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The Magician's Assistant by Ann Patchett
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The Magician's Assistant (original 1997; edition 1998)

by Ann Patchett

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2,298902,766 (3.73)161
Member:hemlokgang
Title:The Magician's Assistant
Authors:Ann Patchett
Info:Mariner Books (1998), Edition: 1st, Paperback, 357 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:USA, Audiobook

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The Magician's Assistant by Ann Patchett (1997)

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Showing 1-5 of 90 (next | show all)
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 |
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 |
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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.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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