The Magician's Assistant

The Magician s Assistant A secretive magician s death becomes the catalyst for his partner s journey of self discovery in this enchanting book San Francisco Chronicle that is something of a magic trick in itself a s love

  • Title: The Magician's Assistant
  • Author: Ann Patchett
  • ISBN: 9780151002634
  • Page: 331
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The Magician's Assistant

    A secretive magician s death becomes the catalyst for his partner s journey of self discovery in this enchanting book San Francisco Chronicle that is something of a magic trick in itself a 1990s love story with the grace and charm of a nineteenth century novel Newsweek.

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      331 Ann Patchett
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      Posted by:Ann Patchett
      Published :2018-09-11T13:30:13+00:00

    One thought on “The Magician's Assistant

    1. Laura

      I know you are thinking, is there a book you don't like, Laura? Here's the deal. If I don't like a book I can barely read it, much less finish it. So if I do read it-I like it, in varying degrees, but I like it. So tonight I read the Magician's Assistant, by Ann Patchett. If you have read Bel Canto, (and you should have, though I'm not sure I'm spelling it right at the moment.)then you know her style. You get hypnotised by the story, by the language, you get into this rhythm that you can't break [...]

    2. Dawn

      Is this really Ann Patchett? While the story was mildly intriguing, I couldn't really like the main character. Sabine seemed too satisfied with living a half-life (in love with a gay man, an assistant instead of a magician, a maker of architectural models rather than an architect, etc.). The literary symbolism also seemed clumsy and obvious (last name Fetters, for example). Finally, and most annoying to me as I live here, the ridiculous caricature of Midwesterners made me want to scream. COME ON [...]

    3. Kara

      This book surprised me. Throughout the whole thing, I was never exactly sure how much I was enjoying it, and yet I couldn't wait to pick the book back up and continue reading. By time the book was done, I wanted to read more, and wanted the story to continue.The story itself is strange, very strange, but it draws you in immediately. It's the story of a woman named Sabine who is coming to terms with exploring the hidden past of her husband, a famous gay magician after his death. You wonder how th [...]

    4. Audra (Unabridged Chick)

      This is my second Patchett novel, and I liked it even less than the previous one I read (State of Wonder).First, I totally misunderstood the premise of this novel. I thought our heroine Sabine's lovely hottie magician husband dies, and then she discovers he was secretly gay, and then discovers he lied about his family being dead and seeks them out blah blah. Instead, the story is that Sabine's lovely hottie magician husband is openly gay and only marries her in the last year so she may inherit h [...]

    5. Lisa

      I enjoyed reading the book, but after reading it I couldn't say that I loved it (hence, three stars). Sabine, the main character, spends time with her dead husband's family, none of whom she knew existed. The reader is supposed to come along on the journey with her to discover the missing parts of her longtime friend/spouse, but I didn't gain any new insights to him from her visit back to his roots. The West Coast magician reinvented himself too well to have any connection to the Midwestern teen [...]

    6. Julie

      I have really become an admirer of Patchett’s writing, and this book was a close second to Bel Canto, which I adored. The Magician’s Assistant is Sabine, and she is mourning the sudden loss of her husband, Parsifal. But the story goes deeper than that. Parsifal is gay, and shortly after the death of his lover, Phan, he marries Sabine to ensure her security in the event of his death. Sabine had been Parsifal’s long-time assistant in his magic act, but more importantly, they shared a bond of [...]

    7. Carol Moore

      The Magician’s Assistant *** ½ Ann PatchettI found the trio of Sabine, Parsifal and Phan all too good, too unflawed, too beautiful, and Sabine's adoration of Parsifal for 22 years was a little hard to fathom. There was apparently no heartache, no discord. In addition, Sabine had been so in love with the glamorous, gay Parsifal that she had failed to realize that she was really gay herself, and thus her attraction to Kitty at the end. That was a bit of a stretch--this beautiful, personable, in [...]

    8. Lisa

      I picked this book up a few times and lost interest before finishing the first page. But when I finally got past the first three or four pages, I was really hooked. This characters are just so, so compelling. They're actually so compelling that when I was partway through the book I almost lit a candle at church for two of the characters in it, temporarily confusing them with real people. Which I _think_ is more a testament to how well-written and absorbing the book is than to how socially maladj [...]

    9. Book Concierge

      Digital audio book performed by Karen Ziemba3.5***From the book jacket: Sabine – twenty years a magician’s assistant to her handsome, charming husband – is suddenly a widow. In the wake of his death, she finds he has left a final trick: a false identity and a family allegedly lost in a tragic accident but now revealed as very much alive and well. Named as heirs in his will, they enter Sabine’s life and set her on an adventure of unraveling his secrets, from sunny Los Angeles to the winds [...]

    10. Karolyn Sherwood

      It is rare to find a literary page-turner, but Ann Patchett never fails to give us exactly that. Her writing is elegant, sophisticated and quiet; it never gets in the way of the story. The closer I got to the end of this book, the more obsessed I became with it, wanting to make sure that everyone was going to be okay, at least in some sense of the word. The Magician's Assistant follows the same pattern of Patchett's other novels: An unsuspecting character is thrust into a world full of people he [...]

    11. nomadreader (Carrie D-L)

      (review originally posted at nomadreader)The basics: At the beginning of the novel, Parcifal, the magician of the novel's title, dies suddenly. Sabine, the assistant of the title, is left to grieve.My thoughts: After having loved State of Wonder, Bel Canto, and Run, I was convinced Ann Patchett was one of my literary soul sisters who could do no wrong. Sadly, I didn't connect with The Magician's Assistant at all, and I struggled to even finish the novel. My problems with this novel really begin [...]

    12. peefer

      This morning, my belligerent son used his well-honed fingernails to pierce a hole in my hand, drawing blood. When I felt the pain, I smacked his hand away in self defense. I don't feel like talking to him, or even looking at him, for a week. I think he feels the same. He is six, and he has beautiful eyes.Of course, were he to be diagnosed with brain cancer, my heart would explode and die, and my will to live would wane faster than you could say intentional overdose. Can a person overdose on Advi [...]

    13. Una Tiers

      Five stars with reluctance since I couldn't describe what the attraction this book had for me. Whether it was the grass is greener concept or we're all the same, or the draw of magic. The sad life of Sabine moved to a new chapter although she will likely continue to live propelled with other people's direction.I absolutely loved the character of the rabbit who seemed a cross between a cat and dog.

    14. Barbara

      In my analysis of this book, I have to remind myself that Patchett had written it prior to her amazing, "Bel Canto" and her most recent, "Run". The latter included flat characterizations,and was filled with implausible coincidences and did not meet my expectations for "suspense", as was publicized. In this novel, Patchett had already demonstrated her talent for fashioning her language to convey the complexities of her characters' emotions and actions. She was so adept at this in "Bel Canto", one [...]

    15. Dayna

      I have read other books by Ann and really liked them, she is a great writer and I will continue to read more by her. The main character in this book is a woman who has been in love with a gay man, the magician to her magician's assistant, for over 20 years. The man and his lover have just died of AIDS and she is left behind in the house the three of them had shared. She is a bit of a pathetic creature, I had to really work sometimes to respect her, even though I think she is intelligent and grie [...]

    16. Catherine

      This was the 5th Ann Patchett novel I've read, but the 2nd of those chronologically. It wasting. Within the first 50 pages or so, you know quite a few things about Sabine: (view spoiler)[*She's lived in Los Angeles most of her life.*She could have been an architect, but instead she makes architectural models. *She's been a magician's assistant for over 20 years.*She was in love with Parsifal, the gay magician (who was also quite wealthy from his successful rug stores).*Parsifal and his even more [...]

    17. Sandie

      With The Magicians Assistant, Ann Patchett has performed the proverbial "Hat Trick" with a tale that is filled with beautiful writing but contains nothing new in the way of plot. By diverting our attention with conversations with the dead, flashbacks, dreams and vicarious travel being experienced by Sabine, the title character of this piece and widow of Parsifal the Magician, she manages to make us think we are experiencing a tale of substance when, in fact, it is really all just smoke and mirro [...]

    18. Kelly

      1/2/14: Rereading an old favorite is interesting. I still love this book, still love the glittering magic of LA and the gritty, land-bound Nebraska setting. What surprised me was how my perception changed. I loved this book at 19, then at 22, then at 24. Everyone felt so much older then; reading it now, I'm older than the youngest main character in the story, Bertie, and what hit hardest was how this was a story of grown ups not knowing what the hell they're doing and making poor decisions. But [...]

    19. Will Byrnes

      We meet Sabine as she mourns the death of her husband, Parsifal. The two had partnered on stage in a magic act. But this was not a typical marriage. Although the two loved each other dearly, they did not marry until about a year prior, after a decades long friendship. Parsifal was gay, and was dying of AIDS, the disease that had taken his lover, Phan. When a lawyer comes to Sabine with details of the will, she learns that everything Parsifal had told her about his upbringing was a lie. His mothe [...]

    20. Michael

      Went down like pablum. Bland, but healthy, just like a Hallmark movie. Everyone is good and wonderful and life affirming except for a couple of domestic abuser men. Sabine’s magician husband, Parsifal, has just died at the beginning of this story. It soon becomes clear that she has loved him for the 20 years that she has served as his assistant on stage, despite knowing he was gay. She lived with Parsifal and his lover for a long time in LA and only married him recently as his prolonged illnes [...]

    21. Lois Duncan

      This is the first book by Ann Patchett I've ever read. It won't be my last.For 20 years Sabine has been the assistant to the brilliant magician, Parsifal, with whom she has also been obsessively in love. But Parsifal is gay, and his lover, Phan, is part of this trio of characters. Unsavory as this may sound, it seems to work well for them.Then Phan dies -- Parsifal, feeling his own death is nearing -- marries Sabine so that she can inherit his and Phan's estates. But, once she's a widow, the gri [...]

    22. Heather

      I found this to be a quick, somewhat compelling read, but it really fell flat for me when there was no good resolution. I expected the ending to be much more significant/meaningful/profound than it was - instead, it felt really empty. I also predicted it about 1/3 of the way through the book, and it played out in a really hollow way, I thought. Probably not worth reading if you haven't already, though it's quick so you could always try it w/out wasting much time.

    23. Beth

      Maybe I am biased when it comes to Ann Patchett but I just loved loved loved this book. Wonderful story about Sabina who is wife, partner and friend for more than 20 years to Parsifal, a magician. After Parsifal dies Sabine finds out that he has a Mother, two sisters and two nephews living in Nebraska that she never knew anything about. The book is about love and relationships, family, magic, secrets and friendship. So beautifully written, just loved it highly recommend.

    24. Shifra

      My favorite Ann Patchett book I've read since Run. I prefer it to Commonwealth, which seems a bit off balance, maybe because of the autobiographical elements. The premise is rich and I'm really sad to leave these characters. Took me a little while to like it, but I was definitely a fan by the end.

    25. Care

      I listened to this one and enjoyed it a lot. But it bothered me, too. But/cuz I love AP! I find how she creates sentences quite amazing. I find I really pay attention to things I usually don't, if it was any ol' author - even ones I adore. Just something about AP. I wonder about her brain, "why did she say that like that?!", ooo - that was an odd string of words, but it worked etc, etc. It was cool how AP seemed to want to know more about magic, about people who build really tiny architectural m [...]

    26. Riva Sciuto

      Absolutely terrible. Hard to believe it's the same Ann Patchett who wrote such masterpieces as 'Bel Canto,' 'Commonwealth' and 'State of Wonder.' It's unfortunate, too, because the premise was such a promising one: a woman loses her husband and learns more about him in death than she ever did in life. But I found myself painfully bored by Sabine's journey; even the few unexpected things she discovers about her husband are only minimally revelatory. Perhaps more surprising is the absence of that [...]

    27. Sheri

      Whew. I've been muddling through 2 and 3 star books for a while; it was quite a relief to find this beautiful specimen. I have State of Wonder on my to read list and was browsing stacks in the library by author and figured I'd pick up something else by Patchett to see what I thought. And I loved it. This book was very compelling, beautifully written, amazingly perceptive, funny, and wise. The characters were complex, the plot unfolded well, and I really only have one very small criticism. I thou [...]

    28. Barb

      I've had this on the bookshelf for a very long time. All of my friends rave about Patchett's 'Bel Canto', which is also waiting on the shelf. What's kept me from reading them is my experience reading 'Run' by this author. I read it with my book group and just didn't care for it, because of that I'd been putting off reading her books. I'm happy to say this book remedied my aversion to reading Ann Patchett novels.Sabine is the magician's assistant, her husband, Parsifal, the magician, has just pas [...]

    29. Margie Van Evera

      Another wonderful book by Ann Patchett. I love her stories and how she weaves people's lives together and around each other.

    30. Lori

      I do love Ann Patchett. Her writing has an ethereal, magical quality to it that completely draws the reader in no matter what the story. The Magician's Assistant was the third novel of hers I read and enjoyed it almost as much as Bel Canto, her masterpiece. The protagonist in this story, Sabine, being a magician assistant and somewhat magical herself in her thoughts, dreams and interactions fit so well with Patchett's surreal writing style. Sabine has lost her gay husband and her best friend for [...]

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