“The Magician’s Assistant” by Ann Patchett

I hesitated to START reading this book because Patchett’s Bel Canto had me so entranced I was in danger of burning dinner. And I was right to worry – “The Magician’s Assistant” also completely held my attention. I read it in three days. Sorry, I can’t tell you how long it is. I read it on my Kindle.

“The Magician’s Assistant” has two settings, sunny Los Angeles and windswept, winter Nebraska. The protagonist, a bereaved woman in her 40s, travels to meet “relatives” by marriage whose existence had been unknown to her. Where another author might use flashbacks, Patchett uses dreams – lucid dreams of a magical quality. Not every author could make this work.

I thought this book might, like Bel Canto, end tragically, but it doesn’t. 

Patchett creates characters that surprise and interest me. The protagonist’s parents, for example, are almost too good to be true, so their daughter has to stretch to understand the dysfunctions and misfortunes of other peoples’ lives. Her ability to do so seems to be rooted in the great love she feels for her close companions.

I won’t get into plot here. Read and enjoy!

 

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