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June 2018: Magical Realism > Blackbird House - Hoffman - 4 stars

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message 1: by Jgrace (last edited Jul 01, 2018 06:24AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jgrace | 3106 comments Blackbird House - Hoffman
Audio performance with multiple narrators
4 stars


This series of interconnected stories begins on Cape Cod during the Revolutionary War. For the next 200 years, each set of characters is connected to the house that was built in the first tragic story. Legends grow with the years; sightings of a ‘white’ blackbird, the appearance of a ghost, the effects of the fruit from the red pear tree or of the wild turnips in the meadow.

I enjoyed all of the stories. Most of them featured strong female characters coping with difficult or tragic circumstances. Many of the stories ended with abruptly, ambiguously. The following story might provide small clues to give closure to the previous story, or it might just add to the mystery. I liked that these stories provided snapshots of small town life during major historical events. I think the short story format might be frustrating for someone who would naturally want to know more about characters who are barely introduced before the each ends.But, I’m impressed with Hoffman’s ability to create fully realized characters in dramatic circumstances within the constraints of a few pages. I liked the way that these stories were loosely linked together.

The audiobook used a different reader for each story. For the most part this worked very well, because few characters appeared in more than one story.


Tracy (tstan) | 1237 comments I liked this a lot when I read it.


message 3: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7784 comments Hmmm....I have been wanting to read more Hoffman and while I am not a huge fan of short stories, you definitely piqued my interest with Cape Cod and Revolutionary War! lol


Jgrace | 3106 comments Nicole R wrote: "Hmmm....I have been wanting to read more Hoffman and while I am not a huge fan of short stories, you definitely piqued my interest with Cape Cod and Revolutionary War! lol"

The story that seems to be staying with me most took place on the edges of the Civil War.


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

I just returned this book to the library because I just don't have the time to read it right now. But it is on my list to read. I really like her style of writing. I hope to get back to it again this year. Great review.


Barbara M (barbara-m) | 2299 comments I loved this and her other short story collection The Red Garden that is also connected stories. I found it to be a quick read too.


Jgrace | 3106 comments Barbara wrote: "I loved this and her other short story collection The Red Garden that is also connected stories. I found it to be a quick read too."

I think I may have liked Red Garden a bit better. But there were stand out stories in both collections.


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