A Red Heart of Memories

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From Bram Stoker Award winner and Nebula and World Fantasy Awards finalist Nina Kiriki Hoffman comes a novel of two young people who live outside ordinary reality-and who are about to discover life's extraordinary possibilities...

"A constant pleasure to read. Hoffman's ...
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From Bram Stoker Award winner and Nebula and World Fantasy Awards finalist Nina Kiriki Hoffman comes a novel of two young people who live outside ordinary reality-and who are about to discover life's extraordinary possibilities...

"A constant pleasure to read. Hoffman's best and most complete novel to date."-Locus

"Hoffman reworks a familiar outline with fresh remarkable ideas and considerable flair."-Kirkus Reviews

"An engaging tale, told with great skill, full of fascinating characters."-The Davis Enterprise
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Editorial Reviews

Kelly Rae Cooper
Ms. Hoffman crafts a sweet tale, and her characters are deliciously accepting of the wonders they unfold. Part romance, part magic, part ghost story and wholly exceptional—one to add to your permanent collection.
Romantic Times
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
It's a pleasure to see a new adult novel from Hoffman, even a lesser work like this one. Her debut novel, The Thread that Binds, won a Stoker for best first novel, but of late she has been writing for R.L. Stine's Ghosts of Fear Street series. This is an innocuous tale of three nomads who become friends and confront the problems in their past. Matt Black is not a witch, but she does have two special powers: "dream-eyes," which allow her to see others' mental landscapes, and the ability to communicate with inanimate objects. After years of wandering alone, Matt is surprised to meet another "special" person: Edmund, a witch who has been "blowing from here to there," using "spirit" to "help things fix themselves." The two quickly become companions and decide to retrace Edmund's life to find out why he is so alone. They visit his childhood friends, including Susan, who becomes part of the group. It turns out that the three all suffer from the effects of traumatic experiences: incest led to self-abusive "zoned" years for Matt; Susan has avoided friendship ever since she fled her controlling father; Edmund's self literally fragmented after he destroyed a man while protecting himself. Hoffman handles the interconnected solutions to the trio's problems with skill, as each solution leads subtly to greater understanding and compassion. At times, however, the characters' long talks skirt perilously close to pop psychology masquerading as wisdom: "He did the only thing he could, because that's what happened. The only place we can change anything is right now." Hoffman's "comfort magic" is even less successful--Edmund's vague "spirit" and "gold" powers are ill defined, little more than ornaments in a quiet tale of three injured souls helping each other toward happiness. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Matilda (Matt) Black has extrasensory abilities in this modern fantasy. She can communicate with inanimate objects and witness the dreams of others. She has been traveling alone, but finds a kindred spirit in Edmund Reynolds, a witch who is also traveling alone. Edmund is on a quest to help those in need. He takes Matt back to his hometown to introduce her to Nathan, a ghost-friend. Matt finds Nathan unsettling and they soon move on, to Edmund's sister's house in California. Abby resents Matt because Matt can see magic in Abby's house, and it frightens her. The magic takes the shape of Gold, a shapeshifter that travels with Matt and Edmund. This book is well written and moody. Fans of Francesca Lia Block would enjoy its New-Age type of fantasy. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 1999, Berkley/Ace, 329p, 19cm, $12.95. Ages 16 to adult. Reviewer: Gail E. Roberts; Coordinator, Youth Svcs., New Bedford P.L., New Bedford, MA, March 2001 (Vol. 35 No. 2)
This strange book is about a homeless girl who has the power to communicate with the inanimate objects around her. Boyish Matt (Matilda) encounters a male witch, dormant in a nearby wall. Edmund, also a disaffected teen, senses that they were meant to meet and go on a quest. Slowly both discover each other's unusual talents and become friends. The journey involves returning to a haunted house where Edmund once met a teenage ghost. Something horrible happened to Edmund when he and three friends frequented the house; he is now incomplete because he has buried the memory. Nathan, the ghost, becomes fast friends with Matt as they discover that Edmund's internal strife is centered on his old girlfriend, Susan, and her abusive father. After locating the adult Susan, all join to become an unlikely supernatural strike force, a cross between The XFiles and Mission Impossible. They battle the spirit world to reclaim Edmund's missing part and rectify old situations. Matt, featured in previous Hoffman works, is an intriguing character whose femininity awakens as she and Edmund grow closer. Teen readers will enjoy the experimentations with magic, the subtle humor, and the freewheeling road trip depicted in the story. The conclusion is exciting, and there is probably more in store for these likeable characters. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P M J S A/YA (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult and Young Adult). 1999, Ace, Ages 12 to Adult, 329p, $21.95. Reviewer: Kevin Beach
Library Journal
A meeting between Matt Black, a woman with the power to communicate with objects, and Edmund, a young man gifted with spirit magic, evolves into a journey into Edmund's past to heal his broken selves. The latest novel by the author of The Thread That Binds the Bones depicts a pair of charmed (and charming) individuals whose unique talents lie not only in their magical skills but in their compassion and resourcefulness. Fans of Charles de Lint's modern-world fantasies should appreciate Hoffman's graceful storytelling and down-to-earth magic. For most fantasy collections. Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Michael M. Levy
Nina Kiriki Hoffman is one of the most original and important writers of fantasy working in America today. A Red Heart of Memories is a superb novel and deserves to be widely read.
The New York Review of Science Fiction
Kirkus Reviews
Abused teenaged runaway Matilda "Matt" Black survived precariously on the streets until she came to terms with the magical abilities that allow her to talk to inanimate objects shaped by humans—and to open "dream eyes" to read people's hopes and desires. On a cold winter's day she meets Edmund, a witch who's spent several months merged with a crumbling wall, and goes with him to visit his childhood friend Nathan, the ghost of a 14-year-old who committed suicide. During the visit, Edmund hazily recalls a past trauma—of which Matt's dream eyes see only blazing fire—connected with another friend, Susan, who also used to visit Nathan. Since then, Edmund has grown no older. The experience, however, involved Susan's father, a violent control freak who murdered Susan's mother. So they resolve to go find Susan. At a stopover to visit Edmund's sister Abby, Matt finds the house clogged with an unruly magic gold substance that Abby summons but doesn't know how to shape. Matt talks to Gold and tells it not to hurt people, while Abby learns how to mold it into anything she desires. Matt acquires bracelets of gold magic. Moving on, Edmund and Matt find that Susan's now a high-flying executive and has blotted out the past. Can she be persuaded to help Edmund remember the events concealed by the flames? A shame that Hoffman's first hardcover, with its slasher/ripper connotations, gives entirely the wrong impression: she reworks a rather familiar outline with fresh, remarkable ideas and considerable flair.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780441007684
  • Publisher: Ace Trade
  • Publication date: 12/1/2000
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 1,275,844
  • Age range: 18 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.14 (w) x 7.02 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2005

    Loved it

    It was great. Wonderful characterization, excellent uses of magic, and a sense of familiarity.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 1999

    Where are we, and where do we go from here?

    All of Ms. Hoffman's works appear to me as dealing with transformation of one type or another. This is why the use of magic is so prevalent in her works, for is not magic about the transformation from one form to another? I was somewhat disturbed when I read other reviews that called this a 'minor work,' for all books are a window into the author's mind and soul in one way or another. True, this is not an 'action' story and may disappoint some readers who are waiting for 'something to happen.' Well, things do happen, but they are, for the most part, internal rather than external. This is not a story about grand magic like 'Thread' or the wonder of youthful self-discovery and coming into power like 'Silent Strength.' Rather it is about adults seeking to recover themselves (in the Jungian sense of pulling out and examining all the things in our lives we've tried to stuff away into the long bag we carry with us) and the trust that is necessary for this to happen. As such, it will probably appeal more to those who are of a reflective bent rather than one who is looking for a battle between good and evil in the tradiditonal magical S&S idiom. All of Ms. Hoffman's fans will enjoy it to some extent, for there are some very interesting and 'non-traditional' uses of magic. I hope you enjoy it. I certainly did.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2009

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