Hoffman evokes the world of the Samuelsons, a family torn apart by tragedy and divorce in a world of bad judgment and fierce attachments, disappointments, and devotion.
The New York Times Book Review has noted, "Alice Hoffman writes quite wonderfully about the magic in our lives," and now she casts her spell over a Long Island neighborhood filled with dreamers and dreams. In a dazzling series of family portraits, Hoffman evokes the world of the Samuelsons, a family torn apart by tragedy and divorce in a world of bad judgment and fierce attachments, disappointments, and devotion.
With rich, pure prose Hoffman charts the always unexpected progress of Gretel Samuelson from the time Gretel is a young girl already acquainted with betrayal and grief, until she finally leaves home. Gretel's sly, funny, knowing perspective is at the heart of this collection as she navigates through loyalty and loss with the help of an unforgettable trio of women: her best friend, Jill, her romance-addicted cousin Margot, and her mother, Franny, whose spiritual journey affects them all. Told in alternating voices, these stories work wonders. Funny and lyrical, disturbing and healing, each is a lesson of survival, a reminder of the ties of blood and the power of friendship. Jane Smiley has said that "a reader is in good hands with Alice Hoffman," and once again in her expert hands, everyday life has been transformed into magic.
One thing I've learned is that strange things do happen. They happen all the time. Today, for instance, my best friend Jill's cat spoke. We were making brownies in the kitchen when we heard it say, Let me out. Well, we rushed to the back door and did exactly that. We experienced a miracle and now we're looking for more, although Franconia, the town we live in, is not known for such things. Jill and I have known each other our whole lives. One house separates our houses but we act as if it doesn't exist. We met before we were born and we'll probably still know each other after we die. At least, that's the way we're planning it.
My mother and I left for Atlantic City so quickly I didn't have time to call Jill. We told people we were on our way to visit an old aunt, but really our departure had something to do with love, or the lack of it, and the aunt doesn't even exist. I know other people whose mothers suddenly pack up when their ...
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