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The Marriage of Opposites Hardcover – August 4, 2015
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Intrusion: A Novel
A loving couple, grieving the loss of their son, finds their marriage in free fall when a beautiful, long-lost acquaintance inserts herself into their lives. Learn More
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—Kirkus, starred review
"[A] rhapsodic blend of keenly observed historical elements and vibrantly fabulistic invention generates an entrancing saga of sacrifice, forbidden loves, betrayals, and family tragedies endured in a world fractured by religion, class, and race, and redeemed by art and by love. Hoffman is at her resplendent best in this trenchant and revelatory tale of a heroic woman and her world-altering artist son."
– Booklist, Starred Review
"Hoffman’s subject matter and her evocative writing style are a wonderful fit for this moving story, which illuminates a historical period and women whose lives were colored by hardships, upheavals, and the subjugation of personal desires."
“[A] luminous, Marquez-esque tale.”
— O, The Oprah Magazine
“A fresh tale of human error and achievement. This subject has found the right author at the right time, and no one who reads this story will forget it.”
“Hoffman’s lush, seductive prose and heart-pounding subject—a forbidden love affair on the island of Saint Thomas—make this latest skinny-dip in enchanted realism by the author of Practical Magic the Platonic ideal of the beach read.”
"Hoffman mixes fact and fiction to produce a richly imagined tapestry shot through with her signature blend of folklore, fairy dust and romantic passion."
- The Washington Post
·“For readers who would go anywhere Hoffman willtake you, this Marriage will only renew your commitment to herastonishing storytelling.”
“Rich with details that transport readers to a tropical paradise. The Marriage of Opposites invites comparisons to Gabriel García Marquez, but Hoffman follows her own star… Hoffman elevates what could have been little more than a summer getaway book to a work of art.”
-Dallas Morning News
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
In many ways, this book adheres to the formula established in Dovekeepers and Museum with a Jewish framework, scrupulous historical research, a touch of mysticism, lush images, and impassioned love. My comparisons here will be superficial as I have not read those first two books, having been too easily discouraged by the opening chapters, as I was when I first picked up Marriage.
The book begins with a discussion of mosquitoes, abruptly transitions to an overview of Jewish expulsion, then a description of the island of St. Thomas. I felt overwhelmed, as though I’d fallen into a vat of watercolors, but once I settled into the story, I was duly mesmerized (“mesmerized” being the most common adjective to appear in reviews of Hoffman’s books).
We see the world from the perspective of Rachel, born and raised on St. Thomas, a headstrong girl with profound self-awareness who spends her time battling the constraints imposed by a fierce mother, trying to adapt to a society that requires women to remain in circumscribed roles, and dreaming of Paris. Along the way she marries a couple of times, has a bunch of mostly interchangeable kids (some step, some her own), talks to the spirits, and hangs out with all kinds of intriguing friends.
The most enchanting aspect of this book, at least the first half, is the setting. By page 100, I was ready to book a trip to St. Thomas, a place I’ve never visited, just to see the colors and try the native delicacies.Read more ›
Camille Pissarro, the son in question, was arguably the central figure of the Impressionist movement. He was the only artist to exhibit in all eight group exhibitions, and he served as mentor to many of his younger colleagues. But I am prepared to bet that he is not the first, second, or even third name to spring to mind when most people think of the Impressionists. Just being a great painter does not make him an interesting figure for a novel.
But there are certainly interesting points in his childhood that you can see a novelist wanting to pick up on. He was born in 1830 on St. Thomas, now one of the US Virgin Islands but at that time a Danish possession. His parents were both Jewish, but their marriage was not at first sanctioned by the local synagogue, since his mother was the young widow of her new husband's uncle; as a result, the family was ostracized and Camille (then called Jacobo Pizzarro) and his brothers were sent to the charity school for the local children of color. I can see that the colorful setting and the hint of incest might give spice to the story, but at this remove the scandal seems largely innocuous. Besides, it affects mainly the two parents, whom Hoffman sees as preferring love over social acceptance; it is less a factor in the lives of their offspring.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I loved how the author painted the landscape and surroundings for the reader with lots of color and making it all seem so magestic, but to the point without going on and on and on... Read morePublished 8 hours ago by Michelle P. Jordan
A wonderful story spanning generations from Europe to the Caribbean.Published 12 hours ago by Carolyn S
great book lots of information it made for a good book club discussion.Published 19 hours ago by JH
I couldn't put this book down. It is filled with so much color and light that the reader is transported into Hoffman's imagination.Published 3 days ago by E. Sutliff
Very well written with a wonderful story line that spans a few generation. Contains a little bit of everything: romance, art, mystery, interracial marriage with its inherent... Read morePublished 3 days ago by Mary Lou