From the beloved, best-selling author of The Dovekeepers, a mesmerizing new novel about the electric and impassioned love between two vastly different souls in New York during the volatile first decades of the 20th century.
Coney Island: Coralie Sardie is the daughter of the impresario behind The Museum of Extraordinary Things, a boardwalk freak show that amazes and stimulates the crowds. An exceptional swimmer, Coralie appears as the Mermaid in her father's "museum", alongside performers like the Wolfman, the Butterfly Girl, and a 100-year-old turtle. One night Coralie stumbles upon a striking young man photographing moonlit trees in the woods off the Hudson River.
The dashing photographer is Eddie Cohen, a Russian immigrant who has run away from his father's Lower East Side Orthodox community and his job as an apprentice tailor. When Eddie captures with his camera the devastation on the streets of New York following the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, he becomes embroiled in the mystery behind a young woman's disappearance.
New York itself becomes a riveting character as Hoffman weaves her magic, romance, and masterful storytelling to unite Coralie and Eddie in a sizzling, tender, and moving story of young love in tumultuous times. The Museum of Extraordinary Things is Hoffman at her most spellbinding.
©2014 Alice Hoffman (P)2014 Simon & Schuster Audio
It has history, intrigue, mystery, romance, magic and a wonderful way of telling stories. The way it's told is what I enjoyed the most two protagonists and one narrator that keeps things moving along. If you enjoy or are in the mood for something really different, pick up this listen.
The story was a bit slow, but if I had enjoyed the narration I may have kept listening.
Judith Light did not narrate well, especially the dialogue. It was very flat and without inflection.
What an unusual book. Alice Hoffman has a unique writing style. I read the Dovekeepers and this book and at the conclusion felt the same way. Good book but very unusual. This book wasn’t as good as the Dovekeepers, but it was unique and good in its own way. The characters were unusual and the plot was bazaar with twists and turns every step of the way. It was one of those books that I just kept reading, yet didn’t feel a sense of satisfaction when it was completed. Maybe that was because of the sadness and pain of the majority of the characters. Definitely different, but worth the read.
Teach art history at a local college.
Weaving in and out of events at the turn of the century, Hoffman describes the immigrant
experience in believable and vivid details. It's possible to connect the Triangle Shirtwaist fire to the events of 9/11. The young victims who leapt from the windows seem as real as the televised events, and the stories are just as heartbreaking.
The least enjoyable aspect of this story were the cardboard characters whose back stories we could not fathom: Eddie's father and the so-called professor.
This narrative would be greatly improved with a different reader.
Judith Light is a wonderful actress, as evidenced in "Transparent," but she is not the narrator I would have wished for. In places, the dreaminess of her voice reminded me of reading a child's goodnight story; it was almost soporific and I had to remind myself about the tale and it's adult themes.
When Cora and Eddie were adult, and could speak their own stories, the narrative was engrossing. When Light read those parts, it was distressing because she used the same tone for each.
I listen to many books. There are those whose narrator makes it impossible to continue, and generally I don't finish them. Hoffman is an excellent writer, and the story line was compelling. So despite the narrator, I continued to listen.
Judith Lights narration was spot on. The other two paled in comparison. Although this is historical fiction, it read like a great novel.
except for Grace Gummer...her voice was not one I wanted for Coralee..too bland
A wonderful mix of history I only knew peripherally, and brilliant characters.
No, I purchased it for convenience but would've rather read.
I'm not familiar with other narrators, but the main one in this story tried too hard to sound like characters whose lines she was delivering. It became distracting. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for appropriate tone and delivery. But her execution came off as silly.
This work by Alice Hoffman does not disappoint. Bringing together several events of 1911 that take place in New York City, this novel delves deep into the motivations and truths of new immigrants, blue collar workers, and the underbelly of Coney Island. The book is narrated in 3 voices that bring the story to life.
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