influenced by Flannery O’Connor and Eudora Welty, Wallace tells the story of Henry Walker, a magician with Jeremiah Musgrove’s Chinese Circus in the 1950s South. As a boy in Albany, NY, Henry learned magic from the pasty-faced Mr. Sebastian, believing his mentor to be the devil, and lost his beloved sister as a result. Through his travels, Henry constantly loses those he cares about. As Wallace slowly reveals that the supernatural has less to do with Henry’s fate than he thinks, the story grows more powerful. This captivating morality tale is told from multiple points of view well narrated by Norman Dietz, L.J. Ganser, Katherine Kellgren, T. Ryder Smith, Tom Stechschulte, and, especially, Alyssa Bresnahan, whose character’s unrequited love for Henry is particularly poignant. Highly recommended for all collections.”
– Michael Adams, Library Journal

“Traveling though the South in the 1950s with Jeremiah Musgrove’s Chinese Circus, green-eyed black magician Henry Walker pays penance for having made his sister disappear, but having failed to bring her back. The bestselling author of Big Fish once again employs multiple narrators and points of view. Narrator Tom Stechschulte leads talented readers Alyssa Bresnahan, T. Ryder Smith, and others through a fantastic world peopled with circus freaks and cruel crowds. This haunting, tender story transports listeners through time and space as it depicts a childhood fantasy with an emotional payoff that’s both heartwarming and tragic. Did Henry sell his sister to the devil so he could become a world-class illusionist? The answer isn’t as important as the question.”
– R.O., Audiofile magazine