The Magician's Assistant

The Magician's Assistant

Book - 1998
Average Rating:
Rate this:
"A secretive magician's death becomes the catalyst for his partner's journey self-discovery in this "enchanting" book ( San Francisco Chronicle ) "that is something of a magic trick in itself" (Newsweek). When Parsifal, a handsome and charming magician, dies suddenly, his widow Sabine--who was also his faithful assistant for twenty years--learns that the family he claimed to have lost in a tragic accident is very much alive and well. Sabine is left to unravel his secrets, and the journey she takes, from sunny Los Angeles to the bitter windswept plains of Nebraska, will work its own magic on her. Sabine's extraordinary tale, "with its big dreams, vast spaces, and disparate realities lying side by side" captures the hearts of its readers and "proves to be the perfect place for miraculous transformations" ( The New Yorker ). "
Publisher: San Diego : Harcourt Brace, 1998
Edition: First Harvest edition
ISBN: 9780156006217
Branch Call Number: FIC PATCHET 1998
Characteristics: 357 pages ; 21 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Jan 23, 2018

Have to admit that I found it somewhat tedious until about the last 100 pages. Still was mostly enjoyable; the dream sequences could have been shorter or not included as I didn't believe they added much to the story itself.

archreads Aug 29, 2017

A literary page-turner with compelling characters and a very unusual story.

May 17, 2016

Ann Patchett is a compelling authoress

WVMLStaffPicks Oct 20, 2014

An early work by the author of the prize-winning Bel Canto. Patchett writes with grace, pathos and the ability to weave a compelling and unusual story. Sabine has spent a lifetime loving and assisting the great magician Parsifal. As a gay man Parsifal could only return the love as a friend; but, after his partner Phan dies, he marries Sabine to prove his strong commitment to their relationship. When Parsifal dies a few months later, Sabine discovers Parsifal's hidden past and soon finds herself taken in by his long forgotten family. The healing process for all of them begins during a cold and blustery Nebraska winter.

Feb 07, 2014

Big-hearted with just enough surprises.

janetplanet Apr 13, 2013

To tls 505 - Sometimes Bibliocommons inserts a review of the audio book in the record for the book - obviously an error, but it happens fairly often. Karen Ziemba must be the reader of the audio book.

sharonb122 Sep 18, 2012

A rather strange book. Though it was interesting and kept me reading, there were parts I felt could have been shorter; such as long descriptions of the dreams. A good examination of definitions of family.

Jun 11, 2012

Ann Patchett's books are always wonderful, and this one is no exception. I simply could not put it down. The writing is so excellent, and the characters so finely dilineated, it is pure pleasure to experience.

Feb 23, 2012

What's with the Publishers Weekly review? Who's Karen Ziemba? And Parcifal doesn't die from AIDS and even if he did, that's such a non-issue in this book. The real issues in this story are about love and loss and discovery and learning how to move forward. It's an interesting book, well written and mysterious.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at SPL

To Top