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.