Short stories by Steven Millhauser.
Steven Millhauser is a Professor of English at Skidmore College, and lives in Saratoga Springs, New York. His first novel, Edwin Mullhouse: The Life and Death of an American Writer, was published in 1972 and several years later received the Prix Médicis Étranger in France. Since then he has published nine works of fiction, among them several collections of stories and novellas, as well as the novel Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1997. He is also a recipient of the Lannan Award and has been honored by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His story "Eisenheim the Illusionist," from The Barnum Museum, was the basis of the film The Illusionist (2006), starring Edward Norton and Paul Giamatti.
Listing 6 stories.
A young Jewish boy wavers between his father’s militant atheism and his anxious desires to speak to God, only to become an old man still asking the same questions of his faith.
A Jewish illusionist gains the favor of the masses with his original tricks. When other magicians arrive on the scene, he must take his talents to their highest potential to compete.
A dissatisfied man buys "miracle" mirror polish from a mysterious stranger and becomes obsessed with how the polish changes his reflection and that of his lover.
A town has frequent visits from phantom apparitions, and the townspeople have many explanations for the ghosts, ranging from disbelief to hallucination to the idea that humans and phantoms were once a single race.
A knife-thrower makes a comeback with his new and daring performance. His performance involves his assistant and audience members getting knives thrown at them and even getting hurt like a badge of honor.
A young man working in an intense laboratory falls madly in love with a machine that can invent new sensations on this skin - until the experiment is destroyed.