Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Magician's Assistant

Belated again! Gone are the days of the Thursday morning recap, but you know what they say... Thank you to the Foxx for hosting TCOB. It's so fun to see the progress on your house--it looks better every time! We started off the night with margaritas (the cocktail is a menu addition I like very much!) and chickpea bruschetta with olive tapenade. Then, some very healthy chicken enchilladas (courtesy of the Foxx's mother-in-law's famous recipe) with a mixed vegetable salad, and strawberry and rhubarb cobbler with creme fraiche for dessert. Dalish, and requiring a major workout the next day!

The Magician's Assistant, by Ann Patchett, scored a 6.75 on the Richter scale. However, as is often the case, that number doesn't tell the whole story. There were mostly 8's and then two nay-sayers brought the average tumbling down. The general consensus among the 8's was that the book was totally enjoyable, the story was good, they liked the Fetters family, and it was cool that the book (or at least half of it) took place in L.A.--Beverly Hills, downtown, and West Hollywood no less! We were about split down the middle on whether people liked Sabine: half found her character annoying or frustrating in that she had no backbone and put everyone else's interests ahead of her own. The other half really found her to be sympathetic. We also discussed Sabine and Parsifal's relationship, and again, opinions were mixed. How could Sabine have spent her whole life pining away for someone who definitively was not going to reciprocate on a sexual or even an intimate basis? Her living with Phan and Parsifal seemed weird, like the third-wheel neighbor who bunks in. On the other hand, maybe it was just a "non-traditional" family--and who are we to judge? We talked about Sabine's parents, and how even though they were such an important influence in her life, perhaps they were enabling their daughter in continuing on a path that never would lead to fulfillment for her. There was a lot to talk about with this book, and I feel like we just scratched the surface--probably because we hadn't gotten together for more than 5 weeks which meant lots of gossip to catch up on. In particular, El Jefe was curious to know everyone's take on the final magic trick, which Sabine seemed to have learned in one of her dreams and which supposedly was "real" magic. How did this fantastical and mystical twist fit in with a book that, although fictional, otherwise stuck to a completely realistic and pragmatic view of magic tricks?

Reminder: Janna Conner Designs and Lila Boutique trunk show at Logan's Run's house on May 2!
Our next meeting will be Wednesday, May 3 at Ms. K's house. La Madamoiselle is bringing apps, and Logan's Run dessert. The book is Last Orders, by Graham Swift, the 1996 Booker Prize winner.

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