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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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2,232822,882 (3.74)152
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When a critic says that the writing in a novel is "effortless," I believe that what is meant is not that it was without effort to write. The Magician's assistant feels as though it was written with great effort and skill. It is in the reading that the lightness of effortless writing is felt. Or rather, as in the Magician's Assistant,that the reader is carried, without effort into the prose and into the story. The act of reading recedes to the point of participation in the scenery. This is Ann Patchett at her finest. I hadn't read Magician's Assistant because Belle Canto was so breathtakingly effortless that I was hesitant to step backwards to earlier work. Everything she writes is beautiful, but Magician's Assistant reaches the levels of Belle Canto, The Patron Saint of Liars and State of Wonder. Do read. ( )
  smasler | Aug 6, 2014 |
I love Ann Patchett but if I wasn't familiar with her type of storytelling I couldn't have finished this. Premise is incredibly boring and the easy, limitless wealth was unrelatable (ha). I thought the magician bits were way too sensationalized. That being said I did enjoy the story, and mostly just wish the author had thrown in a very hot scene near the end ;) ( )
  twerkysandwich | Jul 10, 2014 |
I'm not sure that I liked the ending (which was maybe meant to be open-ended but felt rather abrupt), but I loved the message the book sends out. Family is what you make it and love is what you make it. Yes, you can be straight, married to someone who is gay and happily in love with the other man in your house. They can love each other, you can love them and it isn't full of the typical love triangle junk that most books in this three-people-in-one-house situation will throw at you. Brilliant, just brilliant and such a welcome relief.

Family grief is the key of this book. A man's genetic family is missing him greatly, not just because he disappeared on them, but because he died and they have only just found out. What happens after they contact his wife is a pure journey in emotional discovery and acceptance, without being at all overpowering or so dripping with said emotions that the pages are soggy with your own tears. Easy to see how it got the attention of the Women's Prize list makers. ( )
  mirrani | Jun 30, 2014 |
Great story, great characters...almost the perfect novel on many levels. ( )
  JosephKing6602 | May 10, 2014 |
sometimes you read the exact right book at the exact right time. that happened with patchett's novel, the magician's assistant.

patchett handles the themes of love, loss, grief, family dynamics, how the past defines a person, and improbable relationships so wonderfully. there is a grace to her writing that pulls me in and, at moments, stops me in my tracks as i admire her prose. the ending was a bit of a disappointment, so i couldn't give this a full 5-stars. ( )
  DawsonOakes | Feb 25, 2014 |
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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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