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  1. The Story Sisters: A Novel (Alice Hoffman)

    Lyrical but atypically monotonous, bestseller Hoffman’s (The Third Angel) latest follows the dark family saga of Elv, Megan and Claire Story, sisters plagued by uncommon sadness. As a child, Elv spun fairy tales of a magical world for her sisters, but a period of savage sexual abuse—information about which slowly leaks out—sends her spiraling into years of drug addiction and painful self-abuse. Elv’s story is unrelentingly grim, and without Hoffman’s characteristic magic realism, its simple downward spiral becomes exhausting. Tragedy after tragedy befalls the family—Elv’s commitment to a juvenile rehab facility, a deadly accident, a fatal illness and betrayal after betrayal. When the last third of the book turns to focus on Claire, who has been so damaged by the family crises that she refuses to speak, the slight glimmers of hope and goodness are too little, too late. Hoffman’s prose is as lovely as ever: the imagined and real worlds of the Story sisters are rich and clear, but Elv’s troubles and the Story family’s nonstop catastrophes are wearying.
  2. Quote from The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman

    I thought about how the Boy with No Fear had played cards with the dead, how he’d grinned and thrown an ace on the table, how he’d walked through graveyards without a single shiver, how he knew death from the inside out. I wanted a man like that, one it was impossible to kill, who wouldn’t flinch if you wished him dead, who’d already been there and back.
  3. Quote from The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman

    People hide their truest natures. I understood that; I even applauded it. What sort of world would it be if people bled all over the sidewalks, if they wept under trees, smacked whomever they despised, kissed strangers, revealed themselves? Keep a cloak, that was fine, the thing to do; present a disguise, the outside you, the one you want people to believe.
  4. Quote from The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman

    This is what I know, the one and only thing. The best way to die is while you’re living. Even for someone like me. You’d laugh to know how long it’s taken for me to figure that out, when all I had to do was cross over the mountains. When I walk to my car in the parking lot on winter nights, I have often noticed bats, a black cloud in the darkening sky. They bring me comfort. They make me feel you’re not so far away. To think, I used to be afraid. I used to run and hide. Now I stand and look upward. I don’t mind what the weather is; the cold has never bothered me. I hope what I’m seeing is the ever after. I hope it’s you.
  5. Quote from The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman

    What is the difference between love and obsession? Didn’t both make you stay up all night, wandering the streets, a victim of your own imagination, your own heartbeat? Didn’t you fall into both, headfirst into quicksand? Wasn’t every man in love a fool and every woman a slave? Love was like rain: it turned to ice, or it disappeared. Now you saw it, now you couldn’t find it no matter how hard you might search. Love evaporated; obsession was realer; it hurt, like a pin in your bottom, a stone in your shoe. It didn’t go away in the blink of an eye. A morning phone call filled with regret. A letter that said, Dear you, good-bye from me. Obsession tasted like something familiar. Something you’d known your whole life. It settled and lurked; it stayed with you.

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