Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Magician's Assistant, Ann Patchett

Parsifal is dead. That is the end of the story. 

Parsifal, a handsome magician, dies suddenly, leaving his widow and magic assistant Sabine, to find out that his family, who he said had died, is still alive and well in Nebraska. Sabine is left behind to unravel his many secrets, and she meets his mother and sisters, going from Los Angeles to Nebraska's windswept plains. Ann Patchett, the author of Bel Canto, wrote this one, which is equally amazing. Like Bel Canto, nothing really astounding actually happens in the book; it's more the lush and magical prose. Really, I couldn't put the book down. In the hands of another writer, this could easily have become a mind-numbing book. But here, Sabine and Phan and Parsifal and his family come to life.

Sabine often dreams about Parsifal and Phan, Parsifal's lover. The dream sequences were very good too, captured perfectly. I would say I liked this one better than Bel Canto because it's not completely devoid of action. Sabine is a complex character, though I don't exactly understand why she would marry Parsifal, when he is gay. That seems like a sad state to be in; married to a man who doesn't love you the way you love him. But. Because of the writing, I liked this one.

357 pages, 4.5 stars.

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