My Little Pocketbooks: Review: The Magician's Assistant   
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Monday, September 8, 2014

Review: The Magician's Assistant

The Magician's Assistant
Author: Ann Patchett 
Genre: Contemporary Fiction  
Publisher:  Harcourt
Release Date: October 15, 1997
Hardcover:  368 pages
Source: Purchased years ago from Bookstar

Book Description

When Parsifal, a handsome and charming magician, dies suddenly, his widow Sabine—who was also his faithful assistant for twenty years—learns that the family he claimed to have lost in a tragic accident is very much alive and well. Sabine is left to unravel his secrets, and the journey she takes, from sunny Los Angeles to the bitter windswept plains of Nebraska, will work its own magic on her. Sabine's extraordinary tale, “with its big dreams, vast spaces, and disparate realities lying side by side” captures the hearts of its readers and “proves to be the perfect place for miraculous transformations” (The New Yorker). "


I picked this book up years ago from Bookstar and more than likely it came from there bargain book section that I loved so much.  I had no idea what this book was about but knew I had it on my bookshelf for years and years.  
Parsifal "The Magician" has died leaving his assistant and widow Sabine with everything his success and fame got him.   A large house in Los Angeles, money, magic and a family secret is all hers now.  What a great imagination this author has.  I don't mean in the sense of witches and a whole world of fantasy but a world of one person and the history of that person.  After Parsifal dies, Sabine learns of his "real" life in Nebraska before he met her.  
Ann Patchett did a great job of building the history of the Nebraska family and each character's back story without going into a long rant or chapters of history only.  She let each of the characters take a section and inform the reader and Sabine about events that happened in the past.  
This was a great read with an interesting plot, well developed characters and a fun dream sequence.  I don't know what took me so long to read it.  I should have read this book awhile ago.  This book had me from the first chapter and held my  interest till the very end which is rare and extremely delightful.
The only thing I think I had a hard time understanding but not enough to take away a star is Sabine's love for Parsifal.  Parsifal was a gay man who Sabine became great friends with.  I understand that but she fell in love with him and never dated anyone else.  She lived with him and his lover Pham for years in the big Los Angeles house.  They were all great friends and one big happy family.  I just feel so sad for her that she never got the chance to live a life of reciprocated love.  Parsifal married her after Pham died so she would inherit his estate but they never had a real marriage.  More like room mates.  I just don't understand how she could do that for 20 plus years.  There is a passage in the book where she explains to the reader her one lover/boyfriend relationship she had but it never worked out.  
The book is a great read with magic, love, family all with the backdrop of sunny Los Angeles and snowy Nebraska.
Reviews by Other Bloggers


I recommend this to adult readers due to the mention and conversations about domestic violence and sex.


This book is number 8 in my Dusty Bookshelf Reading Challenge
This book is number 3 in my TBR Pile Reading Challenge
This book is number 8 in my Rewind Reading Challenge

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