Algis Budrys said it best: "Most writers show and tell. Nina Hoffman sings." Past the Size of Dreaming
is the wonderfully inventive continuation of A Red Heart of Memories
. Readers rejoin the wandering witches Matt (Matilda) Black and Edmund Reynolds as they revisit and heal the painful past. For those who've not yet read the first book, Hoffman reintroduces them with "Matt Black smiled. She had found Edmund three months earlier in a pioneer graveyard, and she had stayed with him ever since." Matt "spent most of her time talking with things instead of people" because "anything shaped by humankind might have a story to tell her." Edmund and Matt have found two of Edmund's childhood friends, Nathan the ghost and Suki (Susan), the girl Edmund rescued from an abusive father. They seek the others, Julio, Deirdre, and the twins, Terry and Tasha. To defeat the demon-controlling master wizard who once abducted Julio and is still controlling Galen, his apprentice, they must pool their magical resources. --Nona Vero
From Publishers Weekly
The New Age-y na?vet? of the plot and characters, as much as the easy and inexplicable magic, reduce Hoffman's latest to a read for the initiated only. The sexless witch Matilda "Mattie" Black and her magically gifted companion, Edmund Reynolds, who wandered through the Stoker Award-winning A Red Heart of Memories (1999), are now reunited with friends from the past, all squatters in a benignly haunted house. They speak to inanimate objectsAgarbage cans, automobiles, earth, air, even the house itself. They cast spells and envelope people and objects in nonburning flames. One of the group, Julio, was abducted as a child by a sinister magician; when he escaped, he carried a second personality, which named itself "Tabasco," for a bottle on a table. Now, however, Julio has been transformed into a woman called Lia. Another presence, Nathan, hanged himself in the house years before, but lives on. Hoffman has received praise for vivid fantasy, but here this amounts to a fuzzy concern with spiritual union with all the universe, wrapped in prose disconcertingly given to exclamations such as "Yow!" and "Wow!" (Feb. 6) Forecast: Hoffman has her fans, but she's not going to gain many more with this piece of work.
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