Books similar to "The Prestige"
March 22, 2007 4:07 PM   Subscribe

I am looking for books similar in style with Christopher Priest's "The Prestige". What i want is complex stories, epistolary in structure where the plot has to be puzzeled together by the reader.
posted by ilike to Writing & Language (26 answers total) 43 users marked this as a favorite
This is what you want
posted by A189Nut at 4:24 PM on March 22, 2007

I've heard the Singing Detectives is like that...
posted by stratastar at 4:26 PM on March 22, 2007

Consider this a side-note to your discussion:

Not exactly what you're looking for, but near the end of "The Prestige", I shrieked "Think Like A Dinosaur!" (referring to the short story by James Patrick Kelly). If you like "The Prestige", you should read it.
posted by cmiller at 4:42 PM on March 22, 2007

I'd say Thomas Pynchon's novels would intrigue you. I'm thinking V. especially, but the rest too.
posted by The Michael The at 4:53 PM on March 22, 2007

William Faulkner (eg, As I Lay Dying, The Sound and the Fury) specialized in puzzles you have to put together as you go. Not my cuppa, but extravagently done. Also Milorad Pavic. His Landspace Painted with Tea is structured as a crossword puzzle.
posted by rikschell at 5:13 PM on March 22, 2007

Anything by Steve Erickson, particularly The Sea Came in at Midnight

Ghostwritten by David Mitchell

House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski
posted by jbickers at 5:19 PM on March 22, 2007

Remains of the Day is a little like this (but if The Prestige's complex fantastic situation is the draw, it might not be what you're looking for.)

You might like Tim Powers' novels, esp. Last Call, Declare, The Anubis Gates, but they're not in epistolary form.

Matt Ruff's Set This House in Order takes one even further afield from what you're explicitly asking for, but it's a great book with lots to be puzzled out.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 5:24 PM on March 22, 2007

House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski
posted by bradbane at 5:25 PM on March 22, 2007

I had to put House of Leaves outside my room when I slept. That is one scary, self-embodied book.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 5:32 PM on March 22, 2007

Having not read The Prestige, I don't know how appropriate it is, but I'll echo the House of Leaves suggestion. It is both epistolary in parts and requires puzzling throughout.
posted by juv3nal at 5:38 PM on March 22, 2007

Also, pretty much every other book by Christopher Priest.
posted by Hogshead at 5:42 PM on March 22, 2007

I second the David Mitchell recommendation - I haven't read Ghostwritten, but Cloud Atlas has an intriguing, incredibly complex storyline. Several times while reading it, I had to just sit back and visualize how everything went together (in a good way, not a frustrating way).
posted by sarahsynonymous at 5:56 PM on March 22, 2007

Possession by A.S. Byatt?
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 5:58 PM on March 22, 2007

I haven't read The Prestige, but it sounds like you'd like An Instance of the Fingerpost.
posted by transient at 6:16 PM on March 22, 2007

Thomas Wharton's Salamander?
posted by showmethecalvino at 6:39 PM on March 22, 2007

nth House of Leaves. I, too, went a little bats while reading it. Definitely get yourself a nightlight and a tape measure or several.
posted by crinklebat at 7:00 PM on March 22, 2007

Seconding An Instance of the Fingerpost -- the narrative seems perfectly straightforward at first, but as you read on and the narrators change it slowly becomes clear that none of them have a grasp of the big picture of what's going on, and some of them aren't entirely truthful about the bits they do know...
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 7:35 PM on March 22, 2007

Umberto Echo's The Name of the Rose and Katherine Neville's The Eight might be happy reads for you.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:28 PM on March 22, 2007

Gene Wolfe's "The book of the new sun" has many layers that are only revealed upon rereading (and rereading and rereading and...).
posted by oh pollo! at 4:14 AM on March 23, 2007

jbickers, thanks for mentioning Erickson! I'm re-reading "Arc D'X" right now and really enjoying it.

I'd recommend Faulkner's "As I Lay Dying" in this vein as well.
posted by hermitosis at 6:21 AM on March 23, 2007

I third the David Mitchell recommendation and would add Number9Dream to the list. (although Cloud Atlas is by far my favorite)
posted by hilby at 7:12 AM on March 23, 2007

So I'm not the only one who House of Leaves fucked up mentally? Like others above me, I'll definitely recommend Cloud Atlas, because I think it meets your epistolary criterion exactly.
posted by malaprohibita at 7:32 AM on March 23, 2007

Everything I was going to say has already been said: Ghostwritten, Instance of the Fingerpost (which you will love), anything by Gene Wolfe (Peace may be a good place to start - fairly short and full of puzzling out; also The Fifth Head of Cerberus).

Have you been watching Heroes? It also fits in this category.
posted by dfan at 7:58 AM on March 23, 2007

Charles Palliser - The Quincunx
posted by zepheria at 9:42 AM on March 23, 2007

Yes to pretty much everything here, but may I also recommend The Egyptologist?
posted by ultraultraboomerang at 1:20 PM on March 23, 2007

Not epistolary, but Pale Fire has its tale, if tale there be, dispersed in the myriad footnotes of a possibly delusional academic to his murdered neighbor's elegiac poem.
posted by eritain at 7:58 PM on December 19, 2007

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