I met Jim Naremore in 2016 at the writing events my collective hosts in Indianapolis. He was always very earnest, sitting away from most folks and editing. He was working to finish polishing his first novel, he told us. And so we let him be.
And finish that bad boy he did.
The Arts of Legerdemain as Taught by Ghosts is a fantastic story that explores the divergence between the way we want to see the world and the way the world is. And Naremore does that by painting vivid scenes as told through the eyes of his characters, who move through the story driven by motivations we can all understand: They are trying to shape their worlds around ideas from the past that they can’t let go.
In truth, the book feels like two different books as the main character barrels towards the collision between his past and his reality. The result was a jarring few pages as I had to re-orient myself in his story. And yet it was that juxtaposition that really drove the novel.
While the ending felt a little wrapped up, it also felt true to form. The end gave a sense that once we let the ghosts go, the world — and the story — returns to a state of ease.