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Blackbird House by [Hoffman, Alice]
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Blackbird House Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 227 customer reviews

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Length: 256 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Prolific novelist Hoffman (The Probable Future; Blue Diary;etc.) offers 12 lush and lilting interconnected stories, all taking place in the same Cape Cod farmhouse over the course of generations. Built during British colonial days by a man who dies tragically on a final fishing trip, Blackbird House is home, in the following generation, to a man who lost his leg to a giant halibut. In the late 19th century, Blackbird inhabitant Violet Cross has a brief affair with a Harvard scholar who inevitably betrays her; in the story that follows, she pushes her son, Lion West, to Harvard in 1908, which in turn launches him to life—and early death—in England. Lion's orphaned son, Lion West Jr., serves in World War II and meets a German-Jewish woman spirited enough to stand up to his possessive grandmother Violet. Hoffman's symbols are lovingly presented and polished: the 10-year-old boy who drowned with his father in the first story sets free a pet blackbird, who returns, now all white, to live with the boy's mother; in the last two stories, a 10-year-old boy blames a white crow for his mischief, and, a generation later, that boy's grown-up sister meets a 10-year-old boy who makes her reconsider selling Blackbird House. Fire, water, milk, pears, halibut—these, too, play important symbolic and sometimes almost magical roles. This may not be the subtlest of literary devices, but Hoffman's lyrical prose weaves an undeniable spell.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School - In this collection of tales, Hoffman takes readers into the lives of the people who lived in Blackbird House from the time of the American Revolution to the present. The house, on a farm on Cape Cod, has a haunting presence throughout the book. In addition to ghost sightings, there are touches of magical realism (a white blackbird, blood-red pears - the color of witchcraft, "crying turnips"). However, it is the characters themselves, their stories and their relationships with others, that are the most compelling. Among them are Violet, a voracious reader, greedy for knowledge and betrayed by the love of her life, whose "fierce love" continues to influence the lives of her son and grandson; Jamie, a boy helping his neighbor deal with the consequences of a secret that everyone has known - and ignored - for years; Emma, a leukemia survivor, wishing to become the person she might have been if she hadn't been so ill as a child. The residents of Blackbird House experience deep sorrow and personal loss, but they also endure due to the power of love. Many of the characters are between the ages of 10 and 30, which will add to the book's appeal for young adults. - Sandy Freund, Richard Byrd Library, Fairfax County, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product details

  • File Size: 1276 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (July 20, 2004)
  • Publication Date: July 20, 2004
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000FC1S7M
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #115,617 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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