Practical Magic Paperback – 1 Jan 2002
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"A great atmospheric storyteller... Her books are a real pleasure" (Kate Atkinson Independent)
"Like her contemporaries, Carol Shields and Alice Munro, Hoffman has an acute eye for detail... [she] writes with heartbreaking clarity" (The Times)
"Alice Hoffman is simply brilliant" (Daily Mail)
'Alice Hoffman is a daring and able writer; she plots conjunctions of mundane and magical events with such ease that the reader never doubts her word' New YorkerSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The film is great, but it's been given the Hollywood treatment.
The book is wonderful.
Like most readers, I expected the quirky tale of two witchy sisters and their crazy old witchy Aunts. I didn't expect the amount of character exploration, the wit, the darkness, and the way that the magic is subtly referred to throughout, but not over-stated. I guess that's the meaning of "Practical" Magic though!
It's a really great read, and well worth the money.
Highly recommend this book its really a feelgood story which is quite different from Hoffmans other tales which are a little on the depressive side to say the least.... 10 out of 10 for this one though..
Now, that said ...
This is one of the best books I've had the opportunity to read. Written in the beautiful prose Alice Hoffman is so well known for, it follows the life of Gillian and Sally as they go on their diverse paths. Sally is the stable widow with two girls in tow. She leaves the aunts in New England, leaving her sad life behind, and moves to a Long Island suburb with her two girls where tries to live a normal life. Meanwhile, Gillian is a bad girl who is in and out of relationships and in and out of trouble. She finds the awful, abusive Jimmy and eventually kills him accidentally while enroute to visit her sister. Unsure of what to do, she brings him to her sister's house dead in the passenger seat of the car - she thinks stable Sally would know what to do to keep her out of jail. Sally meets the situation with borderline hysteria at first, then the two decide to bury him in Sally's backyard. Gillian moves in with Sally and her girls and tries to forget the body in the back yard. Sally's boring, stable life changes dramatically while Gillian's naughty life changes to a more stable one. Meanwhile they are haunted by the evil spirit of Jimmy, threatening to destroy the tenuous stability they try to build.
This book is not written in standard chapters - instead it is written in four large sections. Fortunately there are enough scene breaks in each section that you can put it down and read it in separate sittings.Read more ›
Publisher: Vintage Books, London
Year of Publication: 1995
Close the curtains, turn down the lights and get ready for the witching hour with Alice Hoffman’s Practical Magic.
Gillian and Sally, the Owens Sisters, take us on a journey to explore life, the magic it holds within and the practicality it often requires. After running away from their colourful childhood with Jet and Frances, the Owens Matriarchs, they are all thrown back together again when Gillian appears, having murdered her hellish boyfriend Jimmy. The fragile glasshouse of suburban life that Sally meticulously built around herself and her daughters comes shattering down when she is forced to choose between her sister or her idyllic life. Practical Magic is a beautifully woven story of three generations of women who have to learn to love one another while learning how to deal with life, both magical and normal.
The main highlight of Practical Magic was undoubtedly the aunts and the power they seem to have on anybody they encounter; Hoffman created formidable women that let nothing from rain to infatuated men get in the way of their own unique brand of magic. While the characters themselves work the craft, it is not magical in the same way that the Bishop family is in Deborah Harkness’ All Souls Trilogy nor as enchanting as the women of Melissa de la Cruz’s Beauchamp Family series . Instead, they are gritty old women that have made their own magic though it is never physically seen. They mix potions and sacrifice birds rather than throw flames or lightning bolts.Read more ›
As always happens, the characters were used out of context and the film abridged much of the real story within the story. The same can be said of many novels adapted for film and TV and should always be seen at face value. Always read the book before you watch the film
The novel, however is a triumph for the females of the species once again. Balancing the bewitching and the bewildering, the harsh and the downy.
The first Alice Hoffman novel I read and a real epiphany, I haven't read another author since.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Nothing like the the film, far far better! This was my first time to read a book by Alice Hoffman and I fell so in love with her style of writing, she had me so reeled in that I... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Laura
I saw the movie before reading this book. It's almost like reading a different story. It's a good book but sadly for some I enjoyed the movie more. That's just me.Published 1 month ago by k.j-one
It arrived yesterday in new condition via Amazon Prime and I must say I felt the price was very fair considering used books are selling at almost the same price! Read morePublished 3 months ago by Daniel Rogan
Very good book, very clean copy for a second hand one. Great service, many thanks xPublished 5 months ago by Carmen
rather a disappointment...i have not seen the film, and will not..bought the book because of good reviews, but i have found it slow, boring, badly paced and rather badly... Read morePublished 7 months ago by april