Review: In Search of the Magic Theatre, by Karla Huebner

About the book, In Search of the Magic TheaterIn-Search-of-the-Magic-Theater-cover

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Regal House Publishing (June 1, 2022)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 254 pages

Why, the rather staid young cellist Sarah wonders, should her aunt rent their spare room to the perhaps unstable Kari Zilke? Like the nephew in Hermann Hesse’s Steppenwolf, Sarah finds herself taking an unexpected interest in the lodger, but she is unable to stop at providing a mere introduction to Kari’s narrative of mid-life crisis and self-discovery, and develops her own more troubled tale of personal angst and growth, entwined with the account Kari herself purportedly left behind. Generational tensions, artistic collaborations, and even a romance steeped in Greek myth follow as Kari and Sarah pursue their very different creative paths in theater and music. And while Kari seems to blossom post-divorce, Sarah must grapple with the question of what the role of mothers, fathers, aunts, mentors, and male collaborators should be in her life as a young musician.

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About the author, Karla Huebner

Karla Huebner has lived on a boat and worked in factories, offices, theater, publishing, oil refineries, private investigation, and drug rehab. Her fiction has appeared in many literary and genre magazines and her collection Heartwood was a finalist for the 2020 Raz-Shumaker award. She teaches Art History at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio and her book Magnetic Woman: Toyen and the Surrealist Erotic is available from University of Pittsburgh Press.

Connect with Karla:

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My Thoughts

MissMelissIn Search of the Magic Theater is a sort of left-handed coming of age story in which Sarah’s young adulthood is influenced by her observations of  her aunt’s boarder, Kari, and older woman who arrives with a box of LPs (odd when almost all of us switched to CD’s decades ago) and a record player to listen to them with.

Told in alternate POVs we see Sarah, who “plays the cello and reads books like Jane Eyre,” broaden her own world view as she watches the older woman, Kari’s, interactions with a younger man and experimental theater change her as well.

Sarah’s story really resonated with me, as I was once a young woman who read classic novels (I still do) and played the cello (I only noodle at home now). I didn’t have a Kari in my life, but my mother, only twenty years older than I am, has always been freer and bolder than me.

I enjoyed the author’s writing voice a lot, and appreciated the contrast between both women.

This is a fast read, but a surprisingly meaty one, with lots of details about Greek mythology and art history.

Goes well with: baked brie and hard cider.


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2 thoughts on “Review: In Search of the Magic Theatre, by Karla Huebner

  1. Hmm… I think I need to give this one a read. I can’t play an instrument to save my life, but I usually love books deep with mythologies. Thank you for being on this tour! Sara @ TLC Book Tours

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