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Blackbird House MP3 CD – MP3 Audio, July 1, 2014
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With ''incantatory prose'' that ''sweeps over the reader like a dream'' (Philadelphia Inquirer), Blackbird House 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 twelve 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.
From the writer that Time has said tells ''truths powerful enough to break a reader's heart'' comes a glorious travelogue through time and fate, through loss and love and survival. Welcome to Blackbird House.
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''Twelve lush and lilting interconnected stories . . . Hoffman's lyrical prose weaves an undeniable spell.'' --Publishers Weekly (starred review)
''The landscape Alice Hoffman displays in Blackbird House is its own world altogether . . . Here the relationship of the characters to their surroundings is seen as a kind of magical bond, expressed in language that is both eerie and beautiful.'' --New York Times Book Review
''The stories of Blackbird House are sharp and imbued with magic. Hoffman peels away layers of time, painstakingly sifting through two centuries to expose all that can occur by one field of pink sweet peas at the end of the world.'' --USA Today
''Alice Hoffman's writing is spellbinding and not simply because of her touches of magic realism: Her unembellished prose and primary-colored descriptions recall the directness of fairy tales.'' --Wall Street Journal
''Sweet, sad, touching, and most of all, vibrantly real . . . Each tale stays true to Hoffman's form, infused with descriptions of nature, rich emotion, and life's complexity - each, like a fairy tale, mysterious, bewitching, and wonderful.'' --Elle
Lush, figurative language evokes epics, ballads, odes, and fairy tales. Human destiny is determined less by individual initiative or moral choice than by fate. To survive and thrive, one must pay heed, one must be attentive to season, history, spirit.'' --Boston Globe
''[Hoffman's] prose can cast a spell upon even the most stoic of souls, pulling them into [her] reality as easily as the tides claiming unwary swimmers . . . Storytelling doesn't get any better.'' --Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
''The stories showcase Hoffman's own magical powers of description, demonstrated here by vivid evocations of the lush natural world that springs, almost miraculously, from the sparse and sandy soil.'' --Hartford Courant
''Hoffman does everything right in these lyrical stories, rich with metaphor and meaning.'' --Orlando Sentinel
''Complex and intriguing . . . Hoffman's blend of myth and local history is beguiling and uplifting.'' --Baltimore Sun
''A New England historical patchwork, a literary museum . . . Hoffman creates many charming and intriguing people and events to carry her tale.'' --San Francisco Chronicle
''Exquisite . . . Hoffman captures perfectly the power of place, the pull that a land and a house can exert on the imagination and the heart.'' --Times-Picayune (New Orleans)
''Blackbird House is filled with symbols of the strongest human emotions - hope, devotion, anger, pain. And these are described as beautifully and simply as nature itself.'' --San Jose Mercury News
''Perhaps Hoffman writes so confidently about magical occurrences because her fecund and radiant creativity is itself a form of magic. It certainly seems as though her entrancing and mythological tales flow like water from a spring . . . As the stories leapfrog from colonial times toward the present, Hoffman, a subtle conjurer of telling details and ironic predicaments, orchestrates intense romances and profound sacrifices.'' --Booklist
About the Author
- Publisher : Blackstone Audio, Inc.; Unabridged MP3CD edition (July 1, 2014)
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 1483021106
- ISBN-13 : 978-1483021102
- Item Weight : 1.6 ounces
- Best Sellers Rank: #5,285,716 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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I've admired Hoffman's work in the NYer magazine and elsewhere but Blackbird House is among the sloppiest writing I've experienced in a very long time. I'm not sure what Hoffman sought to do in gathering these stories - I like the convention of using a house and its occupants over generations as an organizing theme. Beyond that, there's very little here to like. Hoffman needed a really careful editor and fact-checker. This is not 'magical realism' it's just plain sloppy.
I read about 85% of the book, hoping the writing would improve, but got so frustrated in its weaknesses that I set it aside and took it with me to leave on the takeaway pile at my local grocery store.
However, I sometimes think her writing is over my head. Possibly I read her too fast, and miss out on grasping the deeper meanings. Possibly I just get lost in the story and the pleasure.
This story was hard for me to follow. There were so many characters, and the story thread moved through time in a way that was hard to track.
And still I loved it. I ended the book knowing that I had missed a lot, and not really caring. The beauty and the magic was more than enough.
Maybe I'll reread it. Maybe I'll devote more time to analysis. Maybe I'll discuss it with a book club. Maybe I'll research what others have to say.
Maybe I'll just continue being grateful for the magic. Always.
I could have done without the first narrator. Oh, goodness what a bombastic voice! The rest of the narrators were great. In fact, it was fun that each chapter, which was each new inhabitant of the property got a new voice many of them were fantastic!
When I finally got my Kindle to download, I did much better as I could read along with the Audible. In fact, it Whispersynched perfectly.
Alice Hoffman has become one of my favorite authors. Remember she is the one who wrote Practical Magic. So I had to grab this when it was on special. This one read similarly to the Red Garden. She refers to witches and red shoes and other symbolism that would be fun to discuss in a book group.
I may have to read this again someday as I know there was a lot more there than I absorbed. One of my issues with the book was I wanted more of each resident. I always felt each story too short. Maybe I wanted a series?
Hoffman is at her best when describing the natural beauty of the New England coast and the way the land and its rich history have shaped the people there into quirky, scrappy personalities. If you liked Illumination Night or The Probable Future, you will no doubt enjoy this book too. I grew up in Massachusetts, and it made me homesick for the cranberry bogs, the Cape mudflats, and the wild flowers still found in abundance there, as well as for a life that still revolves a little more around nature than most of the civilized world.
And of course Hoffman's story-telling craft is superb. Like box of gourmet chocolates, this book was polished off in a few days, even though I wanted to savor it longer. Alice Hoffman is always on my shortlist when I need to find a book I *know* I will like.