Big Magic

The very first moment when I got my hands on Elizabeth Gilbert’s new novel, I do not kid you –  I was immensely fascinated by the cover and the layout of the book. I kept staring at it, transfixed. The colors seemed imaginary; they seemed pure. But, I had no idea that the prose inside of it would capture me even more; would transform me even further. Elizabeth Gilbert’s ‘Big Magic’ is truly one of those books that changes your life.

Gilbert starts her narrative with an old anecdote about how she once got the idea for a book about a woman who is so in love with her Boss that she doesn’t hesitate even for one single moment to run all the way to Amazon to bring back his son and his lost fortune. Gilbert explains that though the novel meant a lot to her, she never got the time to complete it, for some or the other reason kept cropping up. A while later, as she was still in between completion of her novel and sorting out things in her personal life, she met another author called, Ann Patchett, in a gathering in New York. They met for a few minutes that day and kept in touch over time through the old fashioned way of post and letters.
As they kept in touch over the years, Ann Patchett one day – discussed the story of a woman who runs away to Amazon on the request of her Boss who she’s in love with, to bring back his son and his lost fortune. That was a coincidence, maybe. Elizabeth assures that it was no theft because she and Ann had never discussed Elizabeth’s idea for her own novel before. That was Big Magic at play, confirms Elizabeth.

Elizabeth has revealed many instances in her novel, some of which are vaguely familiar to the struggles and the tests that we as individuals go through everyday. If you have ever had an idea that you thought came only to you and was precious to you in more ways than one, then this novel is right for you. The thing to note here is, Elizabeth when she talks of ideas and creation may still be talking from the perspective of an author, but she insists through out the novel that creativity and ideas do not only originate in the art field but also everywhere else where ideas work. Her book is a good guide on how to snatch the idea that comes to you all of a sudden and how to navigate through its manifestation as it calls on to your deepest and darkest places and pushes you to your very limits.


Elizabeth dispenses the notion of ‘martyrdom’ that usually comes with creating something. We have heard it perhaps too often, “You need suffering in order to create something beautiful”. One does not deny that suffering could indeed lead to the creation of something beautiful, however one also asserts that suffering is not pre requisite to making something beautiful. Elizabeth Gilbert’s idea of creative living is more in line with such a notion and she makes a strong argument for the same in this book.

All in all, Big Magic is more than a book, in fact it is a revelation. It is addressed to the ones who have an idea in their head but are perhaps still busy looking for reasons to not act on it.

You should read Big Magic not because it is written by a famous author and you already love her work. But you must read it for that creator within you who needs your help to create something profound. Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic is a must read for all, because after all aren’t we all nurturing some idea or  other within us?

– Sanity, Gauri


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