Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Probable Future

Author Alice Hoffman
Genre Adult Fiction, Magic Realism, Fantasy, Contemporary
Pages 322
Stand alone or series Stand Alone
Reading Difficulty 3
(on a scale of 1-5 5 = dictionary vernacular)

The Probable Future - Unity

In all of history, there have only been women born to the Sparrow family. Always in March and always with a head of inky black hair. Stella Sparrow, the thirteenth Sparrow, is the exception. On the morning of her thirteenth birthday, like all of the Sparrows before her, she receives her gift. Her mother can see other's dreams, her grandmother can smell a lie, Stella can see death. She can tell when and how someone is going to die. One of her visions lands her father in jail, pinned for murder. With Stella's ability out in the public, she and her almost-estranged mother head back to their roots, Unity. Cake House. Under the same roof, the three Sparrow's must learn to get along.

"...In all this time there had been only one baby to be born feet first, the mark of a healer, and that child was Stella Sparrow Avery. For thirteen generations, each one of the Sparrow girls had come into this world with inky hair and dark, moody eyes, but Stella was pale, her ashy hair and hazel eyes inherited, the labor nurse supposed, from her handsome father's side of the family."

Hit The Mark:
The characters are well rounded and believable. Hoffman does a good job of portraying rebellious women. I thought it was interesting that the "magic" aspects were written as less of magic and more of a natural thing. I was reminded of Practical Magic (for a good reason).

Hoffman paints vibrant scenery that draw you right into Unity. You can smell the roses and the lake water, and feel the thrones and bee flutters. 

Needs Improvement:
I guess this just isn't my thing. I had a hard time reading this novel. There wasn't a definite plot that I could see other than three women learning to get along. All the while, there was this sub-plot that I thought could have held the storyline better  a murder trial and missing killer. The entire first section of the book gets lost once everyone is in Unity. The reason for Stella's move isn't even talked about until someone comes to kill her, and even that is brushed over quickly. 

There really wasn't a main character either. It would have been okay if the main characters were the three Sparrow women, but the head character, instead, seemed to jump from person to person in the community on a whim. 

Rating: C-

If you like When Autumn Leaves The Kitchen Daughter The Limits of Enchantment, Practical Magic you might like this novel.

About the Author

Since that remarkable beginning, Alice Hoffman has become one of our most distinguished novelists. She has published a total of sixteen novels, two books of short fiction, and eight books for children and young adults. Her novel, HERE ON EARTH, an Oprah Book Club choice, was a modern reworking of some of the themes of Emily Bronte’s masterpiece Wuthering Heights. PRACTICAL MAGIC was made into a Warner film starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman. (I guess there was a reason this novel reminded me of Practical Magic).

1 comment:

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