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Traces the multi-generational story of wintry Blackwell town through the experiences of such characters as a wounded Civil War solider who is saved by a passionate neighbor and a woman who meets a fiercely human historical figure. By the best-selling author of The Third Angel.
“Hoffman’s characters are always moving back and forth, challenging our perceptions, daring us to judge them.”—New York Times Book Review
The Red Garden introduces us to the luminous and haunting world of Blackwell, Massachusetts. Hoffman offers a transforming glimpse of small-town America, presenting us with some three hundred years of passion, dark secrets, loyalty, and redemption in a web of tales.
From the town’s founder, a brave young woman from England who has no fear of blizzards or bears, to the young man who runs away to New York City, the characters in The Red Garden are extraordinary and vivid: a young wounded Civil War soldier who is saved by a neighbor, a woman who meets a fiercely human historical character, a poet who falls in love with a blind man, a mysterious traveler who comes to town in the year when summer never arrives. At the center of everyone’s life is a garden where only red plants can grow, and where the truth can be found by those who dare to look. The Red Garden is as unforgettable as it is moving.
About the Author
In a prolific career that began with early writings in the American Review, Alice Hoffman has expanded and developed the idea of family and community -- the forces that bind it together and the forces that drive it apart -- with understated and elegant prose and powerful and complex characters.
Hoffman brings us 200 years in the history of Blackwell, a small town in rural Massachusetts, in her insightful latest. The story opens with the arrival of the first settlers, among them a pragmatic English woman, Hallie, and her profligate, braggart husband, William. Hallie makes an immediate and intense connection to the wilderness, and the tragic severing of that connection results in the creation of the red garden, a small, sorrowful plot of land that takes on an air of the sacred. The novel moves forward in linked stories, each building on (but not following from) the previous and focusing on a wide range of characters, including placid bears, a band of nomadic horse traders, a woman who finds a new beginning in Blackwell, and the ghost of a young girl drowned in the river who stays in the town's consciousness long after her name has been forgotten. The result is a certain ethereal detachment as Hoffman's deft magical realism ties one woman's story to the next even when they themselves are not aware of the connection. The prose is beautiful, the characters drawn sparsely but with great compassion. (Jan.)
This collection of interrelated stories from the talented Hoffman (The Story Sisters) chronicles the 300-year history of Blackwell, MA, a mythical town tucked deep in the Berkshire Mountains. Bears, eels, and vigilant collies are among Blackwell's denizens, as well as a cast of characters both richly diverse and closely connected. From town founder Hallie Brady, a fearless woodswoman with an affinity for the ursine, to James Mott, the modern-day EMT who seems destined to tempt fate, these characters are singular and vivid: a beautiful baker who specializes in deadly sin cakes, a man so monstrously ugly he can't look at himself, a fisherman's wife with hair so long she can step on it, who has a strange connection to the eels that are the town's main natural resource. Linking them all is an extraordinary garden, where the greenest plant grows red and the answers to life's mysteries can be found. VERDICT Hoffman has done it again, crafting a poignant, compelling collection of fairy tales suffused with pathos and brightened by flashes of magic. Her fans, as well as those of magical realism in general, will be enchanted. [Ten- to 12-city tour. See Prepub Alert, LJ 9/15/10.]—Jeanne Bogino, New Lebanon Lib., NY
"An absorbing portrait of a town, told through its unforgettable people....masterful."--"People," four stars
"[A] dreamy, fabulist series of connected stories . . . These . . . tales, with their tight, soft focus on America, cast their own spell."--"The Washington Post
"Hoffman's writing is so beautiful it's almost painful to read....Hoffman makes the magic she writes about feel so real, as though I could at any moment, find myself in the town of Blackwell and the mysterious garden that bears only red fruit."--Eleanor Brown, author of "The Weird Sisters
""The Red Garden "is recommended to readers who enjoy, in addition to beautiful prose, magical realism and different narrators over time. . . . Alice Hoffman is an author not to be missed."--"Historical Novels Review
""Alice Hoffman, herself a shining star among American novelists, possesses the stunning ability to express the numinous in the most prosaic language. Somehow, without elaborate wordplay, she manages to communicate a yearning interpretation of the life we all live, opening the reader's eyes to the otherworldly riddles that make things appear just a trifle askew--when we notice them, that is. And Alice Hoffman certainly notices them. One secret of her ongoing appeal, year after year, book after book, is her keen perception. And in "The Red Garden," Hoffman delivers a body of stories that explores the depths of reality as well as its enduring quirkiness."--"Book Page"
"In gloriously sensuous, suspenseful, mystical, tragic, and redemptive episodes, Hoffman subtly alters her language, from an almost biblical voice to increasingly nuanced and intricate prose reflecting the burgeoning social and psychological complexities her passionate and searching characters face in an ever-changing world.""--Booklist," starred review
"Hoffman has done it again, crafting a poignant, compelling collection of fairy tales suffused with pathos and brightened by flashes of magic. Her f
Published: 25th January 2011
Dimensions (cm): 24.0 x 16.3 x 2.9
Weight (kg): 0.532