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The Magician's Assistant Paperback – September 17, 1998
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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). "
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"The kindliness of The Magician's Assistant is beguiling, and Patchett is an adroit, graceful writer. . . she is especially practiced at the razzle-dazzle of odd juxtapositions." -- Suzanne Berne, The New York Times Book Review
From the Back Cover
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 adventure she embarks upon, from sunny Los Angeles to the bitter windswept plains of Nebraska, will work its own magic on her. Sabine's extraordinary tale will capture the hearts of its readers just as Sabine is captured by her quest.
"Enchanting . . . Ann Patchett is the real thing."--San Francisco Chronicle
Ann Patchett is the author of Bel Canto, Taft, and The Patron Saint of Liars, which was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. She has written for many publications, including Elle, GQ, the Paris Review, and Vogue. She lives in Tennessee.
- Publisher : Harcourt Brace; 1st edition (September 17, 1998)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 357 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0156006219
- ISBN-13 : 978-0156006217
- Item Weight : 12.2 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.31 x 0.95 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #54,440 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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This is a wonderful book by a very talented author that I am happy to recommend.
This was a very original story by Ann Patchett. The writing is flawless and full of ironic thinking for the characters. The language and descriptions throughout the story kept me fascinated. Pachett manages two sub-plots weaving within the story. Placing a few random events seem magical but helped enhance the story. The characters were creative and well developed.
The story begins with the death of the magician and leaves Sabine a widow. Sabine’s enclosed with grief that she spends most of her time in bed until she got a call from the magician’s lawyer with some surprising strange news. Sometime later in the story the readers find out who Sabine’s husband Parsifal really was. They were only married for a year and she was Parsifal’s assistant. She still married him even as she new he had another love. Even though she knew he was gay and would never love her, she still devoted her life and love to him anyway.
During Sabine’s grief for Parsifal she was confused when she heard her husband had kept the truth from her about where he came from and his true identity.
Sabine, the main character, is working as a waitress in a comedy club in Los Angeles. The magician onstage picks her to come onto the stage and assist him in an act of magic. Sabine is gorgeous and young, and at first she is too shy to go up on stage but when she finally relents she falls in love with the magician whose stage name is Parsiafal. He is handsome, caring, and sensitive and he is also gay but that does not stop them from staying and living together until the day he dies. His lover, Phan, lives with them and buys them a huge house, which they all live happily in. When Phan dies of AIDS, Parsiafal marries Sabine because he also has AIDS and wants to make sure that all that he leaves her when he dies is not contested by anyone. They are married for about a year and a half when Parsisfal dies, not from AIDS, but from a brain aneurism.
Suddenly, left alone in this big house with all these wonderful memories she finds it impossible not to live without Parsiafal. She can't let go, and then it occurs to her that she knows very little of Parsiafal's younger life... just tiny bits and pieces that she quickly finds out do not add up.
His so called family that he told her all died in a car accident, are mostly alive and living in Nebraska. His mother and younger sister come to visit Los Angeles when they find out he has passed away and he has left them a sizable chunk of money. Sabine meets them, and gets along so well with them that she visits them in Nebraska and it is here that she discovers the tragic history of her husband's youth, as told by his mother, younger sister, and his twin sister Kitty.
Parsiafal is once again in her life through his mother and sisters and her love for him only grows, and the family's love for him has always been there, even though they have never seen him since he left at eighteen. He, until the end of his life, has send his mother money but never have they communicated.
Yes, this beautiful and amazing book tells you that you can go back to your younger days, that love is eternal even at a distance, and that in the face of a twin sister that looks very much like the deceased, you can once again find the love of your life for a second time.
I Loved this book and I highly, highly recommend it.
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