Owen Clark - A Genius Forgotten
by Christopher Brinson
Reviewed by Ray Roberts
Reading the British Ring brochure for the Eastbourne Convention 2010 I came upon the name Chris Brinson, under the more history of mystery page where he was listed as presenting a talk ‘In Search of Owen Clark’. At the lecture I discovered that Chris had also written a book ‘Owen Clark a Genius Forgotten’ which I duly acquired.
Chris is a researcher, historian and avid collector and his book title ‘A Genius Forgotten’ is very apt. Chris has passionately chronicled Owen Clark’s short life in this book. A task that cannot have been easy as Clark had what appears to have been an almost paranoid attitude to other magicians stealing his effects, and, as a result he put very little into print. Couple that with his untimely death and an only brother to survive him, who had little regard for magic, there was much first hand evidence lost. Chris has had to rely on journals and sparse reports of Clark’s performances, some of which could at best be regarded as jaundiced. If it were not for Chris talking to the late Peter Warlock, who as a young lad had seen Clark perform and could relate what he was like as a performer, Chris’s book may have turned out differently.
It is obvious from the book that Chris had to form opinions by looking at what had been said and written of Clark at the time. He made valued judgments of what was the most likely outcome after examining the evidence and then proffered hypothesis to that effect, no better example of that his how Chris has painted a picture of what may have happened to Clark on his American tour.
Chris has written a book that can be described as a book of two halves .The first outlining Clark’s life as a performer and inventor and the second half giving detailed descriptions of Clark’s alleged creations. I say alleged because once again the author had to sort out the wheat from the chaff due to mischievous and/ or downright plagiarism of Clark’s work.
This is a well written and produced book that should appeal to any one who is remotely interested in the history of magic. It gives the reader a chance to go on the journey with the author. I found it a good read in fact I would go as far as to call it a page turner.
The book is available direct from Arcady Press www.arcadypress.co.uk.
© Ray Roberts, October 2010