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The Museum of Extraordinary Things: A Novel | [Alice Hoffman]

The Museum of Extraordinary Things: A Novel

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    green ice cream garden miramar, FL United States 07-06-15
    green ice cream garden miramar, FL United States 07-06-15 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Extraordinary!"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janice Deneau 06-10-15 Member Since 2014
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    4
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    "Excellent"

    Alice Hoffman knows how to touch our hearts. Her characters are well developed and fit together in a cohesive enjoyable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tracy Lockard Clarendon Hills, IL United States 06-05-15
    Tracy Lockard Clarendon Hills, IL United States 06-05-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Did not like the Judith Light narration"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The story was a bit slow, but if I had enjoyed the narration I may have kept listening.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Judith Light did not narrate well, especially the dialogue. It was very flat and without inflection.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Compute 04-30-15
    Compute 04-30-15 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Unique"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Harriet Boca Raton, FL, United States 04-21-15
    Harriet Boca Raton, FL, United States 04-21-15

    Teach art history at a local college.

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    "New York:A New Century, A New City"
    What did you like best about The Museum of Extraordinary Things? What did you like least?

    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.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    This narrative would be greatly improved with a different reader.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    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.


    Was The Museum of Extraordinary Things worth the listening time?

    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.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deanne VanAusdal 04-15-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Great story and narration."

    Judith Lights narration was spot on. The other two paled in comparison. Although this is historical fiction, it read like a great novel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Middleburg, VA, United States 03-18-15
    Linda Middleburg, VA, United States 03-18-15 Member Since 2010
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    "Fascinating !!!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Museum of Extraordinary Things to be better than the print version?

    Always


    What other book might you compare The Museum of Extraordinary Things to and why?

    Divisadero


    Would you listen to another book narrated by the narrators?

    except for Grace Gummer...her voice was not one I wanted for Coralee..too bland


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    NO


    Any additional comments?

    A wonderful mix of history I only knew peripherally, and brilliant characters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sereader 02-09-15
    sereader 02-09-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Wonderful!"

    Judith Light does an amazing job as the narrator! She lends the magical quality that an Alice Hoffman story deserves & I enjoyed it thoroughly!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ian Tsuda 02-06-15
    Ian Tsuda 02-06-15
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    "Great story prevails despite over-acting narrator"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Museum of Extraordinary Things to be better than the print version?

    No, I purchased it for convenience but would've rather read.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of the narrators?

    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.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary H. Molinaro Lexington KY 01-18-15
    Mary H. Molinaro Lexington KY 01-18-15 Member Since 2009
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    "More than just a novel"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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