Hooray, hooray it’s finally time for a book from my favourite author! Alice Hoffman never fails me.
This week’s choice was sent to me from my favourite Canadian because she’s a gem and she knows how much I adore everything Hoffman writes. So, this book is extra special – sent by my story sister (geddit).
The story follows a family of women (as is typical of Hoffman’s writing) with a strong focus on Elv (Elisabeth) who is on a dangerous, self-destructive path due to childhood trauma. Elv’s story is a wonderful metaphor for mental illness and the damage which sexual abuse can cause even in later life. Elv feels she cannot trust anyone, not even her beloved younger sisters after she is tricked into attending an institution for troubled youths. I think part of the tension between the sisters comes from this secret: Elv saved Claire from being abused, Elv was abused herself instead. Claire waits for Elv and they go home together, never telling anyone about the man who abused Elv. The don’t tell Meg, causing a rift to build between the sisters. Also, though Elv is happy she has saved Claire, she must feel some resentment towards her youngest sister, it would be impossible to experience something like that and not resent the simpler lives of those closest to you.
The story unfolds with a number of tragedies, which again is a benchmark of Hoffman’s writing – don’t expect to finish this novel with dry eyes.
As usual, Hoffman weaves magical realism and intricate imagery into her story making for an absolutely gorgeous read. I did try to narrow it down, I really did… Here are some of my favourite quotes:
I highly, highly recommend this book to anyone who loves stories about sadness, sisters, snow, home-grown tomatoes, Paris, adopted horses/cats/dogs and mysterious lands deep below ground. I’m not sure if this has bumped Practical Magic out of the top spot, probably not, but if I’m even questioning this then you can trust me when I say I love this book. I hope you will too!