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Extended Audio Sample The Magicians Assistant Audiobook, by Ann Patchett Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.55 out of 53.55 out of 53.55 out of 53.55 out of 53.55 out of 5 3.55 (38 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Ann Patchett Narrator: Karen Ziemba Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2008 ISBN: 9780061632563
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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 adventure she embarks upon, from sunny Los Angeles to the bitter windswept plains of Nebraska, will work its own magic on her. Sabine's extraordinary tale captures the hearts of its readers just as Sabine is captured by her quest.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Ann Patchett is an elegant and lyrical writer.”

    USA Today

  • “Patchett's ability to evoke sense of place…is near magical in itself.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “We read Patchett's novel with the same pleasure and awe of an audience watching a chained Houdini escape from an underwater chamber.”                     

    Newsweek

  • “Enchanting.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “This beautifully realized tale suggests that even a woman skilled in the art of magic cannot fool herself.”

    Glamour

  • “A saga of redemption tenderly and terrifically told.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • Nominated for the 1998 Orange Prize for Fiction
  • A USA Today Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Deb | 2/20/2014

    " An engaging story, beautifully written. I felt the ending just sort of slipped away, though. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Elizabeth | 2/15/2014

    " I loved this book beyond all reason. Bel Canto is probably a better novel, but something about this one resonated with me. The premise is inherently overwrought: the widow (and assistant) of a magician discovers her husband's supposedly dead family is very much alive. Sabine must both grieve the husband she knew and discover the one that she didn't. To Patchett's credit, this book is a remarkably subtle character study; the magical elements seem almost commonplace compared to the compelling relationships between Sabine and her new family. I didn't want this book to end. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gerrigray | 2/15/2014

    " Sometimes you don't know your partner or your self so well until after your partner dies. Their happy relationship becomes even richer after death. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Samantha | 1/31/2014

    " Beautifully written, with a subtlety that I did not expect and therefore kept me quietly hooked. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Reshma | 1/28/2014

    " This book was a nice change of pace. I was immediately drawn into the story, it has an intriguing plot. But once the mystery was resolved, there wasn't really much to the book. The ending came very abruptly and was so very unsatisfying. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Daisy | 1/25/2014

    " My first book with my book club. I have been in love with this fellow University of Iowa graduate ever since. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jamaie | 1/23/2014

    " I appreciated the full circle aspect this book had to it. I really enjoyed this book & would give it 4 1/2 stars if I could. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ann | 1/22/2014

    " a sweet read, quirky characters, unique backdrops. The dream sequences are perfectly crafted. all in all a nice getaway. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ferris | 1/13/2014

    " Audiobook.......I thoroughly enjoyed this Ann Patchett novel. In fact, it may be my favorite of hers so far. The story works on multiple levels as does a good magic show, and the theme of the sleight of hand we all employ in our presentation to others is deftly woven throughout the story. The characters, including the magician's assistant herself, discover untold truths and debunk family myths and in the end develop new strengths because of both experiences. The hand is quicker than the eye in more ways than one! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kayt | 1/3/2014

    " Lovely writing, but so sad it took me a while to get through it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mya | 12/28/2013

    " About love. About grief. About the lies we tell one another, the facades we build for the world, and how they come unraveled after death. On my top 5 for the year? "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Marjorie | 12/25/2013

    " Not a fan....read this for my book club . Some loved it, but I didn't . Too unbelievable , too schmaltzy .... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bibi Silvas | 12/22/2013

    " This book was very emotional. I don't want to give anything away, but I highly recommend this book. It deals with death in a way that I have never seen before. I also felt like I personally knew the main characters in the book, which is rare. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Matthew | 12/4/2013

    " A tremendously sad book that starts with death. An utterly bizarre but believable love story, a main character who feels like a friend of yours, beautifully written and magical in so many ways. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Audrey Eves | 11/8/2013

    " I think I would have liked this book better if I liked Sabine. She was searching for something, I didn't really understand why, and she got on my nerves. The book is well written and I enjoyed reading it but I just never got all my questions answered. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tiffany | 10/7/2013

    " Bought it based on the cover, pleasantly surprised with the story "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sherwestonstec | 8/14/2013

    " took a long time to read a book going nowhere! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Gloria | 5/13/2013

    " you know how some books have alot of "filler" - stupid details that just seem to be added to take up space - that is what this whole book felt like "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kimberly | 5/10/2013

    " An engaging book about a woman who marries the magician she works with. She ends up meeting his family that she knew nothing about after he is dead. The magician is gay and issues of homosexuality are themes in this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bethanne | 2/4/2013

    " I "listened" to this book, but I would like to read it on the page some day as well. I enjoyed her way of describing things--I could easily picture each person and place. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nancy Yund | 12/25/2012

    " Ann Patchett is wonderful at character development, and this book is no exception. One of my favorite authors. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Audrey | 8/24/2012

    " First time reading Ann Patchett, I enjoyed this book and will try another. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 April Lyn | 7/4/2012

    " This wasn't my favorite Patchett book. No specific reason, I just didn't love it the way I loved Bel Canto and Patron Saint of Liars. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jenniferdavis | 4/17/2012

    " I'm starting to think that 'Bel Canto' was an exception. I loved that book, but I've been disappointed by everything else of Ann Patchett's that I've read... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Denise Hlavka | 2/10/2012

    " I wanted to go back and read all the Ann Patchett books I had missed, and finally got ahold of this one. It was not disappointing. It moves a bit slower in the middle section, but it is again, a broad story of relationship, beyond the traditional family. Really good. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marisa | 1/11/2012

    " sweet enjoyable and ethereal.... nowhere near bel canto's beauty, but worth a read - especially for fans of LA's magic castle! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cynthia | 12/27/2011

    " Grief wrought vividly, Midwesterners wrought stereotypically. Come on, Ann, Nebraskans aren't such rubes...But I did like the writing and enjoyed the book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katharine | 8/7/2011

    " This is not my favorite Ann Patchett book, but I always love her writing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marjie | 6/19/2011

    " This was okay...I didn't like it as much as some of Ann Patchett's other novels. However, she is great at descriptive writing...I felt as though I were inside the main character's fog of consciousness, and the descriptions of the Nebraska winter were enough to make me never want to go there! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jenny | 6/14/2011

    " Just re-read this for the fourth time...love, love, love it.

    The things that went into keeping people together and tearing them apart remained largely unknown to the parties immediately involved. (291) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anna | 6/13/2011

    " I really enjoyed "Bel Canto" and have already been drawn into this book. Ann Patchett writes beautifully. This book transports you from sleek Los Angeles to bleak Nebraska. An amazing story of a very unusual family. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Patricia | 6/13/2011

    " Not my kind of book. The writing was good (the storytelling technique), but I just didn't like it, and hated the plot. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristen | 6/9/2011

    " Liked this -- not as engaging as some of her other books, but still very good. I love that all of her books are so different from each other. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 della | 6/8/2011

    " I chose this book for my book club with Bonnie. It sounded interesting and really turned out to be rather boring in my opinion. It was difficult to finish and very anti-climatic "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 KA | 5/29/2011

    " Every sentence crafted, like a delicious piece of drk chocolate. A book to be savored. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cindy | 5/24/2011

    " Really enjoyed this book, thought not as much as Bel Canto. The characters were all odd and quirky, but in compelling ways, normally I fly through books I love, this one took some time though. She writes so beautifully that I can't wait to read another one of her books. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda | 5/23/2011

    " Every page peeled another layer of dysfunction off this family's life. The characters were well developed and believable. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Santina | 5/23/2011

    " Surprisingly good. Very unconventional love story... "

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About the Author
Author Ann Patchett

Ann Patchett is the author of several previous novels including The Patron Saint of Liars, which was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year; Taft, which won the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize; and The Magician’s Assistant. She has written for many publications including the New York Times, Atlantic, the Washington Post, and Vogue. She lives in Nashville.

About the Narrator

Karen Ziemba is an Earphones Award-winning narrator and a Tony Award-winning actor, singer, and dancer. In 2000 she received the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress, along with the Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards, starring in Susan Stroman and John Weidman’s hit musical Contact. She also starred as “Roxie Hart” in Chicago and “Rita Racine” in Steel Pier, for which she received her first Tony award nomination as well as Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominations. She is also active on tours to American cities and has made appearances in television series dramas.