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Blackbird House

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3.81  ·  Rating details ·  10,048 Ratings  ·  959 Reviews
With “incantatory prose” that “sweeps over the reader like a dream,” (Philadelphia Inquirer), Hoffman follows her celebrated bestseller The Probable Future, with an evocative work that traces the lives of the various occupants of an old Massachusetts house over a span of two hundred years.

In a rare and gorgeous departure, beloved novelist Alice Hoffman weaves a web of tale
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Paperback, 256 pages
Published March 29th 2005 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 2004)
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(showing 1-30)
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PorshaJo
Rating 3.5

I was looking for a short audio while waiting on another book. I saw this one on Hoopla and knew I had to listen to it. I'm a fan of Alice Hoffman and always enjoy getting to another book of hers. When I first started, it said there are 11 narrators. WHAT??? But there are 11 stories, each one narrated by a different person. It was done very well.

This is a series of 11 stories that are interlinked in some way. Each story is unique. Sometimes a story ends rather quickly and you find out
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Will Byrnes
Aug 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
Places have much greater permanence than people. Land exists for eons (now don’t get picky about ocean fronts migrating and the Big Island expanding. You know what I mean) whereas people last mere generations, and often much less. On the surface at least, Blackbird House is a novel of place, in which the Blackbird House of the title is the stage, and each short story offers characters who play across it. There should be a name (and probably is, but I just do not know it, novel-in-stories or link ...more
Mark
Apr 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mark by: Will Byrnes
Shelves: short-stories
Once again the curse of GR website swallowed a review. So screamingly annoying that the laptop almost was thrown across the room. However I am determined that Alice Hoffman will receive the praise she is due for this lovely book so I shall do the whole bloody thing again. Goodreads, I truly hate you sometimes!!

This collection, to use a somewhat contrived metaphor, is like a number of small coloured stones or polished glass strung together to create a simple but very effective thing of beauty. By
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Amanda
Nov 16, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Hoffman fans/literary lovers
The title for this book, according to Good Reads, indicates that this is a novel, and in a way it is. But it's more of a series of short stories, all centered around a house haunted by a white blackbird, the pet of a young boy lost at sea with his father.

With each story, Hoffman paints a picture of a new generation living in the house. Each story is different and special in its own way. There's tragedy, love, hope...all things found in abundance in all of Hoffman's novels, threaded through seve
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Dani Peloquin
Aug 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I have to be honest, I read this book months ago but was unable at the time to find the words to describe this novel. I just have to start by saying that it is one of the best novels I have ever read in my life (and I clearly read a lot). Previous to reading Blackbird House, I had never picked up an Alice Hoffman novel. I knew that she had written Practical Magic and some other novels in the same vein and I thought that she wouldn't be my kind of author. However, when I cracked the spine on the ...more
Connie
The gorgeous cover drew me to Blackbird House, and this book of twelve interwoven short stories did not disappoint me. The stories are set on a small farm in a fishing village on Cape Cod from the 18th Century to the present time. Residents of the Blackbird House have experienced many challenges in life, and deep love that makes it all worthwhile.

Like many of Alice Hoffman's works, this book has elements of magical realism. There have been sightings of the ghost of a young boy lost at sea, and h
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Book of Secrets
Jun 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
BLACKBIRD HOUSE is another memorable book from Alice Hoffman, one that would appeal to a lover of American historical fiction and magical realism, like me. The book is a collection of 12 interconnected short stories set on the same remote farm on Cape Cod. The imaginative stories span 200 years, beginning at the British blockade of the cape during the War of 1812 through present day, and their common denominator is Blackbird House.

The first story, "The Edge of the World," sets the mysterious atm
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Annalisa
May 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Annalisa by: Erin
A charming collection of stories detailing the residents of a farmhouse in Cape Cod spanning two hundred years. It took me several stories to realize that the book followed the house not the people, but once I understood that, I stopped trying to connect their stories and enjoyed the vivid setting. I could see and smell that New England charm as Hoffman breathed life to generations of American culture.
Stephanie
Feb 15, 2011 rated it really liked it

Blackbird House is simply wonderful. This book was absolutely beatifully drawn with such attention to detail of the human condition, it's interconnectedness to others and most importantly, to a certain place.

Blackbird House is the most unique collection of short stories I've ever read. It's not just a story here and there comprised of different characters and settings with the only common demoninator being that of the author, instead there's a common thread woven throughout: the House, it's his
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Gina
Jun 24, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people who like sad romances
This book was good, but it couldve been so much better.... Basically its a series of short stories, all taking place at the same little cottage in Cape Code, with a generation or so passing between each entry. The characters are mostly tragic, with an occasional happy ending thrown in to keep things from getting TOO depressing. Each story hinges on love, whether romantic or platonic, and the discovery, exploration, and often, loss of this love. Although the stories are predictable, the character ...more
Rachel
Apr 23, 2009 rated it it was ok
I have been thinking a lot about this book and why I felt the way I did about it. I write short stories so this book should have resonated with me. I enjoyed the first of the short stories. Honestly, it was the best one and I wish she had continued on with it or at least with the descendants of the original family. I felt invested in their lives. When she got to the story of the witch girl in the red shoes, she lost me. She tried too hard with all the red, and while I love beautiful language I f ...more
Jeanette
Jun 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Very shortly after starting this book I did recall that I had read it before. More than a decade ago although the title didn't stick. But I wasn't sure if I had read the entire thing or just some of the stories between jobs at the time. So I continued and I did remember most of them. Her prose language and flow of visuals for that land and property made the reading pleasant and gave the locale nuance depth. That I enjoyed to a 4 star level.

But the stories themselves in particular the characters,
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Jessika
Oct 09, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This being my first read by Alice Hoffman, I must say--I think I've found a new author to add to my favorites list. I'm absolutely itching to go out and read everything else she's written.

What I loved the most about Alice Hoffman's writing was her style. It was absolutely phenomenal. Between her use of words and her descriptions, I was there. This is definitely one of those books that you just want to soak up and enjoy the words. However, for being a book that at times reads almost like poetry,
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K M
Oct 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This lovely book contains short stories about the various inhabitants of a farmhouse in Cape Cod over a 200 year period. The stories are refreshingly unique, yet bound together by several common threads: the farmhouse itself, the land and all that has been planted on it over time, a strange white blackbird, recurring characters and/or their progeny, and the color red. All of these things make the reader feel familiar with the land and property in an intimate way - as if the reader is connected w ...more
Renee Babcock
I have long loved Alice Hoffman's books. There is something magical to me in the way she tells stories and really gets into the people she writes about. I loved this book because instead of writing about the journey of a people, she writes about the journey of a place, a 250ish year old house built in rural Cape Cod, telling its history in a set of short stories, and of the people who have lived in it. A number of reviews I've read talk about the history of this place in terms of love, but so mu ...more
Sheila
Jul 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I’ve lived on Cape Cod for most of my life and enjoyed the rugged feel of the people and place that’s shown in this novel. Cape Cod can be lonely and desolate, especially in the offseason, and Alice Hoffman brings this forward with a stunning writing style that seems effortless.

Since each chapter describes a different character or time period, Blackbird House has the feel of a short story collection. I might have enjoyed it even more if there had been more mystical connections between the charac
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CGregory
Dec 31, 2011 rated it did not like it
I was dissappointed with this book. It seemed to have a very novel idea and approach but just didn't deliver. There was such potential for this to be dazzling, yet instead it gave me a headache.

Firstly, the story was very impersonal. I felt completely on the outside looking in as if hovering over the plot with no interest or interaction with those involved. It was as if I were a mold on a tree growing with busseling life all around me. I can see it, but don't comprehend and could care less sinc
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Vickie
I have only recently discovered Alice Hoffman and the few books I have read by her have been wonderful. I must admit that it was the cover of Blackbird House that first drew my attention but it was the collection of twelve interwoven short stories kept my attention. The first story is set on Cape Cod on a small farm in the early 1700's and the last story is set in present time. As soon as I finished one story, I quickly started looking for the clues as to the time period and the connection of th ...more
Gretchen
May 27, 2013 rated it it was ok
I was initially intrigued by the plot of this book, which is essentially a collection of short stories revolving around a property on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. I'm unsure if the author intended to create a mystery or light horror novel, but the imagery she used implies that, in my opinion. For example, one of the home's occupants over time was a woman who behaved strangely and was assumed to be a witch. This mystery was never fully resolved. Was the house haunted by the former occupants? Did the ...more
Mack
Jun 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Blackbird House traces the lives of various occupants of an old Massachusetts house over a span of many years. I enjoyed how each story is connected to the land, the house and some times with each other. I’ve never read Alice Hoffman books and she has such a beautiful way with words. The emotion and spirit contained in her writing and so many engaging characters in this story to convey the power of love and how love does truly change us all.
April
Feb 20, 2012 rated it it was ok
I didn't dislike the stories but the book really ticked me off. Each time I got invested in a story or character and was like "ooh, I wonder what happens next" the story was OVER and the next story started! That was just too frustrating for words. I kept expecting for the last couple stories to tie it all together and explain everything, but it didn't and I was left wanting more (and not in a good way).
Viki
Jun 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A story about the "permance of place".
The story begins on Blackbird HIll" in Cape Cod. A progresses through a series of short stories of the people who are drawn to Blackbird House, over time, and what really endures. DEfinitely a lovely read.
Katie
Jun 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I very much enjoyed this book, even more than some other work of hers that I found captivating as well. Touching but never saccharine; unsettling but never gratutiously dark; calm but unexpected by turns. I'm in awe of her fluid, luminous prose. I found the conceit of following various residents of the same house over some 200 years to be surprisingly effective and workable. The vignettes certainly bore their own identities, and frankly, stood alone well (as many did in previous journal publicat ...more
Nancy Baker
May 18, 2017 rated it liked it
I guess I didn't realize that this book was a series of short stories when I first started reading it. I'm generally not a fan of short stories because I feel like I'm not given enough time to get to know the characters or for story development. I'll admit that some of these stories ended rather abruptly and I wanted to stick with a few of them for longer than the author allowed. I did love, however, how there was a subtle common thread that linked the history of Blackbird Hill and of the famili ...more
Janette Greene
Jan 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this book. I saw it at the library and got it because I was intrigued by her approach with the "story of the house". Though a bit confusing at first- whenever it progressed to the next story, it was difficult to figure out who and how the next person resided there, but my confusion didn't last for long. It reflected just how I feel when I walk into any old or abandoned building. These are the stories I feel; this is what these places try to tell me, that I can only almost hear. Most of t ...more
Dolly
Apr 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of popular fiction
This is a wonderful tale of a house and the people who dwell within it throughout the years. Each story carries on from the one before, and although the stories are separate, there are common threads running through and the descendents or older versions of people who appeared in previous stories often become a part of the next. I loved how the color red, the blackbirds, the pears, the sweet peas and others wound themselves throughout the book.

This was one of the selections for my local book club
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Tressa
Jul 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing
A magical story about the inhabitants of a Cape Cod house built at the time of the American Revolution. Some of the generations connect, some don't, but the stories are interesting and tragic.

It contains much of the symbolism for which Hoffman is known.

It's a slim book, but worth the read.
Darby
Jan 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Alice Hoffman always manages to enchant me, make me smile and make me cry. Her ethereal and beautiful stories are so haunting and lovely. Stunning!!
Ann
May 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5 for enjoyment level. Was drawn to this book by the cover, by the title, and by wanting to read an Alice Hoffman book. And I became enchanted by the first story. It is a novel, listed as a novel, but basically could also be characterized as short stories. Now . . I don't usually read short stories (they end just as I'm becoming engrossed) . . . but this book was cleverly connected. It's about a Cape Cod farm, a house, and all the people who lived there for over 200 years. Many families, who w ...more
Elise
Feb 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
As usual, you have managed to draw me in and enchant me with your magical storytelling spells, Alice Hoffman. I loved this book, but I am giving it four stars instead of five because it is billed as a novel but frankly it reads much more like a collection of short stories. I realize that all of the stories are tied together by the setting of the blackbird house on the edge of the world overlooking the sea and sometimes by characters' ancestors and descendants, but it wasn't what I was expecting. ...more
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Alice Hoffman was born in New York City on March 16, 1952 and grew up on Long Island. After graduating from high school in 1969, she attended Adelphi University, from which she received a BA, and then received a Mirrellees Fellowship to the Stanford University Creative Writing Center, which she attended in 1973 and 74, receiving an MA in creative writing. She currently lives in Boston and New York ...more
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“Sometimes they would sit in the parlor together, both reading – in entirely separate worlds, to be sure, but joined somehow. When this happened, other people in the family couldn't bring themselves to disturb them. All that could be heard in the parlor was the sound of pages, turning.” 76 likes
“He started to look at me in a manner I recognized: it was the way I looked at a new book, one I had never read before, one that surprised me with all it had to say.” 69 likes
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