I know the novelist Alice Hoffman has many devoted readers, although I know only a few. She has had a long writing career, and an examination of my downstairs bookcases shows I have at least 15 of her adult novels, as well as probably a few more (along with her YA ones), upstairs. Some of her early works (Fortune’s Daughter, White Horses,The Drowning Season) were republished when her later ones became popular. Practical Magic won a wide audience when it was (very loosely) adapted into a movie.
Hoffman’s writing is unique: the gentle magical realism of many of her novels, the lyrical quality of all her prose. Hoffman is the poet of summer the way Ray Bradbury is the poet of autumn. To read her descriptions of a summer evening is to be there, smelling the warm asphalt, pressing a cold can of beer against your sweaty neck, hearing the cicadas.
My very favorite Alice Hoffman novel is her first (written when she was only 21, which I find kind of depressing): Property Of. There’s a nameless teenage female narrator with an unforgettable voice spinning a love story, a tale of gangs, addiction, death, loss. Romeo and Juliet became West Side Story became something as lyrical and gritty as a Springsteen song.
If you feel inspired to read it, or have already read it, please let me know what you think. Here’s a link to Hoffman’s complete bibliography: