Jay's Journal of Anomalies, by Ricky Jay. Quantuck Lane...

Editor's Choice

November 30, 2003|By Michael Pakenham

Jay's Journal of Anomalies, by Ricky Jay. Quantuck Lane 202 pages. $25.

Ricky Jay, in case you had never noticed, is a distinguished film actor (five David Mamet films, among others), scholar of the duplicitously entertaining (ex-curator of the Mulholland Library of Conjuring and the Allied Arts), sleight-of-hand artist (serious critics designate him "the world's greatest") and author / editor of Jay's Journal of Anomalies, which he wrote and published quarterly beginning in the spring of 1994. If you have been so unfortunate as never to have come across that periodical wonderment, here is a bonanza -- a drawing together of all 16 issues that he produced. Read of lush hoaxes and outrageous hustles, of sideshow pyrotechnics and classic cheating at bowling. All is written with grace and scholarship, brisk but thorough. An enchanting ride along with charlatans and quacks of the highest order.

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