Practical Magic

Practical Magic

4.2 179
by Alice Hoffman
     
 

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From the New York Times best-selling author of The Dovekeepers...

For more than two hundred years, the Owens women had been blamed for everything that went wrong in their Massachusetts town. And Gillian and Sally endured that fate as well; as children, the sisters were outsiders. Their elderly aunts almost seemed to encourage the whispers ofSee more details below

Overview

From the New York Times best-selling author of The Dovekeepers...

For more than two hundred years, the Owens women had been blamed for everything that went wrong in their Massachusetts town. And Gillian and Sally endured that fate as well; as children, the sisters were outsiders. Their elderly aunts almost seemed to encourage the whispers of witchery, but all Gillian and Sally wanted was to escape. One would do so by marrying, the other by running away. But the bonds they shared brought them back-almost as if by magic...

Editorial Reviews

Mark Childress
Ms. Hoffman's trademark narrative voice is upbeat, breathless and rather bouncy. She creates vivid characters, she keeps things moving along, and she's not above using sleight of hand and prestidigitation to achieve her considerable effects. She plays tricks with the reader's expectations by suddenly shifting tenses or passing the point of view around the room like a football. At one brief but memorable juncture, we see things through the eyes of a magician's rabbit. -- New York Times
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
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.
School Library Journal
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
Donna Seaman
agic, fantasy, and full-tilt love-at-first-sight have figured in all of Hoffman's sexy, funny, and endearing novels, but they blossom as they never have before in her latest effort, a tale about four generations of Massachusetts sisters. The unusual Owens women are beautiful, with unforgettable pond-gray eyes; a blood-deep knowledge of the supernatural power of plants, animals, and storms; and pronounced sensitivity to love and evil. Sally, dark and practical, and Gillian, blond and wild, go to live with their peculiar and reclusive aunts after the death of their parents. Taunted and feared by the town's children, they long for an ordinary life far from their quirky aunts and their mysterious garden and the desperate, lovesick women who appear at their door after dark. Gillian heads for the desert and the company of dangerous men, while Sally finds love and bliss only to have her heart shattered. She flees from the scene of her tragedy with her two young daughters, works hard to achieve normalcy, and almost succeeds, but Gillian appears with a dead man in her car and the entire world reels. In Hoffman's universe, all boundaries between inner and outer realms are erased. Fear brings whipping winds, a malevolent spirit causes lilac bushes to achieve monstrous proportions, and love turns the air sweet and golden, melts butter, and makes everyone giddy. Hoffman has created a cosmic romance leavened with just the right touch of pragmatism and humor.
From the Publisher
"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." -New York Times Book Review

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781440673757
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
08/05/2003
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
27,551
File size:
0 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"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." -New York Times Book Review

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