Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Ann Patchett's Snow

Ann Patchett's Bel Canto kept me glued to the pages until I finished it...a memorable read. The last few weeks I've enjoyed her Run. Very different characters, setting,and plot than Bel Canto. I'll comment on Run in another entry since I loaned it to Ariana who was attracted to the characters' names: Tip and Teddy.

I'm now reading Patchett's The Magician's Assistant a totally different story from the other two books, yet equally a page turner. Three hour reading sessions fly by. I feel I know Sabine and all the characters...I'll never forget them, just like I'll never forget Tip and Teddy.

Sabine is the Magician's assistant, and her story takes place in Los Angeles and Nebraska. Patchett compares those two settings in a way that puts you in whichever place she is talking about. Los Angeles, where it is never late, and Nebraska in winter when it's late as soon as the sun sets. In one scene, Sabine, who has lived in Los Angeles all her life, visits Nebraska for the first time, talking until after midnight to the sister of the man she loved. Patchett has Sabine realize "It was past being late. Even the snow had given up. There was no time like this in Los Agneles. It was never this late."

"Even the snow had given up." I lived in Wisconsin until I graduated from high school and I can feel the snow giving up.I know snow, but when Patchett uses it as a character in this novel, I've learned to appreciate snow in a new way. It enhances Sabine's story, it compliments the moods and actions of the main characters. Along with snow comes all the boots, puffy jackets, and the smell of scarves as the snow melts on them in the kitchen. Snow provides a depth of sensory experiences that refreshes us and digs us deeper into the story because it brings us right there in Dot's kitchen. Sabine doesn't know it yet, but snow is contributing to her healing. We know that on a feeling level, not because Patchett says so. She's just the master telling us a great story.

1 comment:

  1. Julaina -- I enjoyed reading your review of The Magician's Assistant. Wonderful! I loved that novel too, as well as Run, and of course, Bel Canto!