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Practical Magic
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About the Author

Alice Hoffman is the author of more than thirty works of fiction, including The World That We Knew, The Rules of Magic, Practical Magic, The Marriage of Opposites, The Red Garden, the Oprah's Book Club selection Here on Earth, The Museum of Extraordinary Things, and The Dovekeepers. She lives near Boston.

Reviews

YA‘Practical Magic is vintage Hoffman. It is the story of how three generations of New England women deal with the irresistible force of love. Sisters Sally and Gillian are as different as night and day; Antonia and Kylie are Sally's teenage daughters. All are caught in passion's snare in spite of their vigilance against it or disbelief in its power. Hovering in the background are the girls' great-aunties, Frances and Jet, who are really barely disguised witches. Using their heritage of practical magic‘that is, magic that will get you out of trouble‘each of the younger women deals with whatever love delivers, good and bad. YAs will be charmed by Hoffman's warm, mesmerizing narrative. The book is reminiscent in places of Gwendolyn Brooks's tiny jewel of a poem, ``Sadie and Maud,'' and even more of Sue Miller's poignant novel, For Love (HarperCollins, 1993). But even as Hoffman agrees with Brooks and Miller that ``grief is everywhere,'' she administers that sweet antidote, a happy ending. Her women are possessed by love, and transformed.‘Marya Fitzgerald, R.E. Lee High School, Springfield, VA

Her 11th novel is Hoffman's best since Illumination Night. Again a scrim of magic lies gently over her fictional world, in which lilacs bloom riotously in July, a lovesick boy's elbows sizzle on a diner countertop and a toad expectorates a silver ring. The real and the magical worlds are almost seamlessly mixed here, the humor is sharper than in previous books, the characters' eccentricities grow credibly out of their past experiences and the poignant lessons they learn reverberate against the reader's heartstrings, stroked by Hoffman's lyrical prose. The Owens women have been witches for several generations. Orphaned Sally and Gillian Owens, raised by their spinster aunts in a spooky old house, grow up observing desperate women buying love potions in the kitchen and vow never to commit their hearts to passion. Fate, of course, intervenes. Steady, conscientious Sally marries, has two daughters and is widowed early. Impulsive, seductive Gillian goes through three divorces before she arrives at Sally's house with a dead body in her car. Meanwhile, Sally's daughters, replicas of their mother and their aunt, experience their own sexual awakenings. The inevitability of love and the torment and bliss of men and women gripped by desire is Hoffman's theme here, and she plays those variations with a new emphasis on sex scenes‘there's plenty of steamy detail and a pervasive use of the f-word. The dialogue is always on target, particularly the squabbling between siblings, and, as usual, weather plays a portentous role. Readers will relish this magical tale. BOMC main selection. (June)

Praise for Practical Magic

"A beautiful, moving book about the power of love and the desires of the heart."--Denver Post "Charmingly told, and a good deal of fun."--The New York Times Book Review

"One of her most lyrical works...Hoffman is at her best."--San Francisco Chronicle Book Review "Written with a light hand and rhythm...Practical Magic has the pace of a fairy tale but with the impact of accomplished fiction."--People "A sweet, sweet story that like the best fairy tales says more than at first it seems to."--New York Daily News "[Hoffman] has proved once again her potency as a storyteller, combining the mundane with the fantastic in a totally engaging way."--The Orlando Sentinel
"Hoffman's writing has plenty of power. Her best sentences are like incantations--they won't let you get away."--Kirkus Reviews


"Witches and ghosts, spells and sleight-of-hand weave a fanciful atmospehere in Alice Hoffman's tender comedy about clairvoyance, spells, and family ties."--The Miami Herald

"A cosmic romance leavened with just the right touch of pragmatism and humor."--Booklist

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