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Listening to the Silence

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Karen Maitland
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The Magician's Assistant

The Magician's Assistant - Ann Patchett Sabine is devastated when her husband and partner Parsifal dies unexpectedly. As an AIDS patient, she always knew that he would die, but she believed they had a couple more years. While the aneurysm that does kill him is blessed quick in comparison to the slow decline of AIDS, she struggles to come to terms with his loss. When his lawyer reveals that Parsifal has a hidden past that no one in his life knows about, this sends her even more off kilter and leads her to question everything about her life.

While the fantastic storytelling ability of Patchett is still present in this book, it ultimately just didn't stand up to the amazing Bel Canto. I was intrigued by the storyline, and like Sabine curious to discover who Parsifal really was. All of the characters were well-written and realistically flawed, though I felt like we never really got to know any of them except Sabine. I did feel the ending was a bit out of place and didn't understand some of the choices the author made. I felt that Bel Canto had this same problem, so perhaps it's just a failing of the author to know how to properly end a book. In the end though, I would recommend this book, though if you are a fan of Bel Canto, you should lower your expectations.