Skylight Confessions

Skylight Confessions

by Alice Hoffman


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316017879
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 02/11/2008
Edition description: REV
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 679,742
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

Alice Hoffman is the bestselling author of seventeen acclaimed novels, including The Ice Queen, Practical Magic, Here on Earth, The River King, Blue Diary, Illumination Night, Turtle Moon, Seventh Heaven, and At Risk, as well as the highly praised story collections Local Girls and Blackbird House.


Boston, Massachusetts

Date of Birth:

March 16, 1952

Place of Birth:

New York, New York


B.A., Adelphi University, 1973; M.A., Stanford University, 1974

Read an Excerpt

Skylight Confessions

A Novel
By Alice Hoffman


Copyright © 2007 Alice Hoffman
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-316-05878-5

Chapter One

Ghost Wife

SHE WAS HIS FIRST WIFE, BUT AT THE MOMENT when he first saw her she was a seventeen-year-old girl named Arlyn Singer who stood out on the front porch on an evening that seemed suspended in time. Arlyn's father had just died and the funeral dinner had ended only hours earlier. It was a somber gathering: a dozen neighbors seated around the heavy mahogany dining-room table no one had used for over a decade. Now there were pans of macaroni and cheese and a red velvet cake and a huge platter of fruit, food enough to last a month if Arlie had had an appetite.

Arlyn's father had been a ferryboat captain, the center of her world, especially in his last years; the captain had burned brighter in the grasp of his illness, a shining star in the dark. A usually silent man, he began to tell stories. There were tales of rocks that appeared in the dark, of mysterious reefs whose only purpose seemed to be to sink ferries, of the drowned men he'd known who had never come back. With a red crayon, he drew charts of stars that could lead a lost man home. He told of a tribe who lived on the other side of the water, in far-off Connecticut, who could sprout wings in the face of disaster. They looked like normal people until the ship went down, or the fire raged, and then they suddenly revealed themselves. Only then did they manage their escape.

On his night table there was a collection of stones the captain said he had swallowed when he was a young man; he'd gone down with a ship and had been the lone survivor. One minute he'd been standing on deck, and the next, he'd been above it all, in the sky. He'd fallen hard and fast into the surf of Connecticut, with a mouth and a belly full of stones.

When the doctor came to tell the captain there was no hope, they had a drink together and instead of ice the captain put a stone in the cups of whiskey.

It will bring you good luck, he'd told the doctor. All I want is for my daughter to be happy. That's all the luck I need.

Arlyn had sobbed at his bedside and begged her father not to leave her, but that was not an option or a choice. The last advice the captain had given her, while his voice still held out, was that the future was an unknown and unexpected country, and that Arlyn should be prepared for almost anything. She had been grief stricken as her father lay dying but now she felt weightless, the way people do when they're no longer sure they have a reason to be connected to this world. The slightest breeze could have carried her away, into the night sky, across the universe.

Arlyn held on to the porch banister and leaned out over the azaleas. Red and pink flowers, filled with buds. Arlyn was an optimist, despite her current situation. She was young enough not to see a glass as half empty or half full, but as a beautiful object into which anything might be poured. She whispered a bargain, as though her whispering could make it true.

The first man who walks down the street will be my one love and I will be true to him as long as he's true to me.

She turned around twice and held her breath as a way to seal the bargain. She wore her favorite shoes, ones her father had bought her in Connecticut, leather slippers so light she felt as though she were barefoot. Her red hair reached her waist. She had seventy-four freckles on her face - she had counted - and a long, straight nose her father had assured her was elegant rather than large. She watched the sky darken. There was a line of ashes up above, a sprinkling of chimney soot. Perhaps her father was up there, watching over her. Perhaps he was knocking on his casket, begging to be let out. Or maybe he was here with her still, in her heart, making it difficult for her to breathe whenever she thought about her life without him. Arlie felt her aloneness inside her, but she was hopeful, too. The past was done with. Now she was made out of glass, transparent and clear. She was an instant in time. One damp evening, two stars in the sky, a line of soot, a chattering gathering of neighbors who barely knew her in the dining room. She had convinced herself that her future would arrive on the street where she'd lived her whole life if only she'd wait long enough. If she trusted in fate.

In the living room, people spoke about Arlyn as though she had died right along with her father. She wasn't a pretty girl, after all, just plain and freckly. She had a high-school diploma and, as far as anyone could tell, no particular skills. One summer she'd worked in an ice-cream shop, and in high school she'd had a dog-washing service, shampooing basset hounds and poodles in the kitchen sink. An ordinary girl all alone in a house where the roof might blow off in the next big storm. People felt pity, but as everyone knew, that wasn't an emotion that lasted long.

A low horn sounded as the ferry came across the water from Bridgeport; the fact that there would be fog tonight was discussed as the women cleaned up, wiping off the table, putting away the pound cakes and the casseroles before going out to the porch to say good night to Arlyn. It was a heavy, salt-laced fog that had settled, the kind that circled lampposts and street signs and made folks lose their way. A damp, soft night. The neighbors assumed that once they'd left, Arlyn would go inside her empty house. Surely she would walk along the hall where her father's coats still hung on the rack, then take the flight of stairs the captain hadn't been able to manage for the past six months. She would edge past his silent room. No more coughing all night long. No more calls for water.

But Arlyn stayed where she was. She was so cold her skin felt like ice; still she remained on the porch. Her father had said to prepare for the future, and Arlyn was ready and willing. Her destiny was sure to come to her in her darkest hour. That was now, this damp, sad night. It took some time, but after three hours Arlie's faith was rewarded. By then the fog had turned to a light rain and the streets smelled like fish. A car stopped; there was a young man inside, lost, on his way to a party. When he got out to ask directions, Arlyn noticed he was taller than her father. She liked tall men. His hair was combed back. He had beautiful pale eyes, a cool gray color. As he approached he shouted, "Hello." His voice was not what she expected - flat and nasal. That didn't matter. Anything could happen now.

Arlyn took a step back in order to study him. Perhaps the young man thought she was afraid - a stranger stopping to talk to her in a banged-up old Saab his dad had given him. He could have been anyone, after all. A murderer, an ex-con, a man who would rip the heart from her chest.

"I'm lost," the young man explained. Usually he would have kept on driving; he had never in his life stopped to ask for directions. But he was late, and he was the sort of person who was usually on time. Veering from punctuality made him anxious; it made him do stupid things. For instance, he had circled around this particular block twice. Before leaving, he'd forgotten to check to make sure his gas tank was full and now he worried that he wouldn't be able to find a service station before he ran out.

The young man's name was John Moody and he was a senior at Yale studying architecture; he recognized Arlie's father's house as an Italianate worker's cottage, built, he would guess, in the 1860s, common in these North Shore towns on Long Island. Not kept up, of course - the roof looked like flypaper, the shingles were badly in need of paint - but charming in a run-down way just as the girl with the long red hair was charming despite her dreadful clothes and the freckles scattered across her pale skin.

Arlyn was wearing an overcoat though it was April.

"You're freezing," John Moody said.

Arlyn took this as concern rather than mere statement of fact. The truth was, she was shivering in the cold light of her future, the light that had been cast by this tall young man who had no idea where he was.

Arlyn felt faint. Fluttery, really. Her whole life had been spent in a cocoon; she had been waiting for this hanging globe of an evening. This is when everything else begins. Whatever happens next is where my life will lead me.

John Moody came up the porch steps. Rickety. In need of repair. John took a moment to catch his breath, then spoke.

"I've never met the person having the party. My roommate Nathaniel's sister. I don't even know why I'm here."

His heart was pounding uncomfortably hard. His father had had a heart attack earlier in the year. Was he having one, too? Well, he'd never liked speaking to strangers; he'd never liked speaking at all. John Moody was a champion of quiet and order. Architecture meant rules one could depend upon. He was a devotee of the clean line and of truth in form, without frills or complications. He didn't like messes of any sort.

Arlyn looked over the directions John's roommate had given him. They were all wrong. "If you want to go to Smithtown, you turn at the corner by the harbor and keep going west. Four towns over."

"That far?" John Moody had been working hard at Yale throughout the semester, trying to distinguish himself; all at once he felt exhausted. "I didn't realize I was so tired."

Arlyn understood. "Sometimes you don't know how tired you are until you close your eyes."

There was no rush, was there? Time was suspended; it wasn't moving at all. They went inside and John Moody lay down on the couch. He had long legs and large feet and he fell asleep easily. He could not remember the last time he'd had a dream. "Just for a minute," he said. "Until I get my second wind."

Arlyn sat on a hard-backed chair, still wearing her overcoat, still shivering. She watched John fall asleep. She had the feeling that whatever happened next would be the true test of whether or not they were meant to be. John's eyelids fluttered; his chest rose and fell. He was a beautiful sleeper, calm, unmoving, peaceful. It felt so right to have him there. The room was littered with chairs that had been pulled into a circle by the visiting neighbors. When Arlyn's father had been at his worst, in such pain he had to be sedated into sleep, he had moaned and thrashed in his dreams and tore at the bedsheets. Sometimes Arlyn would leave him, just for a short time, for a breath of air, a moment alone. She'd walk down to the harbor and look into the darkness. She could hear the water, but she couldn't see it; she couldn't see anything at all. All she'd wanted, then and now, was a man who could sleep. At last he was here.

Arlie left John Moody and went into the kitchen. She hadn't eaten for three days and she realized she was famished. Arlie went to the refrigerator and took out nearly everything - the tins of baked beans, the homemade strudels, the ham, the sweet-potato pie, the last piece of red velvet cake. She sat at the table and ate three days' worth of food. When she was finished she went to the sink, filled it with soapy water, and cleaned the pots and pans.

She was so full no one could accuse her of being light-headed. She was rational. No doubt about it. She knew what she was doing. She took off her coat, her black dress, her slip, her underwear, even the soft leather shoes her father had bought her. She turned out the light. Her breath moved inside her ribs like a butterfly. In and out. Waiting. If he walks through the door, my life will begin. And indeed, when John Moody came into the kitchen, time hurtled forward, no longer suspended. He was walking to her, shocked by his good fortune and by the dreaminess of the evening, the extreme weirdness of setting out from Yale as a bored college boy and ending up here, in this kitchen. Arlie looked like a ghost, someone he'd imagined, a woman made of moonlight and milk. The neighbors who thought she was too plain to notice would have been surprised to know that all John Moody could see was Arlie's beautiful nakedness and her long red hair. He would never have imagined they thought of her as ugly and useless.

As for Arlyn, if nothing ever happened to her again, this would be enough. The way he circled his arms around her, the way the dishes in the dish rack fell to the floor, the good white china in shards and neither one of them caring. She had never been kissed before; she'd been too busy with bedpans, morphine, the practical details of death.

"This is crazy," John Moody said, not that he intended to stop. Not that he could.

Would he hold this against her, years and years later, how waylaid he'd become? Would he say she tricked him with a rare beauty no one had noticed before? All Arlyn knew was that when she led him to her bedroom, he followed. It was a girl's bedroom with lace runners on the bureaus and milk-glass lamps; it didn't even seem to belong to her anymore. The way time was moving, so fast, so intense, made her shudder. She was about to make the leap from one world to the next, from the over and done to the what could be.

Arlyn went forward into time and space; she looped her arms around John Moody's neck. She felt his kiss on her throat, her shoulders, her breasts. He had been lost and she had found him. He had asked for directions and she had told him which way to go. He was whispering, Thank you, as though she had given him a great gift. Perhaps she had given him exactly that: her self, her future, her fate.

HE STAYED FOR THREE DAYS, THE ENTIRE TIME SPENT IN bed; he was crazy for her, hypnotized, not wanting food or water, only her. She tasted like pears. How odd that was, that sweet green flavor, and even odder that he should notice. John didn't usually pay attention to people, but he did now. Arlie's hands were small and beautiful and her teeth were small and perfect as well, but she had large feet, as he did. The sign of a walker, a doer, a person who completed tasks and never complained. She seemed neat and uncomplicated, everything he admired. He did not know her name until the first morning, didn't learn of her father's death until the second. And then on the third morning John Moody awoke suddenly from a dream, the first dream he could remember having in many years, perhaps since he was a child. He'd been in the house he'd grown up in, a renowned construction his architect father had built outside New Haven that people called the Glass Slipper, for it was made out of hundreds of windows woven together with thin bands of polished steel. In his dream, John Moody was carrying a basket of pears along the hallway. Outside there was an ice storm and the glass house had become opaque. It was difficult to see where he was going at first, and then impossible.

John was lost, though the floor plan was simple, one he had known his whole life. His father was a great believer in minimalism, known for it, lauded for his straight lines stacked one upon another, as though a building could be made purely from space and glass. John Moody looked down to see why the basket he carried had become so heavy. Everything was odd: the way his heart was pounding, the confusion he felt. Stranger still: the pears in the basket had become flat black stones. Before he could stop them the stones arose without being touched; they hurtled up through the air as though they'd been fired from a cannon, breaking the windows of the Glass Slipper, one after the other. Everything shattered and the sky came tumbling into the house. Cloud and bird and wind and snow.

John Moody awoke in Arlyn's arms, in a room he did not recognize. There was a white sheet over him, and his chest was constricted with fear. He had to get out. He was in the wrong place; that was all too clear to him now. Wrong time, wrong girl, wrong everything. Next to him, Arlie's red hair fell across the pillow. In this light, true morning light, it was the color of the human heart, of blood. It seemed unnatural, not a color that he, who preferred muted tones, would ever be drawn to.

Arlie raised herself onto one elbow. "What?" she said sleepily.

"Nothing. Go back to sleep."


Excerpted from Skylight Confessions by Alice Hoffman Copyright © 2007 by Alice Hoffman. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Skylight Confessions 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 68 reviews.
Detwilover_wentz More than 1 year ago
I got this book while ready to leave barnes and noble. i usually read YA books and i hadnt found anything good that day. Before leaving, my mom saw it and saw the price (bargain book...yup thats how she picks her books) feeling discuraged and wanting a book, i got it. but when i got home all i did was store it in my bookcase, it wasnt until like 7 months later that i had nothing to read and found it again. i had half the book in an hour. This is one of the most amazing, touching, scary novels i have ever read. it was so heart wrenching that i couldnt finish it. It is an amazing book. you see all the changes that happen and the you find yourself lost and feeling empty at the departure of the characters as the story goes by. this book will prove to be amazing for adults. But i felt really really depressed by the life was being shown to me, and it was really hard to see that all happening in the story could be so true in real life. it could happen to me. i couldnt finish it. i felt like crying and really sad. i know i will finish it one day. i have not read any book so...amzingly crafted. so i trully recomend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was my second Alice Hoffman novel; I bought it while out of town to keep me busy in the hotel room at night. It did the job and I was intrigued to see that it followed the same pattern as the firt I read, Third Angel. It was three stories in one whose main characters had soem connection. I enjoyed it very much. I am curious if more of her novels follow the same format. I look forward to reading more of her work.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Worth reading. I loved 'Practical Magic' so much (I still like it better) but this was totally different and seperate and I was not dissapointed. The characters still stay with me and I was emerged in the book start to finish. I was caught off by how much I really loved this. Thankyou Alice!
TheCrowdedLeaf More than 1 year ago
Every time I pick up an unread Hoffman novel I am amazed by her skill with the written word. The way she can form a sentence, twist it into something ethereal and beautiful, it always leaves me breathless. I always feel cleansed and well-read after a Hoffman novel, as though the books I finished leading up to her works were trivial and here is something of worth to spend my time on. Following four generations of the Moody family who live in the Glass Slipper in suburban Connecticut, Skylight Confessions begins with Arlyn Singer and John Moody as they meet under strange circumstances and form a bond that will affect their children and their grandchildren to come. Under the glass roof and clear walls of their house, secrets are kept and hidden. Mysterious occurrences are swept under the rug, and lives are forever changed by the decisions of others. Following the Moody children into their separate lives as they're drawn back to the Glass Slipper, Hoffman tells a truly character driven story, so intent are we upon Arlyn and John, and the residents of the glass house that we easily forget there's a world beyond them. Skylight Confessions contains the usual hint of magic that Hoffman is known for, but the writing is a little less sad than the previous works I've read by her. Or maybe I'm just accustomed to her tone now. The story of the Moody children is beautiful and touching, and in such a short book it's amazing that we come to know them as well as we do. Another remarkable Hoffman with all my favorite trademarks, empathetic with a hint of magical realism. All in all, a fabulous book and another great addition to my library. Highly recommended to those who have not read an Alice Hoffman novel yet.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The characters really capture the imagination and you can see the book open up like a movie
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was the best novel I have read of Ms. Hoffman's to date. It was a grave and ensightful view into life and beyond. Love and loss, and human beauty that never dies.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have been reading Alice Hoffman for many years and always enjoy her style of writing. I particularly enjoyed this book and really felt that she brought the characters alive. I really cared about them and didn't want the book to end. Though the book is sad, I think it gives the reader hope at the end.
harstan More than 1 year ago
With the death of her dad, seventeen years old Arlie Singer feels all alone, her mother having died years ago. She vows that the first male she meets is her true love whom she will marry. Yale student John Moody stops to ask Arlie for directions, but instead of continuing his journey she seduces him as her true love. John returns to school, but Arlie follows. They marry, she gives birth to Sam, and when his parents retire, the couple moves into the Glass Slipper, an all glass home.----------------- John ignores his troubled offspring and has even less time for his wife. Arlie knows she made a mistake when she meets George Snow, who cleans her home¿s windows. Though she has a baby by George she will not leave her son for him. Not even ten years into their dysfunctional marriage Arlie dies from breast cancer.------------------ Sam is an angry man who hates his father and his stepmother as John remarried almost to the day of Arlie's death. Sam vanishes while his younger sister Blanca feels like an outsider since Cynthia became her stepmother. When she has a chance she flees to open up a bookstore in London though her nanny Meredith, who along with John see Arlie's ghost, has another offspring to raise as Cynthia gives John a third offspring.--------------- The key cast members seem so real in their dysfunctional relationships and their overall destructive personal behavior that in turn the story line is depressing yet there is twinkling of possible redemption if one accepts responsibility for errors. The key to this somewhat morbid tale is the characters as the sins of the parents (including the stepmother) are replayed by the children. The paranormal element seems too Hamlet-like, but still fans of deep family dramas will want to follow the seemingly ill-fated obliteration of people who fear the truth when that is the only means of salvation from one¿s destructive genes.---------------- Harriet Klausner
abcarroll on LibraryThing 26 days ago
While this book was interesting to me, I can't necessarily say I enjoyed reading it. It was captivating, but dark and confusing at times.
jules72653 on LibraryThing 26 days ago
Another great story from Hoffman.
taramatchi on LibraryThing 26 days ago
Wonderfully told story of a dysfunctional family. It was a heartbreaking story that a small bit of hope remained interwoven throughout the tragedy. It starts will a wish or prediction... that the next man Arlyn was to meet she would marry. The man she met was John Moody and so began the rest of her life. This meeting would begin a chain reaction that would affect generations to come.Enchanting story that I just wanted to know the end to.
whidbeysue on LibraryThing 26 days ago
Weird but interesting. A dark and complex story.
TheCrowdedLeaf on LibraryThing 26 days ago
Every time I pick up an unread Hoffman novel I am amazed by her skill with the written word. The way she can form a sentence, twist it into something ethereal and beautiful, it always leaves me breathless. I always feel cleansed and well-read after a Hoffman novel, as though the books I finished leading up to her works were trivial and here is something of worth to spend my time on.Following four generations of the Moody family who live in the Glass Slipper in suburban Connecticut, Skylight Confessions begins with Arlyn Singer and John Moody as they meet under strange circumstances and form a bond that will affect their children and their grandchildren to come. Under the glass roof and clear walls of their house, secrets are kept and hidden. Mysterious occurrences are swept under the rug, and lives are forever changed by the decisions of others. Following the Moody children into their separate lives as they¿re drawn back to the Glass Slipper, Hoffman tells a truly character driven story, so intent are we upon Arlyn and John, and the residents of the glass house that we easily forget there¿s a world beyond them.Skylight Confessions contains the usual hint of magic that Hoffman is known for, but the writing is a little less sad than the previous works I¿ve read by her. Or maybe I¿m just accustomed to her tone now. The story of the Moody children is beautiful and touching, and in such a short book it¿s amazing that we come to know them as well as we do.Another remarkable Hoffman with all my favorite trademarks, empathetic with a hint of magical realism. All in all, a fabulous book and another great addition to my library. Highly recommended to those who have not read an Alice Hoffman novel yet.
bookczuk on LibraryThing 26 days ago
From a Friends of the Library booksale . A darker book by a favorite author of mine. Her usual mysticism is there in bits and pieces -- a race of people that can fly, but open their wings only at the last possible moment before disaster, pearls that absorb the poisons of the body and spirit, changing color and luminescence. Her lyric prose is present too, though in scattered in snippets. I found this a rather sad story, though Hoffman still captivated me with the recounting of this poor dysfunctional family. It was heartbreaking to read of Sam, the brilliant, gifted son of Arlyn and John, mismatched but brought together by destiny and a teenager's belief that she will spend her life with the next man that crosses her threshold. Given that she's a teenager, and it's the night of her father's death, it's not surprising that the outcome is not golden. Sam's despair crashes and destroys not only himself, but the lives of all those who surround him. I know there was major symbolism I wasn't catching in the story, and bits of magical realism floating past, but all I felt was the blackness of Sam Moody's isolation, the depths of his despair, depression and addictions. There are others who feel this book is the pinnacle of Hoffman's writing. Indeed, the writing itself is all it's cracked up to be. One of the things that I love about a Hoffman story is that she can bring you through an emotional wringer, but ultimately you end up with a positive outlook -- the Hope that flys last out of Pandora's Box. For the first time in my reading of a Hoffman novel, I found myself wishing for more, not because I was so in love with the characters and story, but because I was wishing for Hope. Perhaps Will, in his balance and normalcy is supposed to be that, but I turned the last page, and felt I was left hanging.
goodnightmoon on LibraryThing 26 days ago
Alice Hoffman sure has her niche - magic, New England-based, destined love - but how does she manage to make it so compelling each time? This is one of her more realistic novels (the only magic here is a half-hearted haunting), and it describes the family in such clarity that I can't forget about them. John Moody's change is unexpected, Sam is tragic and vividly real, Cynthia has a fascinating motivation. Hoffman again manages to make one feel saddened at this particular fate while also feeling satisfied that fate will have its way. Lovely.
drsyko on LibraryThing 26 days ago
On the night her father dies, Arlyn Singer does something drastic out of desperation to just leave the fate she believes will be hers if something doesn't change. She decides that the next man she meets will be her one true love and the person to whom she will tie her life and her destiny. That man turns out to be John Moody, and little does Arlyn know at the time that she has made a deal with the devil and very little will turn out well for her or the family she will eventually leave behind. Moody is a good family name for these people, because that is essentially what they all turn out to be, especially Sam, the son who is brilliant but very troubled.Alice Hoffman is one of the greatest writers working today. Brilliant does not begin to describe her. The best word I can use to describe her work is luminous. From Practical Magic to The Probable Future her work is breathtaking in its depth and clarity. Few people writing today portray such complicated multidimensional characters, especially women, as well as Hoffman does. In this latest outing, however, I feel that she falls somewhat short of her previous achievements. This book is good, but she has set such a high standard for herself in previous work that I don't think it deserves a place among her best books.The biggest problem for me is that ultimately the characterizations, usually her strong point, just don't seem to totally hang together. Also, while she has written some unlikeable characters in the past, I found Sam to be so thoroughly unredeemable as a person that it was distracting. (Spoiler alert!) Sam is the most self-pitying, selfish, cynical, annoying character to come along in a long time. It never makes sense to me how so many people come to love him, for I could find nothing loveable about him. He constantly rails against his father's coldness and selfishness and yet he is exactly like his father. Sam is boorish and snide, cold to his own son and completely unreliable in everyway to everyone who ever cares about him. So I just could not wrap my head around how all of these women in his life found him to be so mesmerizing and special. To me he's not special at all. He's just a typical drug-addict who blames everyone else in the world for his problems, never lifts a finger to help himself or anyone else and constantly imperils those around him, either emotionally or physically or both. I wasn't sad at all when he died. Usually Hoffman is so good at making her characters emotional logic for their actions clear. Here, and of course it could just be me, I couldn't see it. What some of the characters did and felt just never made sense to me given who they are.Even with this disappointment, this book is still worth reading, because Hoffman continues to shine with her use of language and metaphor and there are some lovely, moving moments that transcend the problems I had with the characters. And as usual there is that bit of magic that suffuses all of her books--the ghost of Arlyn, who brings together some unlikely people, which changes the direction of their lives. And there is love in this story as there is in all of her books. To me, that is in some ways what all of her books are about--the transformative power of love, whether for good or bad, and what happens to people when they are without love. Even though Sam is a waste, his sister and son go on to do something with their lives, and at the end there is the hope for something better.
nicolevl on LibraryThing 26 days ago
Completely exhausted I climbed into bed early one evening. Grabbed the book sitting on my bedside table. The one that had been sitting there for months, maybe even a good year, unread. It was Alice Hoffman's Skylight Confessions. Like most of Hoffman's stories you get to know the charters through the course of the quickly developing plot. Before I knew it I was sucked in and didn't move until I had read the book, cover to cover. At the center of the story, almost a charater itself, is a house called the Glass Slipper. Built of glass the home requires care and expresses pain just as the people in the story do. One can almost imagine looking into this house and seeing rooms of pain, hope, love and disspare. Among them the skylight window where a young man escapes. The book was a diversion. During those hours, nothing else existed but the story and the peace I gleaned from this brief escape from relativity.
jgillin on LibraryThing 26 days ago
This wasn't a BAD book, but it didn't captivate me the way Alice Hoffman's novels usually do. Too much happened in the very beginning and I never felt as if I really knew enough about the characters to understand their motivations. The middle of the book was quite good and I found it difficult to put down. However, the ending came very abruptly and it left me feeling dissatisfied.
elliepotten on LibraryThing 27 days ago
Another enchanting and magical, yet poignantly bittersweet, novel from Hoffman. John and Arlie fall in love in a misguided haze of youth. After a spell trapped in an increasingly meaningless marriage Arlie rebels against the way her life has turned out, then tragically falls ill. With Arlie gone life spirals downwards for those who surrounded her: John is haunted by the memory of his beautiful wife, his son Sam is going off the rails and little Blanca is just tripping along trying to make sense of everything. Then Meredith enters their lives, strangely drawn into their problems and determined to rescue them from themselves. A few years later, the children are grown and life has moved on yet again¿In the same vein as 'Blackbird House', the novel's poignancy lies in its beautiful observations of life through the generations, as characters we come to care deeply about grow, live, love, and die. Folklore and magic weave through the storyline but never grow cloying, as this spirituality lies twisted within the experiences of the characters rather than being thrown in our faces as a narrative element.In short, another wonderful novel - my second favourite Hoffman so far, after the masterpiece that is 'The Ice Queen'. Highly recommended!
bethmal on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Different story and look into a disfunctional family. I liked this one.
westadults on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Lynn's Pick-The Moody family is being torn apart. Death, addiction, emotional distance, and at the center of it all is a famous Connecticutt home made entirely of glass. Alice Hoffman's characters are once again haunting and haunted. A beautiful and moving story about the bonds of love and the difficulties of family.
yourotherleft on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Hoffman crafts a mystical story of the Moody family, haunted by its matriarch, Arlyn, who determines to marry the first man to pass by her front porch on the night of her father's death. Young architect-in-training John Moody is the first to encounter Arlyn on this fateful night, and Arlyn, true to her word, remains faithful to him, despite his desire to be rid of her. The two marry and begin a life together, but John is haunted by dreams of the destruction of the glass house in which they live, an architectural marvel designed by John's father called the "Glass Slipper." Ironically, while the glass house remains intact, it is the family that gradually falls apart. Arlyn dies young after a battle with cancer, but her presence remains, haunting her husband throughout the story. John leaves something to be desired as a father, and his son Sam, a complex character who had an intense bond with his mother, is set adrift by her loss, becoming a depressed and drug-addicted teen. His sister, Blanca, is deeply attached to him and refuses to abandon him to what seems to be his inevitable fate. Skylight Confessions is a profound story of a family of damaged characters who desperately need love but cannot seem to overcome the barriers that keep them from being able to love and save each other. However, John's death offers the family an unexpected chance at redemption.
bastet on LibraryThing 5 months ago
While not her best, one of the top ones. This is a lovely tale of a family gone wrong, with all the attendant angst of a missing mother and kids who feel left out in the cold.I couldn't put it down.
Librarygirl66 on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Arlyn Singer believes in destiny and in love. On the night her father dies, Arlyn is certain that the man she is meant to be with will walk into her life. But fate seems to be playing a trick when John Moody knocks on her door to ask for directions. Cool, practical, and deliberate, John is dreamy Arlyn's polar opposite. Yet the two are drawn powerfully together even when it is clear they are bound to bring each other grief. Their marriage is dangerous territory, tracing a map no one should follow. It leads them and their children to a house made of glass in the Connecticut countryside, to the rooftops and avenues of Manhattan, and to the blue waters of Long Island Sound all in a search for family and identity." "Walking this path of ruin and redemption are Sam, their son, a brilliant, explosive artist who is drawn to self-destruction and dreams; Blanca, the beautiful loner who tries desperately to protect her brother from his destiny and lives her own life in a world of books; and Will, the grandson, who is left a legacy of broken pieces he needs to put together, an emotional and mysterious puzzle made up of people who don't know the first thing about love
DoraG on LibraryThing 5 months ago
The day this book arrived at the library (I put it on hold as soon as it had been ordered), I read the entire thing. True, Alice Hoffman novels are not "literature", but they are involving, interesting and passionate books. The worst part of the book was that I couldn't stop reading it, so it didn't last long enough. Boo. Not as good as The River King, or Practical Magic, but still a day well spent.