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
I really enjoyed this strange and vivid book. It is a delicate balance of precise history - the Triangle Shirt Factory fire, Coney Island at the turn of the 20th Century - and near fantasy. The narrative kept bringing to mind half-forgotten pictures, so much so I found myself online, trying to see if the images in the book were real, or imagined.
It takes great narration to pull off this kind of story - without complete conviction, some of the more fantastical elements could derail the flow pretty quickly, I think, but the two voices do a terrific job. My only disappointment, strangely, was the author interview bonus at the end. It's lovely that the author and narrator like and admire each other so deeply, but it doesn't make for insightful conversation.
Tell us about yourself!
Go back to 1910 - 1911 and lose yourself in New York City. You will not be disappointed with this book.
I struggle with what to say about this book. I think the main problem I had was that the story focused so much in description of historic facts amd locations. typically i would be fine with that and, in fact, find it interesting. However, i felt that, in this instance, it actually took away from the other storylines and subplots that were developing. i felt like the romance and mystery subolplots kind if fell by the wayside. The story was engaging and i felt myself react to all the goings on, but i felt like the overwhelming amount of detail in the minutiae took away from the overall story.
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 strengths of this story are the unique characters and well-researched historical detail. But somehow, the pie ex of the story don't coalesce into a smooth narrative. The (3) separate narrators may have added to this. I agree, Judith Light's narration was a distraction. ( Grace Gummer and Zack Appleman were fine ). My favorite "character " was the 100-year tortoise ...... probably not what the author was trying for.
Peeved in Phoenix
I'm about a third of the way through the book but Judith Light's narration is so irritating that I don't think I'll be able to listen to the rest of it. She reads this book like she's reading a fairy tale to a kindergartener. Just awful.
I was hoping that I would be able to buy this book on my Kindle and read the parts that Judith Light narrates but it's not offered. What a disappointment!
Excellent history-based fiction about New York City, Coney Island, and how terrible women and children were treated in the early 1900s. Alice Hoffman does an outstanding job of bringing multiple characters to life. My grandmother and mother worked for the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU) in the 1950-60's, so the references to working conditions fifty years earlier was extremely interesting and horrifying.
I have cried only one other time while listening to a book and this one made it the second time. It is one of the most beautifully written novels I have ever read and has become one of my top 5 all time favorites so far. I was fully invested in each and every character and felt each joy and heartache.
Judith Light's narration was one of the most mesmerizing I have ever heard, her passion for every single word she spoke drew me in and I felt as if I was standing in the shadows and could see/hear/smell every detail. This is truly one of the most enjoyable, albeit heartbreaking, books I've experienced on audible.com thus far.
I loved that this was historically based. I looked up several of the events and was fascinated. It was well written and narrated; and easy to immerse oneself in the characters. I highly recommend this book, and will look into listening to the author's other books as well.
Just a Northern MN girl in love with books...so much that she shares her passion. Teaching is NOT just a career; it is a choice and calling
I like the stories of extraordinary things...and this one did not disappoint. it took a while for the plot lines to merge. One amazing scene, Regretfully closer to the beginning. I was hoping it was that good throughout. still a worthy read.
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