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The Probable Future Paperback – 7 Aug 2003

3.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Chatto & Windus (7 Aug. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0701175125
  • ISBN-13: 978-0701175122
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 2.5 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,332,713 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

The Probable Future is another novel in which Alice Hoffman makes judicious use of genre material to dramatise fairly conventional stories of romantic love, families and communities. For centuries, ever since the murder of their ancestress Rebecca as a suspected witch, the Sparrow women have inherited powers and tended to keep quiet about them.

Evelyn has a gift for knowing who is lying to her, her daughter Jenny a tendency to dream men's dreams alongside them and young Stella knows what deaths are likely to come to the people she meets or even sees. One attempt by Stella to change a future leads to her feckless father Will being suspected of the murder he tried to prevent.

One of the strengths of the novel is that misfortune is not especially good for Will, who exploits the situation as totally as he has exploited everything and everyone in his life--Hoffman is good on just how much damage can be done by someone who is not malicious, merely weak. In the end, though, this is a novel about healing--which is as much a matter of goodwill as of powers. --Roz Kaveney

Book Description

A magical new novel by a world-class writer whose ability to fuse the domestic and the uncanny within a magnetically compelling and beautifully written narrative is unrivalled.

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
After reading the blurb for this book, I really wanted to read it. I loved the idea of every daughter getting a special ability on her thirteenth birthday, and I loved the idea of the youngest - Stella - being able to see how people would die. Unfortunately once I started reading the book I felt really let down. The powers were barely even a part of the story, and the whole thing just felt really wishy-washey. This is a real shame as the idea was really brilliant, I was expecting something involving witches, dark mystical powers, a bit of mystery, some intrigue, maybe even a witch hunt, but instead got some Sunday afternoon, wander round the park, barely worth reading attempt at a novel. Even when things did happen which could have been interesting, they were played down in such a way that they were made trivial, for example - at one point Stella cuts off all her hair with nail scissors and dyes what is left black. However, Stella gets so little attention following this stunt, you would thing she had cut her nails not her hair!
Overall I was disappointed with this book, whoever wrote the blurb deserves an award for making a book that reads like a tranquiliser sound like a book that reads like caffeine.
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Format: Paperback
I have to admit to being quite a fan of Alice Hoffman's work, but my reading tastes are widespread and you are just as likely to find me reading Jane Austen or Harlan Coben, so I do come to each new book by Alice Hoffman with a fresh pair of eyes!
This book starts with a typical Hoffman opening chapter, skips along quite easily and 'feels' rather like many of her other works. However, get a little further along and the words really do run deeper, giving this book much more atmosphere than you normally find. I really did care about all three generations of the family this story revolves around and I did find it a hard book to put down, not from the pace of the storyline, but more from the raw emotions described for each character. You just cannot help but care.
A truly haunting book and the first of Hoffman's I've wanted to re-read. Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
As an avid reader of Hoffmans' books, following my discovery of Practical Magic, I have at times been disappointed (see Illumination Night!) This marks a fine return to form and was thoroughly enjoyable. Hoffmans trademark intermingling of the natural and supernatural is at its'peak as she unravels the tale of the Sparrow women through the ages. If you are wanting to experience the journey of these women as they come to terms with the effects that their history is having on their now then buy this book and hop aboard for the journey is a magical one!
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Format: Paperback
Usually I love Alice Hoffman books (Practical Magic and Seventh Heaven being particular favourites) but The Probable Future was quite disappointing. Written in the same vein as Practical Magic, it lacks any depth or connection with its characters. I felt no desire to finish the book or any care for the characters. The winding up of characters was was not only probable but predictable. Buy it if you are a die hard Hoffman fan and always fail to see endings coming, but otherwise buy Practical Magic for the same kind of tale told brilliantly or Seventh Heaven for an intriguing surburbian tale. Or Here on Earth, or Turtle Moon....I could go on and on!
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