Monday, April 1, 2013

The Magician's Assistant

The Magician's Assistant
By Ann Patchett

I had scene this book before and was excited to see it on my local library shelf. It seemed to be a sort of mystery with possibly some romance. Now not really sure -- possibly something about not being straight. Really disappointed in the book.

Sabine was Parsifal's assistant for years and in love with him the entire time. However, Parsifal loved men and one man in particular. Sabine remained a faithful assistant, friend and housemate to the couple. When Parsifal's love dies, he decides to marry Sabine in order for all his worldly goods to be legally hers. Not long after, Parsifal dies and Sabine begins the long descent into grief and depression. Then, she finds out that the supposedly orphaned Parsifal still has a living family who want to come and see her.

I enjoyed the discovery of who Parsifal really was through meeting his mother and sisters. I liked how Patchett revealed bits and pieces of a life through a great story and various characters and even scenes. Sabine's process of grieving and beginning to come to grips with her own talents was a joy to see. I don't know why Patchett had to create a love twist at the end. Could Sabine not have shared her huge home and her life with her new-found relatives without it?

I also struggled with a character who loved someone for years who could never love her back in the same way.  It seemed as if Sabine was a bit masochistic -- she tortured herself with tricks the magician wouldn't attempt (don't believe for an instant that the magician is doing the work when the woman is sawed in half in the box or disappears). And she tortured herself with living on the edge of a relationship that she could never fully enter into. I am not sure I would call that love.

What did this book have to do with my faith? Sabine stuck with a love that could never be returned. How many people in real life do the same -- even in traditional relationships? Yet, God offers a love that is returned and which people reject time and again (just read the bible for examples). Why do we try to fulfill ourselves with love in people when the true fulfillment is to love God? How in love with God are you?

Sorry, but another book I cannot recommend.

Happier reading!


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