Alice Hoffman has been called “America’s literary heir to the Brothers Grimm,” and her luminous and remarkable “fables of the everyday” have enchanted readers since the publication of her first novel, Property Of, in 1977. More than 30 years later, with numerous acclaimed and bestselling novels, as well as two short story collections and many books for young adults, Hoffman continues to seduce readers into her vividly imagined world.
Writing in The Washington Post Book World, Jack Sullivan says that Hoffman “has a penchant for a near-gothic strangeness and enchantment on the edges of everyday experience.” Her storytelling has the air of a fairy tale and calls to mind the writings of such magical realists as Gabriel García Márquez, Isabel Allende, and Washington Irving.
“Magic in fiction is a long tradition. One of the reasons we like fables and fairy tales is that they’re emotionally true, and page-turners at the same time.”
Often drawn to the story of the outcast and the lonely oddball, Hoffman explains, “My theory is that everyone, at one time or another, has been at the fringe of society in some way: an outcast in high school, a stranger in a foreign country, the best at something, the worst at something, the one who’s different. Looking at it this way, being an outsider is the one thing we all have in common.”
Hoffman is a master at forging miracles from the quotidian and the ordinary. While she explores life’s common struggles—people living in small towns in Massachusetts or Long Island puzzling through essential questions about relationships and intimacy, family and identity, love and survival—she sets her tales in a world that is at once wholly recognizable and at times fantastic. Her protagonists inhabit a universe in which everyday objects—necklaces, river pebbles, birds, old overcoats, roses—become talismans that haunt and guide them as they navigate their way to a deeper understanding of themselves.
“[Hoffman] leaves the reader with an almost bewildered sense that this primal mythological level does exist in everyday reality, and that there is no event, from the standard miracle of childbirth to the most bizarre magic imaginable, that cannot occur in a setting of familiar, everyday details.”
—The New York Times Book Review
Her ambitious and mesmerizing novel The Dovekeepers was a New York Times bestseller, a tour de force of imagination and research set in ancient Israel. It was heralded by Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison as “beautiful, harrowing, a major contribution to twenty-first-century literature.” In early 2015, CBS aired a four-hour mini-series adaptation of The Dovekeepers, produced by Roma Downey and Mark Burnett. Her follow-up The Marriage of Opposites tells the story of a forbidden love affair—one that results in the birth of Camille Pissarro, who will grow up to become the Father of Impressionism.
Hoffman novel Faithful was selected as the Indie Next Pick and the Library Reads Pick for November 2016, and quickly became a bookstore favorite. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram declared it a “novel for anyone who has faith” and The Seattle Times called it “a luminous book that sucks you in.”
Some of Hoffman’s other beloved titles include Here On Earth—a modern reworking of Emily Brontë’s masterpiece Wuthering Heights, which was an Oprah Book Club selection in 1998—and Practical Magic, which was made into a feature film starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman. A highly anticipated prequel, The Rules Of Magic, will be published in October 2017.
Other popular titles include Blackbird House, Blue Diary, The Probable Future, The River King, Turtle Moon, At Risk, The Third Angel, and The Museum of Extraordinary Things. Hoffman’s fertile imagination extends well beyond the confines of adult literature, and she has enthralled children and teens with her many young adult books, which include The Green Witch, Incantation, and Nightbird, among many others.
Over the course of her long career, Hoffman’s novels have been recognized as notable books of the year by The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, the Los Angeles Times, Library Journal, and People. Her books have been translated into more than 20 different languages, and her short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe Magazine, Kenyon Review, Boulevard, Redbook, Architectural Digest, Gourmet, Premier, Self, Southwestern Review, and many other magazines. In her lectures, Hoffman discusses the art of storytelling, her influences, and the experience of being a writer.
Alice Hoffman was born in New York City and grew up on Long Island. She attended Adelphi University and went on to get a master’s degree in Creative Writing at Stanford University, where she was also the recipient of a Mirrellees Fellowship.
For more information on Alice Hoffman, please visit http://www.alicehoffman.com/.