The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam: An Illustrated Memoir

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9781594482649: The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam: An Illustrated Memoir
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A full-color graphic memoir inspired by the award-winning documentary-and the life and mystery of China's greatest magician.

Who was Long Tack Sam?

He was born in 1885. He ran away from Shangdung Province to join the circus. He was an acrobat. A magician. A comic. An impresario. A restaurateur. A theater owner. A world traveler. An East-West ambassador. A mentor to Orson Welles. He was considered the greatest act in the history of vaudeville.

In this gorgeous graphic memoir, his great-granddaughter, the artist and filmmaker Ann Marie Fleming, resurrects his fascinating life for the rest of the world. It's an exhilarating testament to a forgotten man. And every picture is true.

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About the Author:

Ann Marie Fleming is an award-winning Canadian independent filmmaker, writer, and artist, born in Okinawa of Chinese and Australian descent. Her critically acclaimed graphic novel, The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam, was adapted from her same-named documentary film, and is on the American Library Association's list of "10 Best Graphic Novels for Teens.” It was nominated for two Eisner Awards and won the Doug Wright Best Book Award for graphic novels in Canada. Her work primarily deals with themes of family, history, and memory.

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*Starred Review* Fleming's great-grandfather, Long Tack Sam, began life in a nineteenth-century Chinese village and died more than 70 years later in Austria. In between, he performed as a world-class magician and lived for significant portions of time on every continent except Africa and Antarctica. Fleming herself, born a year after his death, invested time, money, and travel in exploring her great-grandfather's story or, more accurately, the versions of his biography provided by far-flung relatives, fellow magicians, and former neighbors. Presenting both her search and what she found in a pastiche of succinctly written narrative (lots of it), cartoon drawings, old handbills, clippings, and photos, Fleming successfully shows how dramatic the role of international politics in a particular person's life can be. In the case of Long Tack Sam, both world wars, U.S. and Canadian laws written to bar Chinese immigrants, and the rise and fall of vaudeville as popular entertainment shaped, shifted, colored, and textured daily existence. Fleming makes that kaleidoscope of influences accessible and virtually tangible, not only as they formed Long Tack Sam but also on her own essence. Very appealing for biography readers, twentieth-century world-history buffs, and comics enthusiasts alike. Goldsmith, Francisca

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