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Review – The Magician’s Assistant by Ann Patchett

 

The Magician’s Assistant by Ann Patchett 

I have never read a book that has brought me near to tears as many times as this one did.

As a synopsis, the main character, Sabine, is 40-something and has just lost the love of her life, Parsifal. Interestingly, Parsifal was gay and they were never intimate. He was a magician and she was his assistant. He left everything but a little bit of his money to her, the remainder of which went to his family that he had insisted over their 20 year friendship did not exist. Grieving his loss, she gets to know his family as a way to stay close to him.

The story is beautiful. It’s about people just trying to get by, just trying to understand why Parsifal would have kept secrets from all of them.

However, the story takes a turn in the last 30 pages that left me questioning the author. The turn of events weren’t believable to me and made me very disappointed when I finally finished the book. Up until the last 30 pages, I would have given the book anywhere from an 85 to an 88. But when everything was said and done, I would give the book a 72. The ending, I felt, compromised the integrity of the rest of the book. The book was palpable in its emotion, but the ending almost mocked the believability of the rest of the story.

Thus far, I have read three novels by Ann Patchett, and this one was my least favorite. If you’re going to ask me to suspend disbelief in a novel, you have to do that throughout the whole novel; you can’t throw a wrench in the story at the end and expect the reader to just go with it.

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6 Responses to “Review – The Magician’s Assistant by Ann Patchett”

  1. Book Reviews

    […] Framed wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt  The Magician’s Assistant by Ann Patchett  I have never read a book that has brought me near to tears as many times as this one did. As a synopsis, the main character, Sabine, is 40-something and has just lost the love of her life, Parsifal. Interestingly, Parsifal was gay and they were never intimate. He was a magician and she was his assistant. He left everything but a little bit of his money to her, the remainder of which went to his family that he had insisted over their 20 year friendship did not exist. Grieving his loss, she gets to know his family as a way to stay close to him. The story is beautiful. It’s about people just trying to get by, just trying to understand why Parsifal would have kept secrets from all of them. However, the story takes a turn in the last 30 pages that left me questioning the […] […]

  2. lisamm

    Trish, did you read Bel Canto? If so, what was your take on it? It was not a favorite of mine. That one has a weird ending too.

    [Reply]

  3. trish

    Yes, I read Bel Canto. It’s in my top 3 favorite books of all time (with Wicked and I Know This Much Is True). I thought the ending of Bel Canto was much more believable than in The Magician’s Assistant.

    I’ve also read The Patron Saint of Liars, which I loved.

    If you didn’t like Bel Canto, I definitely wouldn’t recommend The Magician’s Assistant. But definitely check out The Patron Saint of Liars some day.

    [Reply]

  4. lisamm

    NOw that you mention it, I think we may have discussed Bel Canto before. We’ll have to agree to disagree on that one.

    How is Molokai going so far?

    [Reply]

  5. trish

    WOW! I’m LOVING Moloka’i. I can hardly put it down. I’ve asked my book group if we can ask the author to do a phone interview when we meet to discuss it.

    [Reply]

  6. lolo

    I agree about the disappointment in the ending. I went back three times and re-read to see what part I was missing.

    It left too many questions for me.

    Bel Canto and Patron Saint were on my best list.

    [Reply]

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