*Starred Review* Fleming's great-grandfather, Long Tack Sam, began life in a nineteenth-century Chinese village and died more than 70 years later in Austria. In between, he performed as a world-class magician and lived for significant portions of time on every continent except Africa and Antarctica. Fleming herself, born a year after his death, invested time, money, and travel in exploring her great-grandfather's story or, more accurately, the versions of his biography provided by far-flung relatives, fellow magicians, and former neighbors. Presenting both her search and what she found in a pastiche of succinctly written narrative (lots of it), cartoon drawings, old handbills, clippings, and photos, Fleming successfully shows how dramatic the role of international politics in a particular person's life can be. In the case of Long Tack Sam, both world wars, U.S. and Canadian laws written to bar Chinese immigrants, and the rise and fall of vaudeville as popular entertainment shaped, shifted, colored, and textured daily existence. Fleming makes that kaleidoscope of influences accessible and virtually tangible, not only as they formed Long Tack Sam but also on her own essence. Very appealing for biography readers, twentieth-century world-history buffs, and comics enthusiasts alike. Goldsmith, Francisca
About the Author
Ann Marie Fleming is an award-winning independent filmmaker, writer and artist born in Okinawa, of Chinese and Australian parentage. Her films include the shorts Blue Skies and Room 712, and the features, The French Guy and The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam.