A glimpse inside author Alice
Hoffman’s enchanting career
WHO DOESN’T love a little touch of magic? And what
better way to encounter it
than packaged in one of my
favorite novels from proli;c
author Alice Hoffman.
The book follows three
women who are in love
with the wrong men.
Madeline ;nds herself
attracted to her sister’s
;ancé. Frieda, a doctor’s
daughter, has run off to
London to become the muse
of an ill-fated rock star. And
Bryn is set to marry an
Englishman although she’s
secretly obsessed with her
ex-husband. And then
there’s Lucy. Several years
ago she witnessed a terrible
accident in the hotel where
the three other women have
This novel leaves little
doubt that Hoffman’s gift
lies in her ability to write
about relationships with an
ease that seems as natural
The Third Angel is
available in most Costco
For more book picks,
see page 59.
By Hope Katz Gibbs
LOVE. LOSS. SURVIVORSHIP. These are the
themes at the heart of the 18 novels, eight young
adult books and three books of short fiction that
the prolific Alice Hoffman has crafted since beginning her career in 1973.
Her novel Here on Earth was an Oprah Book
Club choice in 1998. That same year,
Bullock and Nicole Kidman. Her
young-adult novel Aquamarine made it
to the silver screen in 2006, starring
teen queens Joanna “JoJo” Levesque,
Emma Roberts and Sara Paxton.
Hoffman says that while it’s thrilling to watch her books make a splash
in theaters, her goal is to understand
life’s biggest questions. Her novel At
Risk, for instance, concerns a family
dealing with AIDS, and can be found on the reading lists of many universities, colleges and secondary schools.
“I have a deep desire to find the answers to
questions about love, death and how to cope with
disappointment,” the 50-something writer tells The
Connection from her home outside Boston. “I work
to find those answers through writing, because it’s
not really something you can do in everyday life.”
The supernatural is another theme that the
writer weaves through her work— including this
month’s book pick, The Third Angel, a story that
came to Hoffman when she was on a book tour in
London back in the 1980s.
“When you read the book you’ll find out that
there’s the suggestion of a ghost sighting, and that
part is true,” she insists. “I heard what may have
been a ghost in the hallway of the hotel. That got my
The author says that as a kid growing up on Long
Island, New York, she was a fanatical reader who
loved to write, but never thought she’d
grow up to become a novelist. After
high school, she took a job at the
nearby Doubleday book factory. Then,
one day at lunch, she up and quit.
“I never really thought too much
about the future, although I did think
I’d marry Paul McCartney,” she admits.
That day, though, she realized
that her brother was right when he
suggested she go to Stanford. Soon
after, she applied for and won the
Mirrielees Fellowship at the Stanford
Creative Writing Center, where she met Professor
Albert Guerard, and his wife, the writer Maclin
They helped Hoffman publish a short story in
the magazine Fiction, which caught the eye of book
editor Ted Solotaroff. He contacted the then
21-year-old to ask if she had a novel ready.
Hoffman immediately began working on
Property Of, a book that told the tale of a lonely outsider who tries to become the “property of” a local
gang’s brooding leader—only to discover what can,
and cannot, be possessed.
While Hoffman has a strong idea and characters in mind when she sits down to write any book,
she says they almost always take on a life of their
own. That certainly holds true for her next book,
The Dovekeepers, which is expected to be a blockbuster when it’s published (and available in most
warehouses) in October.
The story begins in 70 C.E., after the fall of
Masada, when 900 Jews held out for months against
armies of Romans on the mountain in the Judean
desert. While for centuries it was thought there were
no survivors, in reading the work of the ancient historian Josephus, Hoffman discovered that two
women and five children actually may have survived.
“As soon as I learned that, I knew the novel
would be about what happened to those people,” Hoffman says, admitting that The
Dovekeepers took five years to finish, and
is one of her most ambitious works to
date. Early reviews suggest it is also
one of her most mesmerizing. Stay
tuned for more. C
COSTCO HAS 50 SIGNED COPIES of Alice
Hoffman’s The Third Angel to give away.
For a chance to win, send an email with
your name and mailing address to give
firstname.lastname@example.org, with “Alice Hoffman”
in the subject line.
Or print your name, address and daytime
phone number on a postcard or letter and send
it to: Alice Hoffman, The Costco Connection,
P.O. Box 34088, Seattle, WA 98124-1088.
NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT OF ANY KIND IS
NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN THIS SWEEPSTAKES.
Purchase will not improve odds of winning. Sweepstakes is sponsored
by Random House, 1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019. Open to legal
residents of the U. S. (except Puerto Rico) who are age 18 or older at the
time of entry. One entry per household. Entries must be received by
October 1, 2011. Winners will be randomly selected and noti;ed by mail on
or before November 1, 2011. The value of the prize is $14.95. Void where
prohibited. Winners are responsible for all applicable federal, state and local
taxes. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received.
Employees of Costco or Random House and their families are not eligible.
Signed book giveaway
Hope Katz Gibbs is a freelancer in