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The Probable Future

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The Probable Future Cover

ISBN13: 9780345455918
ISBN10: 0345455916
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

Only 1 left in stock at $3.50!

 

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:

The women of the Sparrow family have lived in New England for generations. Each is born in the month of March, and at the age of thirteen, each develops an unusual gift. Elinor can literally smell a lie. Her daughter, Jenny, can see peoples dreams as theyre dreaming them. Granddaughter Stella, newly a teen, has just developed the ability to see how other people will die. Ironically, it is their gifts that have kept Elinor and Jenny apart for the last twenty-five years. But as Stella struggles to cope with her disturbing clairvoyance, the unthinkable happens: One of her premonitions lands her father in jail, wrongly accused of homicide. The ordeal leads Stella to the grandmother shes never met and to Cake House, the Sparrow ancestral home full of talismans and fraught with history. Now three generations of estranged Sparrow women must come together to turn Stellas potential to ruin into a potential to redeem.

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

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:

"[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:

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

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 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:

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

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.

About the Author

Alice Hoffman is the author of fifteen acclaimed novels, most recently Blue Diary. She lives outside Boston.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

sentina, June 4, 2012 (view all comments by sentina)
I wrote about this before, and now I have more to say:

I was stunned by the deep insight into the minds of both men and women in this book, and I loved the way the author makes the current teen with her special power a very modern and realistic teenager.

The way Hoffman explores the challenging relationships between grandmother, mother, daughter, and the men in their lives, is quite moving and sometimes sad, especially when it isn't expressed until the end of someone's life.

These women all have exceptional and unique talents that they acquire upon their 13th birthdays, such as smelling a lie, seeing other people's dreams, and seeing how people will die. How they live with these in society is part of the challenge of their lives, as is figuring out how to use their powers for good.

The book also explores the "unofficial history" vs the official history of the town, looking at the ways these women affect the community beyond just facts, including the history of the persecution of "witches," one of the women's ancestors being one who died as one.

Set in New England where witch hunting was severe, this story is completely believable in that respect. Hoffman's descriptions of the environment are poetic and vivid, and you can almost feel the ghosts of persecuted "witches" in the air.

Hoffman says that she was trying to make some sense out of how unpredictable life and death are, to write about magic in the real world -- the possible and the probable future.

I thought it was wonderful, and it made me want to heal the female relationships in my family, as well as nurture and express my own unique insights and abilities.
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Sentina, January 23, 2012 (view all comments by Sentina)
Alice Hoffman has some of the most intriguing ways of using words and presenting images that I have ever read. For example, "... how it would end, with snow and silence on a brilliant afternoon," and "... the truth... once again melting in Will's mouth... so that every word came out twisted in an odd, untrustworthy shape." Sometimes I keep going back and reading such phrases over and over, they are so gripping to me.

The story takes place in current time, but goes back through several generations of the female side of the family, all the way back to when the first one was killed as a "witch," where each of the girls acquires a supernatural power on her 13th birthday, each one unique to that girl. In the story, there is only one girl born to each family, and for unexplained reasons, they apparently all keep the same matriarchal last name of Sparrow.

This book has something of a thoughtful, dreamy quality, with interesting and vivid descriptions of the Boston area in both historical and present contexts, in environment, weather, buildings, people, flowers, and sky. Marie Claire magazine is quoted as saying, "Hoffman's ethereal tale of a family of women with supernatural gifts is a magical escape, grounded in the complex relationships between mothers and daughters." Forth Worth Star-Telegram says that Hoffman has "... a beautiful sense of sentence construction, an intriguing imagination, and the ability to create compelling, complex characters that readers care about." I can't say it any better.

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(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
tattoo_dancer, October 22, 2006 (view all comments by tattoo_dancer)
I love this book..even though I havn't finished it yet, it is really good. It's full of reality and enchantments...a must read!
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(12 of 22 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780345455918
Author:
Hoffman, Alice
Publisher:
Ballantine Books
Subject:
General
Subject:
Suspense
Subject:
Mothers and daughters
Subject:
Domestic fiction
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Popular Fiction-Suspense
Subject:
fiction;magical realism;fantasy;magic;new england;family;massachusetts;supernatural;witches;mothers and daughters;women;novel;contemporary fiction;love;literary fiction;romance;clairvoyance;american fiction;psychics;daughters;mothers;relationships;generat
Copyright:
Edition Number:
Reprint ed.
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Ballantine Reader's Circle
Publication Date:
June 1, 2004
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
8 x 5.15 x .69 in .625 lb

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Related Subjects


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

The Probable Future Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$3.50 In Stock
Product details 352 pages Ballantine Books - English 9780345455918 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 , "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."
"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 , "[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 , "[O]verstuffed, ungainly, improbably absorbing....Enough stylish invention here for several novels, but this one's center cannot hold."
"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 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 , "Complexly constructed, with intertwined plots, memorable settings, and intriguing characters, this is a magnificent novel."
"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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