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Practical Magic Paperback – 1 Jan 2002

4.3 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099429179
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099429173
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,938 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"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)

Book Description

'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 Yorker

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Lucy Reynolds VINE VOICE on 15 Oct. 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Before you pick up this book forget the movie adaptation, Sandra Bullock, and Nicole Kidman.
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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I accidently watched the film adaptation one evening when there was nothing else on t.v, the film was quite good considering that it had been given the Hollywood treatment so I thought I'd give the book a go, Im so glad I did its one of the best books I have ever read, the author has the ability to make you really visualise the wisteria, roses etc.. and to feel the weather and moods of all the people in the story, some "witchy, magical" books for adults are written in a very childish manner leaving you feeling a little patronised but this one is a big exception !!.

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..
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Format: Paperback
The movie version of this story is one of the most fun, exhilerating movies - a favorite in this household. This book bears very little relation to the movie. The only similarities are that the main characters exist as they do in the movie, but they don't live with the aunts and magic is not quite the focus as it was in the movie.
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.
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Format: Paperback
Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

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.
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Format: Paperback
The film, although enjoyable became a truly 'Hollywood' version of what is essentially an excellent novel from this seasoned writer.
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.
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