The Story Sisters: Book summary and reviews of The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman

The Story Sisters

A Novel

By Alice Hoffman

The Story Sisters
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  • Published in USA  Jun 2009,
    336 pages.

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Book Summary

This luminous tale filled with honesty and love charts the lives of sisters who find their curse and their salvation on the street where they live. One fateful summer they create their own magical world to escape a tragic encounter that has forever changed their lives. The healing power of imagination and love, the interwoven worlds of fiction and fact, the difference between liars and truth tellers, are at the core of this dangerous fairy-tale world where one mistake can follow you forever.

A charismatic man who cannot tell the truth, a neighbor who is not who he appears to be, a clumsy boy in Paris who falls in love and stays there, a detective who finds his heart's desire, a demon who will not let go, all live within the confines of the sisters' world. Elv, Claire, and Meg are the Story Sisters, and each has a fate she must meet alone. One on a country road, one in the streets of Paris, and one in the corridors of her own imagination. At once a coming-of-age tale, a family saga, and a love story of erotic longing, The Story Sisters sifts through the miraculous and the mundane as the girls become women and their choices haunt them, change them, and finally redeem them.

What does a mother do when one of her children goes astray? How does she save one daughter without sacrificing the others? How deep can love go, and how far can it take you? These are the questions this complex novel asks. This is the spellbinding story Alice Hoffman has to tell.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Hoffman's prose is as lovely as ever ... but Elv's troubles and the Story family's nonstop catastrophes are wearying." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. Her alluring characters are soulful, their suffering mythic, and though the sorrows are many and the body count high, this is an entrancing and romantic drama ..." - Booklist

"This is one of Hoffman's darkest novels yet, and some of Hoffman's readers may find it too dark." - Library Journal

"A near-miss from this uneven but always compelling writer." - Kirkus

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Reader Reviews

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Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Vivianne
The Story Sisters
This book is simply amazing. The words, the ideas, the characters are all captivating. Yes, I agree that logic may not be this book's strongest point, but logic does not necessarily need to exist to create a beautiful piece like this. The separation between the two worlds are great, but I find myself more drawn to Arnelle, due to the descriptive mysteriousness of it. I really recommend this book to fellow daydreamers who love to sometimes drift into the solitary worlds of their own.

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by kip
would like to like it more if -
Well written with characters who you care about but too many lapses that stretch credulity. Why even have the father? Ii have no idea who he is by what she wrote and he is a cliche almost to parody by not caring about whether his daughters or ex wife live or die. Because he has a girlfriend and rides around in a convertible - this is supposed to somehow indicate the type of man who would not attend his daughter's funeral or wedding - if his behavior is this bad give us a reason. Nobody even mentions him in inner thoughts. Totally unbelievable. And if Elv and Lorry are drug addicts which we are led to believe over and over why is there never a mention about getting them help from a rehab or narcotics anonymous or a therapist or something! And Elv magically stops on her own after being a totally self-destructive drug addict culminating in heroin living with someone who is using unto his overdose death. unbelievable. And the episode with the pedophile strains credulity as well. She saves her sister by going with a pedophile and her sister says nothing to anybody like where is this man taking my sister mom - forget dad obviously - and nobody ever says anything about this guy. I know the school covers it up but still the ring of truth is not there. Seems too contrived. And Lorry - this guy is a heroin addict for years and waits for her to get out of prison for several years and functions well enough to have a BMW and has an apartment building and - heroin addicts I have known are somewhat different especially over time. Too may lapses which is too bad because there are passages which are quite moving and descriptions which are poetic and just feels a little forced as too many books are to have elements which shock and are unique to set them apart.

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Author Information

Alice Hoffman Author Biography

Alice Hoffman was born in New York City on March 16, 1952 and grew up on Long Island. After graduating from high school in 1969, she attended Adelphi University, from which she received a BA, and then received a Mirrellees Fellowship to the Stanford University Creative Writing Center, which she attended in 1973 and 74, receiving an MA in creative writing.  She currently lives in Boston and New York.  

Hoffman's first novel, Property Of, was written at the age of twenty-one, while she was studying at Stanford, and published shortly thereafter by Farrar Straus and Giroux. She credits her mentor, professor and writer Albert J. Guerard, and his wife, the writer Maclin Bocock Guerard, for helping her to publish her first short story in the magazine Fiction. Editor...

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