Alice Hoffman

Alice Hoffman is receiving warm reviews for her The Museum of Extraordinary Things.

Reviewing the novel in the Boston Globe, Jan Stewart observes: “Alice Hoffman specializes in fairy tales for impressionable grown-ups and cautionary tales for precocious adolescents. Not infrequently, the two overlap.”

That’s the case in this tale which, Wendy Smith writes in Newsday, “folds a romance and a tightly plotted mystery within a brilliant portrait of the splendors and miseries of New York during a pivotal year in the city's history.”

Coralie Sardie is the daughter of the sinister impresario behind The Museum of Extraordinary Things, a Coney Island freak show whose acts include the Wolfman, the Butterfly Girl, a one-hundred-year-old turtle and a mermaid played by Coralie. One night she stumbles upon a striking young man taking pictures of moonlit trees in the woods off the Hudson River.

The dashing photographer is Eddie Cohen, a Russian immigrant who has run away from his father’s Lower East Side Orthodox community and his job as a tailor’s apprentice. When Eddie photographs the devastation on the streets of New York following the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, he becomes embroiled in the suspicious mystery behind a young woman’s disappearance and ignites the heart of Coralie.

With its colorful crowds of bootleggers, heiresses, thugs, and idealists, New York itself becomes a riveting character as Hoffman weaves her trademark magic, romance, and masterful storytelling to unite Coralie and Eddie in a sizzling, tender, and moving story of young love in tumultuous times. 

 

Alice Hoffman’s Top Ten List

1. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (1847).
2. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (1860–61).
3. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger (1951).
4. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1813).
5. Beloved by Toni Morrison (1987).
6. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (1929).
7. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez (1967).
8. The stories of Grace Paley (1922– ).
9. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (1953).
10. Grimm’s Fairy Tales (1812–14).

New List

Francine Prose

1. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (1877).
2. The Charterhouse of Parma by Stendhal (1839). (See below.)
3. In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust (1913–27).
4. The stories of Anton Chekhov (1860–1904).
5. The stories of John Cheever (1912–82).
6. The stories of Mavis Gallant (1922– ).
7. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville (1851).
8. Middlemarch by George Eliot (1871–72).
9. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez (1967).

 

Classic List

Amy Bloom

 

1. The Deptford trilogy by Robertson Davies (1983).
2.Persuasion by Jane Austen (1817).
3. His Dark Materialsby Philip Pullman (1995–2000).
4.The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields (1995).
5.The Known World by Edward P. Jones (2003).
6. The Beggar Maid by Alice Munro (1978).
7. The Plot Against Americaby Philip Roth.
8. The Hours by Michael Cunningham (1998).
9. Fancies and Goodnights by John Collier (1951).
10. Larry’s Party by Carol Shields (1997).

 

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