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- Publisher: VINTAGE
- Format: Paperback | 240 pages
- Dimensions: 130mm x 198mm x 15mm | 172g
- Publication date: 7 July 2005
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 0099453878
- ISBN 13: 9780099453871
- Sales rank: 250,668
From the great May storm in 1778 when John Hadley and his sons slip the British blockade off the coast of Massachusetts only to disappear at sea, the lives of the inhabitants of the wooden farmhouse on the cape, stranded amid fields of sweet peas and wild fruit vines and red pear trees, coil and weave around each other, right up to the present. Young Isaac Hadley is more interested in his pet blackbird and the star charts in The Practical Navigator than in helping to build the house; and Violet, a century later, with her stained face and her own ghostly bird, reads the same book, and finds that it's easy enough to trick a learned man, though harder to catch one...Larkin Howard is ready to sell his soul to buy the farm, but meets a woman who hears the whales cry on the beach; while in another century the young Farrell boy sees more than he should on a snowy night- and the pond out back is still dark and unforgiving beneath its deceptively golden lilies. By the 1950s, the farmhouse is part of a community of steady men and wayward boys, and women who make jam but still feel the ghostly breath of Cora Hadley, with her green fingers. As a second century draws to a close and summer visitors from the cities take over the countryside, the house can barely hold all its ghosts, but the tragedies are not over...With a sense of place that is uncanny, and vividly real characters whose lives don't run smooth and whose stories loop together across space and time, this is a remarkable, haunting and accomplished work from a favourite novelist - an irresistible fiction about a house for all seasons.
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Alice Hoffman is the bestselling author of many successful novels and screenplays, including Here on Earth (Oprah Book Club Choice in 1998), Illumination Nights, Turtle Moon, Practical Magic (made into a recent major film), Local Girls, The River King, Blue Diary and The Probable Future which is published simultaneously in Vintage. She lives in Massachusetts.
.,."[I]t certainly seems as though [Hoffman's] entrancing and mythological tales flow like water from a spring, and her new book is no exception....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. Those who live in Blackbird House, by turns brilliant, crazy, and courageous, follow their dreams, endure nightmares, and find that their numinous home is as much a part of their being as their parents' DNA"--"Booklist "(American Library Association) "From the Hardcover edition."
With "incantatory prose" that "sweeps over the reader like a dream," ("Philadelphia Inquirer), Hoffman follows her celebrated bestseller "The Probable Future, with an evocative work that 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 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 "Time has said tells "truths powerful enough to break a reader's heart" comes a glorious travelogue through time and fate, through loss and loveand survival. Welcome to Blackbird House.