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The Magician's Assistant by Ann Patchett

The Magician's Assistant (1997)

by Ann Patchett

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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 |
Sabine, the wife and assistant to Parsifal the magician, learns about her husband's hidden past after his death. Although they were married for twenty years, Parsifal was openly and deeply in love with another man who had recently passed away. Believing Parsifal to be an orphan, Sabine was surprised when his mother and sisters arrive in LA after his death. After the odd meeting, Sabine travels to Parsifal's home town in Nebraska where she ends up staying with his family for several months. During her stay Sabine learns about his painful past while bonding with his family. ( )
  KatherineGregg | Feb 19, 2015 |
As an Ann Patchett fan, I was not disappointed by this book. It is an earlier work of hers and lacks some of the complexity and depth of her more recent pieces, but at its heart are unforgettable characters. In vintage Patchett fashion, she is able to transport the reader to completely alien realms -- the life of a magician and his assistant, and the life of a family struggling on the winter prairie in the Mid West. ( )
  LaineyMac | Feb 4, 2015 |
**spoiler alert**

So.....I was totally on board with this book until the point when Sabine and Kitty start to develop some sort of love affair thing. Two women, both of whom are nonsexually in love with the same man, then start to have sexual feelings for one another because he's dead and they are using each other to replace him?

The undercurrent of "You remind me of my dead brother! Let me kiss you!" was not only unnecessary, but ewwwww.

If Kitty and Sabine want to have a grown-up love affair, more power to them. It certainly seems like both of them deserve for someone to adore and desire them on their own merits. But please.....they shouldn't be using each other as Parsifal stand-ins. Icky. ( )
  ratastrophe | Feb 1, 2015 |
Read this Sunday. My poor husband only saw a sliver of face most of the day. Nice pacing, interesting character development. However, I wonder why, when the publishing companies are saving so much money on publishing costs (read this on my Kindle) they cannot have at least one person read over the text for scanning mistakes--many words were replaced with symbols [ ")f" for "if" for example)AND either Patchett is a fine writer without actually knowing what the words mean or the type setter needs to have a few more lessons—“feint” is not the same word as “faint.” This was annoying. I sugggest the bound book version. ( )
  Kelley.Logan | Jan 16, 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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:26:30 -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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