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The Red Garden by Alice Hoffman.. In these linked tales, the author-gothess traces denizens of a fictitious New England town through several generations. A drowned girl keeps spookily resurfacing, but it is the prosaic that rivets in Hoffman’s capable hands.

Joel Gardner, LitSnap Editor

"An absorbing portrait of a town, told through its unforgettable people….masterful.."

People Magazine

"The lush and haunted wildlands of Massachusetts provide fertile ground for Hoffman’s endlessly flowering imagination. Like The Probable Future (2003) and Blackbird House (2004), The Red Garden, a sequence of beguiling, linked stories, is rooted in colonial times and reaches into the present. The first foolhardy white folks—the Motts, Partridges, Starrs, and Bradys—to settle in this land of blackflies, bears, eels, and harsh winters in 1750 only survive because Hallie Brady, the first of a line of determined and adept women in what becomes the small town of Blackwell in Berkshire County, goes out into the snowy wilderness to find sustenance. As spring allows the founding families to cultivate the strange red soil in the village’s first garden, Johnny Appleseed stays for a spell, and, later, Emily Dickinson happens by. Generation by generation, humans and animals form profound bonds; women’s lives change, somewhat; men go to war; people are poor and in despair; illness and violence rage; strangers find refuge; and love blossoms impossibly, extravagantly, inevitably. 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.."


Author bio: Alice 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.  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. Since that remarkable beginning, Alice Hoffman has become one of our most distinguished novelists. She has published a total of eighteen novels, two books of short fiction, and eight books for children and young adults. Her novel, Here on Earth, an Oprah Book Club choice, was a modern reworking of some of the themes of Emily Bronte’s masterpiece Wuthering Heights. Hoffman’s work has been published in more than twenty translations and more than one hundred foreign editions. Her novels have received mention as notable books of the year by The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, The Los Angeles Times, Library Journal, and People Magazine. She has also worked as a screenwriter and is the author of the original screenplay “Independence Day,” a film starring Kathleen Quinlan and Diane Wiest. Her short fiction and non-fiction have appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe Magazine, Kenyon Review, Redbook, Architectural Digest, Gourmet, Self, and other magazines. Her teen novel Aquamarine was recently made into a film starring Emma Roberts. Hoffman is currently a visiting research associate at the Women's Studies Research Center at Brandeis University. More information can be found here:

Book Details: Thriller; 270 pp. Refreshing disturbances: Kindle/Audiobook/Print editions

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