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The Probable Future

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The Probable Future Cover

ISBN13: 9780385507608
ISBN10: 0385507607
Condition: Standard
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Review-A-Day

"At her best, Hoffman uses small miracles to signify a secular state of grace: in one particularly lovely passage, a doctor remembers coming to terms with death. But The Probable Future is mostly not Alice Hoffman at her best. Things are out of balance: too much magic, not enough realism." Sarah Churchwell, Times Literary Supplement (read the entire TLS review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Alice Hoffman’s most magical novel to date—three generations of extraordinary women are driven to unite in crisis and discover the rewards of reconciliation and love.

Women of the Sparrow family have unusual gifts. Elinor can detect falsehood. Her daughter, Jenny, can see people’s dreams when they sleep. Granddaughter Stella has a mental window on the future—a future that she might not want to see.

In The Probable Future this vivid and intriguing cast of characters confronts a haunting past—and a very current murder—against the evocative backdrop of small-town New England. By turns chilling and enchanting, The Probable Future chronicles the Sparrows’s legacy as young Stella struggles to cope with her disturbing clairvoyance. Her potential to ruin or redeem becomes unbearable when one of her premonitions puts her father in jail, wrongly accused of homicide. Yet this ordeal also leads Stella to the grandmother she was forbidden to meet and to a historic family home full of talismans from her ancestors.

Poignant, arresting, unsettling, The Probable Future showcases the lavish literary gifts that have made Alice Hoffman one of America’s most treasured writers.

Review:

"[O]verstuffed, ungainly, improbably absorbing....Enough stylish invention here for several novels, but this one's center cannot hold." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"By Part II, The Probable Future becomes The Predictable Novel. The charm wears off, despite Hoffman's continuous, vigorous crafting of imagery and casting of lyrical phrases." Catherine Newton, The Dallas Star Telegram

Review:

"Hoffman gives us another over-the-top yet thoroughly appealing fictional confection, with themes and settings that recall her Practical Magic....Filled with vivid (if sometimes sketchy) characters and cinematic descriptions of New England landscapes, this book will be a hit wherever Hoffman is in demand." Library Journal

Review:

"[S]himmering....[A] soft and dreamy tale of mothers and daughters, love and fate, that easily envelopes us in its enchanted realm....[T]here's no arguing with Hoffman's storytelling skills, the lyrical writing, the beautifully pieced plot." Nancy Pate, Orlando Sentinel

Review:

"Complexly constructed, with intertwined plots, memorable settings, and intriguing characters, this is a magnificent novel." School Library Journal

Review:

"The book could be an episode of Oprah: 'Good Witches Who Love the Wrong Men.' But fortunately, Hoffman is saved by her characters, who are nearly as complicated as their relationships with one another." Susan Wickstrom, The Oregonian (Portland, OR)

Review:

"Hoffman's ethereal prose reflects the magic of her tale....Ultimately, the fantastic Swallow legend is utterly believable, even though you know it's only the magic of a gifted writer in her prime." Diane Carman, The Denver Post

Synopsis:

By turns chilling and enchanting The Probable Future chronicles the Sparrows' legacy as young Stella struggles to cope with her disturbing clairvoyance. Culminating in an exquisite ending, this story showcases the lavish literary gifts that have made Hoffman one of America's most treasured writers.

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a_co, April 27, 2007 (view all comments by a_co)
The book I read The Probable Future by Alice Hoffman. This story has a lot of settings but there are two major settings. One is the Cake House that is designed like a wedding cake and this house is a house a lot of people avoid because of the past with the family. The Cake House is were mother and daughter enemies put them aside and wok together. The other major setting is the Tea house, the tea house becomes the third home Stella lives at and were she gets her first real kiss from a boy just like Stella?s dad, a bad kid. If she didn?t move to this house she might of gotten murdered so it is the teahouse that keeps her alive. This book also has a lot of important characters but the major characters are Elinor, Jenny, Will, and Stella. Elinor is Jenny?s mother who deserted her when her husband died; she left Jenny to care for herself, which may be the reason why her and Jenny don?t get along very well. Elinor has a special gift she got on her 13th birthday that made her and Jenny?s relationship even worse, she can tell when someone is lying. The next major character is Jenny, the daughter to Elinor and the mother to Stella. When Jenny was a senior in High School she ran away on her 13th birthday with Will her ex-husband now. Jenny and her daughter Stella?s relationship are like her grandmother and her mother?s relationship, disagreeing and disliking of each other. Jenny?s special gift she got on her 13th birthday was she can dream other people?s dreams and because of that gift she feel in love with Will. The next major character is Will who got charged with a murder. He went to the police station to warn them but turned out that his warning made him become a suspect to the murder. Will?s self-centerness made his daughter Stella?s safety unsafe. Also because his self-absorb ness he let Stella?s birthday present get stolen which is bad because now the robber can find Stella. The last major character is Stella who has one major quality that makes her different then all the other girls in the Sparrow family; she has blond hair instead of black hair, which is odd. On her 13th birthday it was a normal day with the fighting with her mother and complaining. When she was at school she got really bad headaches and head to got home but before she went home she looked at her teacher and saw a bone stuck in her throat. When she got home she called her dad and they went out to dinner. At the restaurant the saw a lady getting her throat slit and this is what started the whole murder case. If you haven?t figured it out Stella?s gift is she can see who people are going to die. As the story goes on she is forced to move to the Cake house for her safety from the reporters. She must start high school without any friends but there she meets two boys that could be her true love. One is Hap a nice smart boy who has know her family and family friends. The other is Jimmy a kid like her father, a troublemaker, but when she is around him she feels I nervous nauseas stomach felling she doesn?t feel when she is around Hap. Everything is happing so fast and the next thing is she is forced again to move into the Teahouse for her safety because her self-absorbed dad ruins her safeness. At the Teahouse she feels more at home with her friend Liza, thee owner of the Teahouse. When her mother moves back to the teahouse she meets Matt Wills brother and they fall in love. In this book I think Alice Hoffman is trying to accomplish writing a good book and a lesson of a lot of things can happen in your life good or bad but those problems are still easier to overcome with family even if you aren?t close. Alice Hoffman is known for her magical and fantasy but at the same time real tone to her writing. Her attitude is she uses real places that mean a lot to her but she doesn?t always use real events that happened. Her themes of her book are sometimes to understand because she writes in a magical fantasy way. I think that the theme of this book is appreciate what you have and what is given to you even if you don?t get the point of it or don?t like it because it can come in handy later on in your life. Some quotes from the book that are important to the book are ?You have to do something, Stella argued. You just have to.? This is important because of what Stella said made her father keep his promise and tell the cops about what is going to happen to that lady and then that make him a suspect of the murder. The other quote is ? No. No. Not the apartment. The little house. Someone stole it.? This is an important quote because when he tells them it was stolen he is admitting to doing something wrong and it puts Stella?s safety in jeopardy. This book I believe is mainly all success. What I really liked was the magical feel to the book and how real most of it can be without the special gifts. What I didn?t like about the book was how Alice left some questions of mine unanswered like did Matt and Jenny get married or did they ever find the murder. This book will have lasting value for the people that read it but maybe not forever. For instant like I will remember this book until I forget about it but I do think in like 5 year people will still read it. I think that Alice did accomplish her goals by writing a really good book and I did learn those lessons that she was trying to teach the reader. I recommend this book to anyone who likes Alice Hoffman and even to those who don?t read Alice Hoffman.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780385507608
Author:
Hoffman, Alice
Publisher:
Random House
Location:
New York
Subject:
General
Subject:
Murder
Subject:
Women
Subject:
New england
Subject:
Mothers and daughters
Subject:
Psychological
Subject:
Suspense
Subject:
Suspense fiction
Subject:
Grandmothers
Subject:
Domestic fiction
Subject:
Clairvoyants
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st ed.
Series Volume:
GTR-558
Publication Date:
June 24, 2003
Binding:
Hardcover
Language:
English
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
9.48x6.38x1.13 in. 1.33 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Suspense

The Probable Future Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.95 In Stock
Product details 336 pages Doubleday Books - English 9780385507608 Reviews:
"Review A Day" by , "At her best, Hoffman uses small miracles to signify a secular state of grace: in one particularly lovely passage, a doctor remembers coming to terms with death. But The Probable Future is mostly not Alice Hoffman at her best. Things are out of balance: too much magic, not enough realism." (read the entire TLS review)
"Review" by , "[O]verstuffed, ungainly, improbably absorbing....Enough stylish invention here for several novels, but this one's center cannot hold."
"Review" by , "By Part II, The Probable Future becomes The Predictable Novel. The charm wears off, despite Hoffman's continuous, vigorous crafting of imagery and casting of lyrical phrases."
"Review" by , "Hoffman gives us another over-the-top yet thoroughly appealing fictional confection, with themes and settings that recall her Practical Magic....Filled with vivid (if sometimes sketchy) characters and cinematic descriptions of New England landscapes, this book will be a hit wherever Hoffman is in demand."
"Review" by , "[S]himmering....[A] soft and dreamy tale of mothers and daughters, love and fate, that easily envelopes us in its enchanted realm....[T]here's no arguing with Hoffman's storytelling skills, the lyrical writing, the beautifully pieced plot."
"Review" by , "Complexly constructed, with intertwined plots, memorable settings, and intriguing characters, this is a magnificent novel."
"Review" by , "The book could be an episode of Oprah: 'Good Witches Who Love the Wrong Men.' But fortunately, Hoffman is saved by her characters, who are nearly as complicated as their relationships with one another."
"Review" by , "Hoffman's ethereal prose reflects the magic of her tale....Ultimately, the fantastic Swallow legend is utterly believable, even though you know it's only the magic of a gifted writer in her prime."
"Synopsis" by , By turns chilling and enchanting The Probable Future chronicles the Sparrows' legacy as young Stella struggles to cope with her disturbing clairvoyance. Culminating in an exquisite ending, this story showcases the lavish literary gifts that have made Hoffman one of America's most treasured writers.
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