The Magician's Assistant

The Magician's Assistant

by Ann Patchett

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Sabine-- twenty years a magician's assistant to her handsome, charming husband-- is suddenly a widow. In the wake of his death, she finds he has left a final trick; a false identity and a family allegedly lost in a tragic accident but now revealed as very much alive and well. Named as heirs in his will, they enter Sabine's life and set her on an adventure of unraveling his secrets, from sunny Los Angeles to the windswept plains of Nebraska, that will work its own sort of magic on her.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780547548791
Publisher: HMH Books
Publication date: 09/17/2004
Sold by: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 18,374
File size: 493 KB

About the Author

ANN PATCHETT is the author of six novels, including Bel Canto, winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize. She has written for the Atlantic, Gourmet, the New York Times Magazine, Vogue, the Washington Post, and others.


Nashville, Tennessee

Date of Birth:

December 2, 1963

Place of Birth:

Los Angeles, California


B.A., Sarah Lawrence College, 1985; M.F.A., University of Iowa, 1987

Customer Reviews

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The Magician's Assistant 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 118 reviews.
ChristyB-V More than 1 year ago
The Nook version of this title was absolutely FILLED with typos. It was absolutely ridiculous. Some of the typos were humorous (eg, "feces" instead of "faces"), but some were so egregious that I absolutely couldn't figure out what the word was supposed to be. I don't know if the print versions of this title are the same, but just beware if you purchase the Nook version. It's completely distracting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am enjoying the story; however, I cannot believe the plethora of spelling and editorial mistakes in the ebook edition. It is a real shame that it is so easy nowadays to let things slide.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Typos distract the reader. Barnes and Noble should correct this or give a refund.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story! Tons of typos in the Nook version. It's distracting.
english_teacher_39yrs More than 1 year ago
Hey, B and N!! I haven't read this....and it does look good, but probably won't because of the typos. I'm a retired English writing teacher who also has edited friends' books. If you'd like me to edit Nook books for you, I'd be delighted to do that! Please let me know.
Patty Ableman More than 1 year ago
Great story. What I would expect from this terrific author. The ending left me scratching my head ... there was build-up to something thrilling ... but the end was flat and dissapointing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not her best. B and N does hugh diservice (sp) To their customers by bad e book pagenation and editing.
GrandmaLee More than 1 year ago
I know Ms Patchett is a favorite of many, however I feel she just takes too long to get to the point.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book but thought it could have explored a lot more in order to make it a deeper, richer read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When I first began reading this book, I felt like I was reading poetry. The writing is very lyrical. The characters are unsettling in how they present themselves. You almost want to say to Sabine, get out of your "funk" and move on. I suppose that is what Parcifal's mother does by inviting Sabine to visit in Nebraska. Sabine finds out that Parcifal is really Guy and had a very different life from what he told her. Lots of lies but somehow you still like Parsifal. He was a victim of his environment and family. However, he still loved his family. The sisters are interesting. Parsifal/Guy's mother really is the stabilizer in the family. Sabine learns about herself and her relationship with Parsifal. The family brings her back to reality. The ending is somewhat abrupt but you feel that something good will come to help this family. Good book for a book club. Lots of interesting things to discuss and think about. Thought it was interesting that Johnnie Carson is mentioned in the book and that he had also been a magician and from Nebraska.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is teh story of a womans search for information about her dead husbands is captivating and deep, without being depressing. It questions concepts about life, love, and how well you can really know someone. An excellent book!
ksei More than 1 year ago
I love Ann Patchett, especially after reading State of Wonder. My hopes were obviously way too high, the ending was just blah. I felt bad for Sabine actually, the only good parts in the book, was when she was dreaming. Also the nook version did have many typos.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Magician's Assistant is a story of deep love, faith in one's path, and the mystical surprise in the commonest of places. This story of Sabine, and her loss of Parsifal the Magician, even with their non-traditional relationship, brings back every moment that I've ever tried to fold myself into a box so that the star can slice a sword through me. Through Sabine's eyes, I now see the perfect illusion that I've helped create, and it is perfectly OK to let the spotlight shine on those we love. The path Sabine chose in her grief allowed many others to display their gifts and begin to believe in magic after all.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story with great detail.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A lovely story that I greatly enjoyed but you lose one point for all the typos. Did enjoy the 20 foot feces. That was funny.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great read. Didn't want to put down my nook and was sad when I finished it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I stayed up all night reading this book. It is one of the better books I've read in quite a while. Mr. Eugenides's characters became very real to me. I particularly enjoyed Sabine's relationship with Phan, as she came to understand him after death.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I adore this book! It is a wonderful story of a woman who defined herself by someone else and now needs to find her own idenitiy. The reader gets to follow her through her adventures as she struggles to find something to hold onto. It's one to read over and over and over....
22soccermom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ann Patchett has an amazing way of making a totally implausible plot, believable. Beautiful woman falls in love with a gay magician, marries the gay magician in order for him to have an heir after he dies from AIDS (contracted from his lover who has already passed away). Then she meets and goes gto Nebraska to visit his long estranged family. The only thing I didn't like was the fact that the story just ended. It just stopped. No conclusion. Very unsatisfying. But I love the way that Patchett puts her words together.
lycomayflower on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The novel begins shortly after the death of Sabine's husband, Parsifal. He was gay, and his lover, Phan, has also died recently. Parsifal married Sabine so she could inherit from him with less fuss; Sabine probably married Parsifal because she once loved him, and, in the later years of their relationship, considered him her best friend. Parsifal was a magician and Sabine his assistant. When Parsifal's will reveals that he has a mother and two sisters living in Nebraska, about whom he never told Sabine, she begins to discover things about Parisal's past that both clarify and confuse her understanding of who he was.Patchett's writing is wonderful, and she puts her characters and settings (Los Angles and Alliance, Nebraska) on the page with such simple clarity and seemingly effortless attention to detail that you never once question the reality of them. Magic tricks and the world of magicians weave through the story, adding interest and some thematic heft. The secrets in Parsifal's past always work to reveal more about the novel's characters, never exist for drama or shock value. An engaging and compelling read, though one which ends perhaps a bit abruptly, without a fully satisfying resolution to all of the story threads.
PermaSwooned on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I heard a review on NPR of Ann Patchett's latest book, and decided to check her out. The description of this book seemed to be a slightly simpler storyline, so decided to check it out. Her characters are fascinating. The heroine, Sabine, seems to be a person unable to fully embody a life of her own. She lived with and worked for years with the love of her life, a gay magician. She took care of him and his lover as both were dying of AIDS, and married him late in his life to make all his legal and medical issues easier to handle. In the book, she discovers that he actually had a family he had never mentioned living mundane lives in the Midwest. Quirky story, but enjoyably told.
cherylscountry on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved this book and the writing is great. Wasn't sure at first about wanting to read a book with the title The Magician's Assitance especially if the main story was about magic However I soon discovered this story was so original and unique I couidnt put it down Every page had a new trick to entertain me. I highly recommend this book for several reasons including a odd but exciting story lines, unique and interesting characters, assortment of types of love and the sad truth of living with domestic violence.
mrstreme on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
For most of Sabine's adult life, she was in love with her employer and best friend, Parsifal. They travelled together as a magic act and later as antiques experts. They shared an uncommon bond of friendship. Sabine knew her love would always be unrequited. Why? Because Parsifal was gay - and his true love was a man named Phan.Sadly, both Phan and Parsifal had AIDS, and as Sabine prepared to say good-bye to them both, Parsifal does something remarkable: he married Sabine, ensuring her financial freedom for the rest of her life. Parsifal, however, had secrets too, namely a mom and two sisters in Nebraska who had not seen him in more than 20 years. When they learned about his death, Parsifal's mom and sister came to Los Angeles to meet Sabine. Once united, Sabine and Parsifal's family pieced together his mysterious life.The Magician's Assistant was a tale like none other. Indeed, a woman married to a gay man near the end of his life was an unusual story development.  However, Ann Patchett had more tricks up her sleeve.  Incredibly loving and flawed, Parsifal's family showed Sabine what life was like for young Parsifal (then called Guy), uncovering more secrets. Together, they mourn his death and help heal old wounds.Wonderfully told, The Magician's Assistant was a moving story of love, friendship, family ties and estranged relationships. Each of the story's twists and turns were unpredictable, and while Patchett left the ending open-ended, I was pleased with the strength of friendship among this group of women. Their mutual love for Parsifal brought them together, but their love for each other made them even closer. The Magician's Assistant was a beautiful book, and once again, Patchett swept me away with her magical storytelling.
hemlokgang on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Audiobook.......I thoroughly enjoyed this Ann Patchett novel. In fact, it may be my favorite of hers so far. The story works on multiple levels as does a good magic show, and the theme of the sleight of hand we all employ in our presentation to others is deftly woven throughout the story. The characters, including the magician's assistant herself, discover untold truths and debunk family myths and in the end develop new strengths because of both experiences. The hand is quicker than the eye in more ways than one!
bkwurm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm a very big fan of Ann Patchett; her book "Bel Canto" may be one of my favorite pieces of contemporary fiction. "The Magician's Assistant" may not have been quite as good as "Bel Canto", but it was still a delightful read. One of the best parts of Patchett's writing is that her characters are always fully developed, and she is able to place you inside the mind of each character with no more than a few words. It was no different with Sabine, the main character of "The Magician's Assistant." The story itself is far more leisurely than Patchett's other novels. It is the story of a lost love; of grief, remembrance, and a slow discovery. That said, I was not once tempted to set the book aside for another one. Only the end left me slightly disappointed--a few ends were left hanging loose, and not knowing drives me crazy. ;-)