3.07.2011

Book Review: The Red Garden

The Red Garden by Alice Hoffman

This is such a quiet, yet utterly powerful novel.

First, a disclaimer: I love Alice Hoffman's stories. Her prose, her characters, and her gentle use of magic and mysticism to tie things together, and this novel is no exception. I still rank Hoffman's The Probable Future as one of my favorite.reads.ever. But, on to the title at hand...

The Red Garden details 200 years in the history of Blackwell, Massachusetts, beginning with its earliest settlers and ending in the 1990s. Each chapter is a complete story - it has its own title, its own flow and plot, and a beginning, middle, and end.

But the clever detail is that each story is somehow - through someone - connected to the next. Sometimes its tenuous at best, and sometimes its obvious as hell. And yet, it's always clever and quiet and beautiful...

This is an easy, easy read, but I found myself struggling a bit - I was always picking it up and putting it down, and therefore sometimes losing the thread of connection from one story to the next, and had to flip to and fro a few times to reorient myself. Given my druthers, I'd probably read this one in one sitting...

Highly recommended - you'll love it!

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