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Here on Earth (Oprah's Book Club) Paperback – March 1, 1998

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Product Details

  • Series: Oprah's Book Club
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Trade (March 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425167313
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425167311
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (538 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #800,381 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Oprah Book Club® Selection, March 1998: Here on Earth is set in motion when March Murray and her teenage daughter travel from their California home to New England. Their stay is to be brief. Judith Dale, her childhood housekeeper-cum-foster mother, has died, and March must set things to right and get out of gloomy Jenkintown as quickly as possible. "Five days tops," she reassures her scientist husband. Instead, she is pulled back into the arms of Hollis, her first love--an avaricious, Heathcliff-like individual who radiates sulfur and cruelty. "She left and didn't come back, not even when he called her, and yet here she is, on this dark night; here and no place else." In this deep fable of loss and control, love and fear, Alice Hoffman allows us into her characters' cores and makes us wish their fortunes were happier. Here on Earth is filled with wisdom, what-ifs, and animals who seem, if not to know more than human beings, at least to know how to shy from danger.

From Library Journal

As this novel opens, March Murray Cooper returns to her hometown, ostensibly to bury the woman who raised her but needing to resolve the unfinished business of her youthful love for Hollis, from whom she has been separated for years. Hollis has now grown into a man embittered by loneliness. He has learned neither to forgive nor to forget, and March must discover whether he can ever learn to love. Hoffman (Practical Magic, LJ 12/94) takes great care here to examine the many facets of love and relationships, turning them like a prism to reflect on March and Hollis. Hoffman's evocative language and her lyrical descriptions of place contrast sharply with the emotional scars that her characters must uncover and bear. Her novel is a haunting tale of a woman lost in and to love; it will enthrall the reader from beginning to end. Highly recommended.
-?Caroline M. Hallsworth, Cambrian Coll., Sudbury, Ontario
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Alice Hoffman was born in New York City on March 16, 1952 and grew up on Long Island. After graduating from high school in 1969, she attended Adelphi University, from which she received a BA, and then received a Mirrellees Fellowship to the Stanford University Creative Writing Center, which she attended in 1973 and 74, receiving an MA in creative writing. She currently lives in Boston and New York.

Hoffman's first novel, Property Of, was written at the age of twenty-one, while she was studying at Stanford, and published shortly thereafter by Farrar Straus and Giroux. She credits her mentor, professor and writer Albert J. Guerard, and his wife, the writer Maclin Bocock Guerard, for helping her to publish her first short story in the magazine Fiction. Editor Ted Solotaroff then contacted her to ask if she had a novel, at which point she quickly began to write what was to become Property Of, a section of which was published in Mr. Solotaroff's magazine, American Review.

Since that remarkable beginning, Alice Hoffman has become one of our most distinguished novelists. She has published a total of eighteen novels, two books of short fiction, and eight books for children and young adults. Her novel, Here on Earth, an Oprah Book Club choice, was a modern reworking of some of the themes of Emily Bronte's masterpiece Wuthering Heights. Practical Magic was made into a Warner film starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman. Her novel, At Risk, which concerns a family dealing with AIDS, can be found on the reading lists of many universities, colleges and secondary schools. Her advance from Local Girls, a collection of inter-related fictions about love and loss on Long Island, was donated to help create the Hoffman (Women's Cancer) Center at Mt. Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, MA. Blackbird House is a book of stories centering around an old farm on Cape Cod. Hoffman's recent books include Aquamarine and Indigo, novels for pre-teens, and The New York Times bestsellers The River King, Blue Diary, The Probable Future, and The Ice Queen. Green Angel, a post-apocalyptic fairy tale about loss and love, was published by Scholastic and The Foretelling, a book about an Amazon girl in the Bronze Age, was published by Little Brown. In 2007 Little Brown published the teen novel Incantation, a story about hidden Jews during the Spanish Inquisition, which Publishers Weekly has chosen as one of the best books of the year. In January 2007, Skylight Confessions, a novel about one family's secret history, was released on the 30th anniversary of the publication of Her first novel. Her most recent novel is The Story Sisters (2009), published by Shaye Areheart Books.

Hoffman's work has been published in more than twenty translations and more than one hundred foreign editions. Her novels have received mention as notable books of the year by The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, The Los Angeles Times, Library Journal, and People Magazine. She has also worked as a screenwriter and is the author of the original screenplay "Independence Day" a film starring Kathleen Quinlan and Diane Wiest. Her short fiction and non-fiction have appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe Magazine, Kenyon Review, Redbook, Architectural Digest, Gourmet, Self, and other magazines. Her teen novel Aquamarine was recently made into a film starring Emma Roberts.

Customer Reviews

The main character of March is so unbelievable and awful that I just couldn't enjoy any of this book.
You can only hope that the 3rd generation will learn from the choices they've witnessed their family members making, that love is more complicated than one emotion.
Sue V.
I was let down at the end as it seemed like the author just wanted to "hurry up" and finish the book.
Jill Crayne

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

68 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Dianna Setterfield on March 31, 2003
Format: Paperback
I have never read anything by Alice Hoffman before, so I am very pleased that Here on Earth ended up being such a good introduction. The writing was extremely well done, and the storyline was surprisingly page-turning.
Here on Earth tells the story of March Murray and her 19-year-absence from her hometown in Massachusetts. After living in California with her husband, Richard, and 15-year-old daughter, Gwen, March is called home for the funeral of Judith Dale, the woman who took care of her as a child. Accompanied by Gwen, March is thrust back into her old life -- her friends and her old house. But something worse haunts her heart -- March's childhood sweetheart, Hollis, is still in town and is just as much a magnet to her as he was before. Before she knows what hits her, March and Hollis rekindle their romance -- but this time things are very, very different.
I was very surprised at the direction this story took, but I loved the twists! I started out with my feelings for certain characters pretty much set, then all these secrets start coming out of the woodwork and my emotions do a 180. I believe that when an author can evoke such reactions out of a reader, that is the hallmark of a talented writer. Here on Earth also had a fantastic supporting cast that carried the story well. Alice Hoffman surpassed my expectations, and I'll be sure to read another of her novels soon.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By "yankee76" on February 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
I originally read this book because it was an Oprah Book Club selection. After reading it, though, I've become a big fan of Alice Hoffman, who, in this novel, has spun a dark tale about love, rebellion, passion, violence, control and domination in this book. When March Murray returns to her hometown with her teenage daughter for the funeral of her old friend and housekeeper, she reunites with her first love, a man named Hollis. It's a story one too many of us can relate to. In the marshlands of Massachusetts, we helplessly watch March sink deep into her lover's world, until there's nearly nothing left of her.
Alice Hoffman writes in the present tense, with an omniscient point of view-two qualities that I generally dislike. But Hoffman handles it beautifully, gliding from one character to the next in this story that captures the strands of each person's web, and ties them all together.
It would do all women good to read this story, because most of us have known a Hollis, and some of us have been a March.
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 4, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I just finished "Here on Earth", and am usually an avid fan of Oprah's Book Club (Stones from the River is by far her best pick). Having never read anything by Alice Hoffman, I wasn't sure what to expect here. She's a very descriptive writer, which can be enjoyable, however, her character development was virtually non existent. Yes, I hated Hollis, and was REALLY frustrated and disgusted by March - but it would have made all the difference if the author gave us SOME insight as to why these people behaved the way they did. The ending left TOO much to the I the only one hoping that someone would take poor Hank to California with them? What happened to March, Gwen, Sister, Tarot? Any clue would help.. All in all, "Here On Earth" had some real potential to be an outstanding novel.. but it just left me feeling totally empty. Its almost as though Hoffman got tired of writing and just ended the book abruptly. It was a page turner, I must admit...I just really wanted to like this book a lot more than I did.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Catherine Hallberg on January 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
I can't call this a love story. At least, not the story of March and Hollis. It wasn't love, it was control and a deep seated hatred of humans on the part of Hollis. Hollis, the definition of "sociopath", which this book defines better than does, as "One who is affected with a personality disorder marked by antisocial behavior" was detestible, yet brilliant. Anti-social was only part of this guy's problems. There was also his need to control, as well as maladjustment possibly caused by PTSD.
But I get ahead of myself.
I liked March and Gwen when they arrived in Jenkintown for Judith Dale's funeral. I even liked March's brother Alan. Getting into the story of the past, I was appalled by Alan's treatment of "the boy" as he called Hollis when he first arrived in their home. Hollis was well treated by the adults and March, but not by Alan and his friends. Still, he didn't seem to be broken then. I still liked Hollis when he was gone from March, because I didn't know what he was doing.
I started to loathe him when he returned and started calling March, who had moved away and married Richard, a man Hollis viewed as one of his rivals in property ownership and respect of the community. The statement that turned me around on him was when he told the very pregnant March, "you care more about that baby than you do about me." Yup, I would have said. I sure do. "That" baby is my baby and you are an adult. Grow up. Warning bells would have gone off for me, but they didn't for March. Too bad.
Gwen certainly reformed when she found something outside of herself to care for in the former racehorse, Tarot. I could visualize that the horse loved her and responded well to her because he was reminded of the gentle Belinda, his former rider and mistress.
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