Robbins Library's Reviews > The Magician's Assistant

The Magician's Assistant by Ann Patchett
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's review
May 30, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: jenny-recommends

I love all of Ann Patchett's writing - novels, nonfiction, and essays alike - but I think The Magician's Assistant is my favorite. Sabine (the assistant) is grieving over the death of Parsifal (the magician) in their home in Los Angeles, CA. She is startled to find out that, contrary to what Parsifal told her, his real name is Guy Fetters and his family did not die in a car crash but is alive and living in Nebraska.

Guy's mother and one of his sisters fly out and meet Sabine, and later she goes to stay with them in Nebraska. Sabine and the Fetters women come from two different worlds and knew two different versions of the same person. What is familiar, comforting, and known to Sabine is deeply strange to the Fetters family, and vice versa, but slowly they come to understand each other and piece together their knowledge of Guy/Parsifal.

Patchett excels at dropping ordinary, likable people into unusual situations (as she does in her newest, State of Wonder). Her writing is insightful but not flowery, her characters compelling, her descriptions of setting evocative, and her stories are deeply memorable.
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