Book Club: The Magician’s Assistant Check-In #4 (The End!)

Yayyy book club!

We did it! This is the last check-in for The Magician’s Assistant by Ann Patchett, so beware of massive spoilers. We’re discussing all the way through to the end!

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Did you expect the book to end as it did?

What did you hope would have happened differently?

What do you feel are the overarching themes of the book?

What do you think was the author’s “message”, if there was one at all?

Would you recommend this book to others?

Anything else?

Thanks for joining this month’s book club. Keep an eye out for a new post with the announcement of February’s book. Invite your friends!

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4 thoughts on “Book Club: The Magician’s Assistant Check-In #4 (The End!)

  1. Did you expect the book to end as it did?
    Not really. I didn’t expect any actual magic to happen, as with her trick in the end. The supernatural element was a surprise (the dream sequences not withstanding), since the whole idea of magicians is that they do illusions. It’s not actual magic, it’s a trick, an illusion. So to interject actual magic I thought was a strange choice. I didn’t necessarily dislike it, but I thought it was odd. I also thought it was an interesting choice for her to be attracted to a woman in the end, after spending her whole life loving a man, and being with men. Was it only because the woman looked like Parsifal and was connected to him? To me, it seemed a way of tying up loose ends just for the sake of tying them up, not because it really made sense to the story.

    What did you hope would have happened differently?
    I guess in a way this book was like real life, in that it sort of meandered along without a definitive direction. I was hoping for a little more high/low points to add interest. I wish there had been more explanation about why Parsifal left his family in his past. Obviously he still cared, or he wouldn’t have sent money. But he didn’t want to have anything to do with them, even though his dad was the one who was abusive, not the mom and sisters.

    What do you feel are the overarching themes of the book?
    I think ultimately it was about family. Not only the family you’re born into, but most of all, the family you choose. Loving someone doesn’t always make sense to people outside the relationship, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t valid. I think she also really hit on the symbiotic relationship of the assistant and the magician. Even though she was essentially the support person in the act, by her own admission “not doing anything”, the act would never work without her. She was an integral part of the whole. I think by losing him, she finally realized her worth.

    What do you think was the author’s “message”, if there was one at all?
    Maybe that love isn’t always what you expect it to be. And that being a person who supports another is just as important as being the person who is supported. Nobody works alone.

    Would you recommend this book to others?
    Yes. I enjoyed her writing style and characters, and the story, although it was not really what I expected it to be. I’m curious to read something else by the same author.

    Anything else?

    • I agree with you on all counts, April. Chris and I were discussing how odd the “real” magic was and how we think focusing on that would have made for a much more interesting story! I did enjoy Sabine’s personal journey to discovering herself and connecting with Parsifal’s family, but it certainly felt meandering and slow. And certainly made me never want to visit Nebraska!

  2. Did you expect the book to end as it did?
    Yes and no. I hoped it would have some climatic ending, but deep down I knew it wasn’t going to.

    What did you hope would have happened differently?
    As terrible as it sounds, I hoped something bad would have happened to Howard. I suppose that was what they all hoped at that last moment when he walked out the door, but like she said, it never happens when you hope for it. It would have also been great if How had done the magic show with Sabin at the end.

    What do you feel are the overarching themes of the book?
    Life. I feel like I know all these characters in this book. It was relatable and realistic to the point where the main takeaway for me is that life happens everywhere and that life goes on. Sometimes you need to distance yourself from a situation to see it clear and sometimes you need dive into it to really understand it.

    What do you think was the author’s “message”, if there was one at all?

    I’m not sure of the exact message, but getting some distance to solve your problems seemed to reoccur. Parsifal left Nebraska, Phan and Sabin’s parents left their home countries, Sabin left California, and Kitty and the boys may leave to Cali for a bit. The world is a huge place and sometimes where you are isn’t the best place to stay.

    Would you recommend this book to others?
    No. It wasn’t a bad book, but it felt like a waste of time. It may be that I found this book revolved around themes that I find mundane and depressing. Women who hold on to unhealthy relationships, unjustified fear of the unknown, and scenarios where I am supposed to feel pity for characters who didn’t help themselves tend to put me off.

    Anything else?
    I like the way the book ended. The magic made it seem hopeful. My fingers are crossed that our next book is a little more light hearted or at least has some strong positive characters.

  3. Pingback: Book Club: Forever | Snay's Kitchen

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