We recently published Lynda Cowle’s haunting “The Magician’s Assistant.”
Here, we ask her two questions about her story:
1) The different sections are so powerful and vivid, I love how the assistant goes from “the perfumed page of a vintage magazine” to “a warehouse full of mirrors” to “a suitcase made of glass.” These all hold images or even reflections — do you think there is something of a reflection in the magician’s assistant, something the magician looks at and sees himself?
If the magician sees anything, I think it’s a reflection of his own greatness. He created her to be a walking talking manifestation of his genius, one he could show off to the world. So I think he’s blind to anything beyond that. And that’s why the magic he uses to bind her to him is passive and why he’s asleep when she has her awakening. It never occurs to him that she could be anything more.
2) At the end, we learn the assistant’s heart is full of secrets and, finally, beginning to beat. Has she, in this moment, finally created herself as something other than what the magician intended? Has she become whole?
I think she’s on her way to becoming whole. She’s not there yet, but the moment when her heart starts to beat is the moment she moves beyond the limits of what he created. So there’s hope, that her will can overcome his — ironically, using the magic he taught her.