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The Story Sisters: A Novel Kindle Edition

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Length: 338 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Lyrical but atypically monotonous, bestseller Hoffman's (The Third Angel) latest follows the dark family saga of Elv, Megan and Claire Story, sisters plagued by uncommon sadness. As a child, Elv spun fairy tales of a magical world for her sisters, but a period of savage sexual abuse—information about which slowly leaks out—sends her spiraling into years of drug addiction and painful self-abuse. Elv's story is unrelentingly grim, and without Hoffman's characteristic magic realism, its simple downward spiral becomes exhausting. Tragedy after tragedy befalls the family—Elv's commitment to a juvenile rehab facility, a deadly accident, a fatal illness and betrayal after betrayal. When the last third of the book turns to focus on Claire, who has been so damaged by the family crises that she refuses to speak, the slight glimmers of hope and goodness are too little, too late. Hoffman's prose is as lovely as ever: the imagined and real worlds of the Story sisters are rich and clear, but Elv's troubles and the Story family's nonstop catastrophes are wearying. (June)
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From Bookmarks Magazine

Critics were generally pleased with Hoffman's latest novel, and fans will be happy that it follows the pattern of her much-loved earlier work with its vibrant characters and magical-realist elements. Though a few reviewers questioned some of her character choices and their actions, such as Elv's mother's strange passivity during the growing crisis, the Kansas City Star deemed it normal for parents to be "frozen in the face of rampant rule-breaking." Other complaints consisted of a slow plot and some melodramatic scenes, but only the Boston Globe denounced the book as completely unoriginal while still praising Hoffman's lovely prose. A moving exploration of the strengths and limitations of family bonds, The Story Sisters is quintessential, if somewhat darker, Hoffman.

Product Details

  • File Size: 3388 KB
  • Print Length: 338 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books (June 2, 2009)
  • Publication Date: June 2, 2009
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002AWX6HK
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #125,646 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 72 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover
A title like "The Story Sisters" could be any kind of book -- and in the case of Alice Hoffman's writing, it means that the girls are "story" by name and by nature. While the story focuses too much on one troubled sister and has a rather rushed ending, it's still a mistily moving experience, and a look at what love can bring people.

Ever since their parents' divorce, the three Story sisters -- Elv, Meg and Claire -- have been wrapped up in a fairy-tale world of fairies, roses and otherworldly queens.

And the girls are inseparable, speaking their Arnish language and listening to Elv's magical stories. But when Elv spends time in Paris, she comes back a changed girl -- she is increasingly drawn into a world of teenage rebellion, sex and drugs, even as she still tries to break free of the mortal world. And her increasingly ugly behavior fractures her relationship with her sisters -- even a trip to a rehab/high-school doesn't help.

Then Elv's wild ways result in a devastating tragedy that tears her family apart, and drives her into the arms of a loving, charming conman. In the years that follow, the girls' mother Annie is confronted by both love and illness, and a devastated Claire immerses herself in a jewelry store in Paris, living with her grandmother. Elv's life continues on a downward spiral, until a new development brings the broken family back together.

Leaves and roses, ice and water, black tattoos and blood, tomatoes and jewels, and three black-haired daughters who gradually learn that life is only a fairy tale if you keep it that way, and that imagination alone cannot make a life beautiful.
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41 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Alyson Stone on June 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Alice Hoffman writes beautiful descriptive prose. Unfortunately, that's just not enough to make up for the predictable plot of "The Story Sisters." Unrelentingly dark and melodramatic to the point of parody, I found myself looking at the cover to make sure I was actually reading a book by an author whose writing skills I have great respect for. Of the many characters who take up space in this novel, there are only three who act as if they have any brains at all; Grandmother Natalia, her friend Madame Cohen, and a poor fellow named Pete Smith who makes an appearance towards the end to try and clean up a plot line that has veered into romance novel territory. The Story parents, and the Sisters of the title are so unlikeable I found myself saying "Are you kidding me?" out loud at several junctures in the book. Three stars out of loyalty to the writer, but that's generous for such a disappointing book.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By L. Cooks on October 18, 2010
Format: Paperback
I picked this book up following a long history I have of buying a book I'm unfamiliar with for a flight. I liked the summary of the story sisters and thought that I was in for a page turner of magic and whimsy.

I could not have been more wrong....

The book started out great with the three sisters each distinctive and fascinating in their own right. After the accident (one of many as it turns out), it all went down hill. The story featured one tragedy after another. Horse/car accidents, drug addiction, divorce, overdoses, cancer, sexual molestation. I found myself exclaiming "Come on!!" on more than one occasion. Then just to pick your spirits up once in a while, the author would talk about tomatoes. Towards the end of the book when the ancient wise ones in Paris started catching "demon" moths, I knew I'd found the kindling for my next fire.

The story didn't know which direction it wanted to go in...a mystery, tragedy, fantasy. It was all over the place. I think Hoffman had successfully confused herself by the end. There's even an example on one page where she says a character (Phillip, I think) is a deep sleeper and then says he's a restless sleeper. That's talent. I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone usless they needed a serious downer. I don't think I'll be reading any more Hoffman.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By BeachReader on June 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover
After reading a fantastic book last week, I found it hard to believe that I was lucky enough to find another great one. I always anxiously await Alice Hoffman's books and this one was well worth the wait.

In "The Story Sister"s, the author is back to her old form: less strangeness and more storytelling, similar to the stories and their complex characters that she presented in "Turtle Moon" and "Seventh Heaven". The writing is so beautiful, lush, and magical, with such powerful imagery. It took me about 40 pages to just give myself over to the story and not try to figure out the fantasy life (Arnelle) that the three sisters wove. After that, I was totally captivated and could not put the book down. This story of the redemptive power of love and family bonds was just wonderful.

Highly recommended!!!!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By kazza on December 29, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Gee, this book was pretty much a downer wrapped in a romantic tragedy. I kept waiting for a shred of happiness for these sisters, but when those few moments arose, they were buried in some horribly lengthy detail of the sunlight changing color in Paris or someone lonely in the attic bedroom. Just not my cup of tea. Hoffman is certainly a beautiful writer, so I will give it 3 stars. I don't think I can bring myself to read another one!
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