Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam

Ann Marie Flemming, the great-granddaughter of the magician/acrobat Long Tack Sam tells Sam's story in this "illustrated memoir." The book was first a film which was made into a graphic novel after its showing at Sundance. The story was definitely interesting. Sam was Chinese but lived much of his life in Europe, marrying a woman from Austria. During his life which spanned from 1882-1961, he experienced fame from his prowess at magic and acrobatics but also racism because of his Asian heritage. Fleming's memoir is full of old photographs, newspaper clippings, stick figures, comics, and a world timeline which places the events of Sam's life in a global context.

This book did not really hold my attention. Towards the end I was sort of skimming over the pictures. It started off interesting, the story got convoluted a bit. Also, my library copy of this book started falling apart, like actual pages coming out (and the book looks really new) and that really distracted me. I did like that much of the book was about Fleming finding her relatives from all over the world and the appreciation she gained from learning about her ancestors.

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