Jay's Journal of Anomalies, by Ricky Jay (Farrar, Straus...

Editor's Choice

September 02, 2001|By MICHAEL PAKENHAM

Jay's Journal of Anomalies, by Ricky Jay (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 202 pages, $40).

For those who do not know of Ricky Jay, I have the profoundest sympathy. He is among other delights, an actor, a scholar, a stand-up entertainer and author for the last four years of a quarterly journal of which this book is a compilation. He is, above all, a sleight-of-hand artist, said to be the world's greatest. His one-man show Ricky Jay and His 52 assistants was a hugh success in 1994. He has appeared in a solid number of movies and television shows, including The X-Files. He has been an actor in serious live theater, including the New York Shakespeare Festival, and has served as consultant on the conjuring and misleading appearances for a long list of movies. This collection of improbabilities, frauds, deceptions, entertainments and delights -- deservedly -- will hang around for years.

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