From the Publisher
“Daringly mixing comedy with tragedy…[Hoffman] has created a narrative that somehow makes myth out of the sticky complexities of contemporary marriage…Her characters are branded onto one’s memory.”The New York Times Book Review
“Vivid, convincing characters…uncommon insight.”People
“[A] bright constellation of characters…draws the reader into the dusky, dreamy world of Alice Hoffman.”St. Petersburg Times
“Alice Hoffman takes seemingly ordinary lives and lets us see and feel extraordinary things.”Amy Tan
“Not-so-delicate questions are raised in a wonderfully delicate way in Alice Hoffman’s latest novel… Explorations of the tangled strands of parenthood and friendship, self-protection and generosity, dream and disillusionment are made achingly vivid by Hoffman’s ability to ground them in the finely etched details of her characters’ daily lives.”Newsday
“There is a cumulative power to Illumination Night that is wondrous…It’s enough to make one search out other books by Alice Hoffman.”The Chicago Tribune
“Reading an authentic prose stylist of high order is an uncommon privilege.”The Boston Globe
“Alice Hoffman hits bull’s eyes on the incomprehensions between the young and the old, on the magic and pain of ordinary life. She is erotic and romantic…funny…clever and humane.”The Times (London)
Subtle touches here and there make this intelligent novel shine. Ms. Hoffman knows how to tell a story in clear language and how to avoid subordinating the meanderings of temperament to logic or plot.
New York Times
Cleveland Plain Dealer
One of the best writers we have today-insightful, funny, intelligent, with a distinctive voice.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
With an eye for household details and respect for daily events, Hoffman (Fortune's Daughter unleashes the mythic forcefulness of ordinary life in this polished story of love and loneliness set on the island of Martha's Vineyard. Simon is in his fourth year and small even for his age when he sees white-robed Elizabeth Renny, a neighbor in her 75th, tumble out her attic window ``like a cloud.'' In her convalescence, Elizabeth is cared for by her rebellious teen-aged granddaughter Jody, sent from off-island. Jody sets her sights on Simon's father, Andre, who restores antique motorcycles, raising doubts and fears in Vonny, Simon's mother, Andre's wife. Elizabeth recovers; Jody pines and plots for the taciturn Andre; Simon doesn't grow; and Vonny's anxieties bloom into full-fledged agoraphobia. Seasons advance. Jody learns the limits of her desires and meets a freakishly tall eggman; a child dies, another grows; Elizabeth decides she'd rather live than die; and Vonny faces her fears. Illumination Night, an annual celebration on Martha's Vineyard when Victorian houses surrounding a park and bandstand are lit with hundreds of magical Japanese lanterns, provides apt title and image for this shimmering, radiant tale. (August 14)