As I come close to finishing Life After Joe, I opted for one additional ‘widow’ read. In this case, The Magician’s Assistant by Ann Patchett popped up for a reduced price, and intrigued by the premise, bought it. Here, some of the usual widow tropes were met straight away – with some twists on the genre.
The husband – is gay! And no, he was not secretly cheating on his wife – the good widow Sabine married her husband knowing full well he was gay. Best of all? She lived with her husband and his partner.
Such dysfunction. Much messed up. So tragic.
In the reading of the will it becomes apparent that Parsifal (the husband/magician
with a terrible name) has a secret family (not children, his actual family) that he never to told his beard wife about. Being the good widow she is, Sabine connects with them. I was on board until Sabine decides to journey back to Nebraska with them to learn other shocking things about her dead husband’s past. Somehow entangling herself into her new ‘in laws’ lives, things go weird when she crushes (?) on Parsifal’s sister, disconnects completely with her parents and then the book simply ends. While there is some pretty language, the story falls flat quickly and has almost no resolve.
From the perspective of the widow storyline, I liked the initial moments post death (not that I like people dying, more that it was very realistic). I also thought the dream sequences were a nice vaguely supernatural touch. The characters were fairly well developed, but I thought all of them could use a great deal more of some common sense.
Overall, I can’t say I would recommend this book.
And for the life of me I can’t understand why there are about five different covers for this book, most of which have a bunny on them.