Sabine has spent years as Parsifal the Magician’s assistant, in love with him despite the fact that he’s gay. After his long-time partner dies of AIDS, Parsifal marries Sabine to ensure she will be legally entitled to his money and possessions after his eventual death as well, but his death comes much sooner than expected. The book opens as Parsifal dies, and Sabine struggles with the information that follows: that Parsifal’s history is not what he made it out to be.
So I have finally read something by Patchett! I’ve heard over and over what a wonderful writer she is, and I finally got to one of her books. I liked it, in the beginning. I liked the setup, and Sabine, and what she finds out about Parsifal’s family. About halfway through, though, I started wondering where the book was going. It didn’t seem to have a real plot arc. There were people, and those people were living their lives, and nothing out of the ordinary, really, happened. They just lived. Which is great and all, but kind of makes for a boring story after awhile. I kept hoping something would happen, but by the time something started to happen, the book was over, abruptly, leaving the story unfinished and dissatisfying. It left me frustrated. It seemed like a well-written book, prose-wise, but I wish there had been more of a story. Even slice-of-life narratives should have an overall arc. Shrug. I might read more by Patchett, and I might not. It was a middle-of-the-road, nothing spectacular but nothing awful, sort of book.