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Illumination Night Paperback – February 5, 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“Vivid, convincing characters…uncommon insight.”People
“[A] bright constellation of characters…draws the reader into the dusky, dreamy world of Alice Hoffman.”St. Petersburg Times
“Alice Hoffman takes seemingly ordinary lives and lets us see and feel extraordinary things.”Amy Tan
“Not-so-delicate questions are raised in a wonderfully delicate way in Alice Hoffman’s latest novel… Explorations of the tangled strands of parenthood and friendship, self-protection and generosity, dream and disillusionment are made achingly vivid by Hoffman’s ability to ground them in the finely etched details of her characters’ daily lives.”Newsday
“There is a cumulative power to Illumination Night that is wondrous…It’s enough to make one search out other books by Alice Hoffman.”The Chicago Tribune
“Reading an authentic prose stylist of high order is an uncommon privilege.”The Boston Globe
“Alice Hoffman hits bull’s eyes on the incomprehensions between the young and the old, on the magic and pain of ordinary life. She is erotic and romantic…funny…clever and humane.”The Times (London)
Top Customer Reviews
The most fascinating character for me was the agoraphobic young wife, trapped in her house by fears she can barely articulate. Hoffman's treatment of this characters is so realistic and convincing that after reading the novel I felt for the first time that I not only understood this condition; I had lived it.
While the gentle-giant young man is a bit of a surprise for someone reading Hoffman for the first time, she also makes this character perfectly plausible and sympathetic. You can accept the young girl's falling in love with him because we come to care about him ourselves, while realizing that she has the power to break his heart.
As a writer, Hoffman leaves you with the impression that she feels deeply for her characters, regardless of their weaknesses and shortcomings. And putting down this novel, you can feel in yourself a tender-heartedness for others that most books either don't try to evoke, or try and fail.
This book centers around Andre and Vonny, a couple who lives on Martha's Vineyard with their four-year-old boy, Simon. Andre and Vonny are having some martial problems, which is complicated by Andre's failing business and financial troubles, the worry that Simon has some defective genetic disease that prevents him from growing, and Jody, who moves in next door.
Jody is Elizabeth Renny's grandchild, and she was sent there in part because her parents were experiencing marital problems of their own, and also in part because Elizabeth was having trouble seeing and getting around. Jody is a sixteen-year-old teenager who likes to steal cars, manipulate boys, smoke cigarettes, skip school, and sleep with the neighbor's husband.
Jody becomes Simon's baby-sitter, and pretty soon, Andre can't control himself. Soon after that, Vonny snaps and can no longer leave the house. She finds out that she's having panic attacks, which seems to make her and her husband grow closer for the time being.
Jody finally loses interest in Andre when she spots the beautiful Giant in the woods, named Edward. At this point, you are sucked up in a romance of two unlikely people, much like a Beauty and the Beast.
This detailed and intricate storytelling is woven around high-charged emotions and mystical surroundings. It is this kind of tale-telling that Alice Hoffman is known for, and what she does best. Illumination Night is a truly engrossing read, and is shows further evidence of what a great writer Alice Hoffman is.
The reader will enjoy this story of a modern marriage, a young woman who is trapped by her fears, a high school girl that is at the heart of all the sin and passion of the story. This is a good story of myth, magic and reality
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I found the characters to be unlikable except for the little boy. You kept hoping that the story would improve but it just got more impossible the deeper into the book I got.Published 14 days ago by Amber Z
I love Alice Hoffman- I hadn't read this book previously and it was truly wonderful. It is well worth the treat!Published 19 days ago by life2great
I love Alice Hoffman, and I love this book. Wonderful characters!Published 1 month ago by Jennifer von Mayrhauser
Andre, his wife Vonny and their nearly 5 year old son, Simon, are living on Martha's Vineyard in a fixer-upper home. Read morePublished 1 month ago by EpicFehlReader
I read Fortunes Daughter by this author and liked it, so I bought Illumination Night. I was very disappointed, had a hard time even wanting to finish the book but I did. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Mona L. Stokes
Alice Hoffman always writes fast reading and thoroughly enjoyable books!Published 3 months ago by Linda Green