Monday, November 8, 2010

Jessi Finds a New Favorite Author

Title/Author: Blackbird House by Alice Hoffman 
Publisher/Year: Doubleday, 2004
How I Got This: From my college town's library
Why I Read It: I saw a friend on Goodreads who loved it, and the synopsis sounded appealing to me, so I figured I'd give it a try! 
Rating: 4 Stars 

Quick Synopsis (from Goodreads): 

With “incantatory prose” that “sweeps over the reader like a dream,” (Philadelphia Inquirer), Hoffman follows her celebrated bestseller The Probable Future, with an evocative work that traces the lives of the various occupants of an old Massachusetts house over a span of two hundred years.

In a rare and gorgeous departure, beloved novelist Alice Hoffman weaves a web of tales, all set in Blackbird House. This small farm on the outer reaches of Cape Cod is a place that is as bewitching and alive as the characters we meet: Violet, a brilliant girl who is in love with books and with a man destined to betray her; Lysander Wynn, attacked by a halibut as big as a horse, certain that his life is ruined until a boarder wearing red boots
arrives to change everything; Maya Cooper, who does not understand the true meaning of the love between her mother and father until it is nearly too late. From the time of the British occupation of Massachusetts to our own modern world, family after family’s lives are inexorably changed, not only by the people they love but by the lives they lead inside Blackbird House.

These interconnected narratives are as intelligent as they are haunting, as luminous as they are unusual. Inside Blackbird House more than a dozen men and women learn how love transforms us and how it is the one lasting element in our lives. The past both dissipates and remains contained inside the rooms of Blackbird House, where there are terrible secrets, inspired beauty, and, above all else, a spirit of coming home.

My review: 

This being my first read by Alice Hoffman, I must say--I think I've found a new author to add to my favorites list. I'm absolutely itching to go out and read everything else she's written.

What I loved the most about Alice Hoffman's writing was her style. It was absolutely phenomenal. Between her use of words and her descriptions, I was there. This is definitely one of those books that you just want to soak up and enjoy the words. However, for being a book that at times reads almost like poetry, this was a quick read. I stretched it out over a few days just to make it last!

I was pleasantly surprised by this book in particular because the story of the various occupants of Blackbird House is told through interconnected short stories. I'm not usually into that format. Let's face it--not many authors can pull that off well, without telling a completely disjointed tale. I loved all of the stories, and I felt a connection to each character and their situations. I won't lie, I didn't want the individual stories to end. I wanted to find out what happened to each of the characters. But she flows right between stories without confusion of any sort. Like I said, my only complaint was that I wanted MORE!

Overall, I was very impressed with Hoffman, and I'm looking forward to reading more by her. This would be the perfect book to curl up with on a rainy day!


  1. Oh I'm so glad you enjoyed this book! Alice Hoffman is one of my favorite authors and I thought this was a beautifully written and constructed book. I hope you do read some more of her.

  2. I've never read any Alice Hoffman but I'm really wanting to! Perhaps this will be a good one to start with. I'm a sucker for beautiful writing!

  3. You should try out "The Story Sisters". Didn't read it, but my gf raced through it in 72 hours and keeps lending it to people since.

    Hoffman is kind of a number though:

  4. I really enjoy Alice Hoffman too. I haven't read all of her books, but my two favorites are Here on Earth and Skylight Confessions. Enjoy! I love the feeling of finding a new author you adore!

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  6. I've heard lots of great things about Hoffman! I really need to try one of her novels. Thanks for the review!

  7. I can't believe I haven't read this one .... Alice Hoffman's The Ice Queen and Blue Diary are two of my all-time favorite books.

    grabbing this book off the library's shelf tonight.... nice review!

  8. Just found your blog. I've been reading Alice Hoffman for years and she's a favorite of mine. So glad you found and like her.


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