The Musical Illusionist: and Other Tales by Alex Rose
Reviewed by John Glover, Reference Librarian for the Humanities
The Musical Illusionist is a work of strange fiction, the sort most notably practiced by Borges in works like "The Total Library." Traditional concepts of character and plot dwindle almost to the vanishing place, replaced by bizarre anecdotes and conjectures that are located in his postulated Library of Tangents. The experience of reading these stories is closer to that of reading essays than that of traditional stories. They deal in possibility rather than in the definite, couched in Rose's dryly speculative prose. If a Victorian entomologist had chanced to step through a looking glass to a parallel Earth, this might have been the result.
Each story is framed as part of a words-and-pictures Special Exhibition, inviting the reader to examine the grouped stories as much as consuming them. If you're looking for something unusual to read, a flight of fancy that will leave you thinking new thoughts and dreaming strange dreams, this is your book.