Hoffman back in fine form,
This review is from: The Red Garden (Hardcover)
This is a collection of related, interwoven chapters/stories about the inhabitants of Blackwell, Massachusetts, from the late 18th century up to the present day, one main character at a time. After a couple of less than stellar novels, I felt that Hoffman's charming blend of emotional, magical writing strongly returned in this outing. Most of the chapters bring to life wonderfully flawed and interesting people, living, loving, and changing for the better and worse with the changes of life in and around the lovely small-town setting.
The connection of the people to the very earth in their hamlet is engaging. There is more than one woman who communes with bears, several people who are closely entwined with the eels in the river (one more extraordinarily than any other), and many who are amazed at the garden in which only red produce will grow, whether it's vegetable or flower. Characters are drawn to the meadows, woods, and sky - for some it is a paradise and for others nature is a dangerous place.
This is a lyrical and creative collection. Not every single chapter is riveting, but if one is disappointed in one spot, she can quickly move on to the next, where the thread can be picked up once again and carried forward. Nicely done.