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The Magician's Assistant by Ann Patchett
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The Magician's Assistant (1997)

by Ann Patchett

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2,308922,750 (3.74)161
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3.5 stars


a worthwhile read, though the ending was a bit of a disappointment. ( )
  mkclane | Jul 31, 2015 |
I think this may be my favorite of Patchett's books. I would rank it above Bel Canto, which I really really liked.

About halfway through the book, the locale changes. After reading a bit of the second half, I began to wonder what the rest of the book would hold, as it seemed the story had been told. Boy was I wrong. Just pages after having this thought, the unexpected began to happen.

Good read! ( )
  Phyllis.Mann | Jul 13, 2015 |
My Sunday afternoon read this week, and a bit of a disappointment. I liked the concept, but the writing made it all come across as far too neat and straightforward. How lovely life is in Los Angeles where you don't even need to do your own cooking; how dreary it is in Nebraska, where they have to shop at Walmart. Yes, right.
On the positive side, this is a mainstream American novel published nearly twenty years ago that features a gay couple (albeit both dead) among its main characters. And the work of the magician's assistant is presented very convincingly.
On the other hand, the plot moves along with all the inevitability of a rumbling American freight train, and the dream sequences that are supposed to inject a bit of tension come over more like advertisements for luxury travel. ( )
  thorold | Jun 22, 2015 |
This novel has things to recommend it including Patchett’s skill at writing and the background of characters working on stage as magicians. This appealed to me since my grandfather was a professional magician in the 1930s-1950s. The beautiful Sabine travels to Nebraska from Los Angeles after her magician husband Parsifal dies, and she is stunned to learn he has a family there. I felt the ending was a let down with too much left up in the air. I would give her novel Bel Canto five stars, and her nonfiction book about her friend Lucy Grealy. This is her third novel and Patchett has grown in skill since writing it. ( )
  hangen | May 31, 2015 |
When Parsifal dies unexpectedly, his wife Sabine is devastated even though they did not have a conventional marriage. Parsifal, the magician, was gay and Sabine had been his long time magician's assistant. But after Parsifal's lover of many years dies of AIDS, Parsifal marries Sabine so that she can be financially cared for after his own death. But Sabine discovers that Parsifal had more than magic tricks up his sleeves. This handsome and charming man had a past Sabine knew nothing about, and a living family. As Sabine spends time with Parsifal's family, she learns about his past and gradually begins to recover from her grief.

I LOVED this book. Told in an unusual way with dreams and flashbacks, there is a surreal feeling about this story. But the emotions of grief over a lost love are so tangible. Definitely one of the best novels about loss. ( )
  jmoncton | Apr 15, 2015 |
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to Lucy Grealy and Elizabeth McCracken
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Parsifal is dead.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0156006219, Paperback)

The Magician's Assistant sustains author Ann Patchett's proven penchant for crafting colorful characters and marrying the ordinary with the fantastic. When Parsifal, Sabine's husband of more than 20 years and the magician of the title, suddenly dies, she begins to discover how she's glimpsed him only through smoke and mirrors. He has managed to keep hidden the existence of a family in Nebraska--his mother, two sisters, and two nephews. Sabine approaches them hungrily, as if they are a bridge to her beloved husband and a key to the mysteries he left behind.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:38 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

What will become of Sabine now that Parsifal, her guiding magician, is dead? Returning to the place of Parsifal's birth, she makes startling discoveries about herself.

» see all 4 descriptions

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