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The Museum of Extraordinary Things Audiobook

The Museum of Extraordinary Things: A Novel

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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

4.1 (1121 )
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Performance
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  •  
    mendolin 06-04-14
    mendolin 06-04-14 Member Since 2014

    Gardening Geek

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Captivating historical fiction+Hoffman interview!"

    Alice Hoffman was my first author crush. The woman who turned me on to Hoffman's novels owned a funky eclectic bookstore where I'd have coffee and book chat whenever I could. With bated breath we'd wait for each new Alice Hoffman book, each one a gem.

    Hoffman's world is a dreamy, swim through enchanting, eerie and magical adventures with female and male underdogs conquering all obstacles in life and love. The Museum of Extraordinary Things, once you dive in, holds you as a willing captive, swimming effortlessly through the story, in which you learn, in the most intimate way, about two, otherwise obscure, events in NYC history, through the eyes of the victims and their families. Hoffman is an excellent and thorough researcher, and blends the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory and Dreamland fires of 1911 seamlessly into her always mesmerizing plots and characters. Her ventures into historical fiction, totally impress me, and this is her very best effort in this genre.

    Vividly brought to life are the workers' struggles of the 1900's, and mistreatment and arbitrary abuse to women, minorities and immigrants. Sadly, it all echoes many of the same problems with which we struggle today.

    Well done Alice Hoffman! A loyal fan I remain. Thus, so delighted was I to surprisingly find a fascinating conversation between Alice Hoffman and narrator Judith Light come on following the completion of The Museum of Extraordinary Things. Such a wonderful cure for that odd, black hole in which one finds oneself after finishing a long, really good book. The two discussed the novel, their lives, their passions, their methods, and so much more. Very, very satisfying, particularly after such an excellent read!

    31 of 31 people found this review helpful
  •  
    TheDallesmbt 05-10-14 Member Since 2015

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "An Extraordinary Experience"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This book was extremely interesting--giving a snapshot of Manhattan in the late 1800's with its diversity, specifically the chasm between the rich and poor. It was especially interesting to read of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire from a somewhat different perspective. Another very interesting aspect of the story was the description of Dreamland and the disaster it incurred.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The characters were all very unpredictable and, thus, very interesting. It was difficult to guess what would happen next. I also really liked the setting--it was beautifully described and easy to visualize.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    I enjoyed the readers giving voice to Cora and Eddie. I really struggled with the narrator, Judith Light. Her reading was so dramatic and "over the top" that I began to regret not purchasing the hard cover and simply reading it for myself. The author writes so beautifully that there was no need for the additional drama Ms. Light seemed compelled to display. I felt her narration detracted from the story.


    Who was the most memorable character of The Museum of Extraordinary Things and why?

    There were so many memorable characters that it is hard to select just one. I grew especially found of Maureen and Mr. Morrison--but I also enjoyed the main characters, the hermit, the livery man and, of course, Mitts.


    Any additional comments?

    Even with the difficult narration, I would still strongly recommend this book. It had everything a good book should have--excellent setting, characters and plot.

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jace Greensboro, NC, United States 02-28-14
    Jace Greensboro, NC, United States 02-28-14 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Trudged through"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    No. I kept waiting for something interesting to happen....for the main character's lives to intertwine. It was a long wait!


    If you’ve listened to books by Alice Hoffman before, how does this one compare?

    I love Alice Hoffman and own many of her titles. This one was a disappointment. It just wasn't an interesting story.


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

    This was the worst part. Judith Light did a terrible job. She can not change voices for different characters and different emotions. Her only change from her normal voice was to read the characters in clipped stilted speech which was unbelievable and irritating . I think this book might have a chance with another reader. Someone with better range. The other two narrators were okay.


    Was The Museum of Extraordinary Things worth the listening time?

    Not really.


    13 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Rivlin Portland OR 04-24-14
    J. Rivlin Portland OR 04-24-14 Listener Since 2004

    JoeZ

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Coney Island then..."
    What disappointed you about The Museum of Extraordinary Things?

    The narrator is a disaster. Really hard to understand for major portions of the book. I grew up in Coney Island during the 40's and 50's and have mostly very good memories. Listening to some of the history was terrific but the narrator really interrupted any enjoyment I was getting.


    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Stickley 01-20-16
    S. Stickley 01-20-16 Member Since 2014
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    "I loved the three reader presentation!"

    They served the story - the pain, confusion, fear, hope - well. It's not my favorite Hoffman novel, but it is deeply felt and compelling.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hallie Northern Virginia 04-01-14
    Hallie Northern Virginia 04-01-14 Member Since 2017

    R. T. Red

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "No Way Judith Light?"

    Who's bright idea was it to have Judith Light narrate? Her reading frustrated me so bad I gave up on the book. Oh and I can listen to hours and hours of the narrator for Jack Reacher stories.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Davis Southern, CA 03-28-14
    S. Davis Southern, CA 03-28-14 Member Since 2016

    bibliophile

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Disappointed"
    What would have made The Museum of Extraordinary Things better?

    Maybe reading the book instead of listening to the book would have made this story better.


    Has The Museum of Extraordinary Things turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No.


    How could the performance have been better?

    Judith Light's performance ruined the whole thing for me. I almost gave up.
    It felt like she was reading to a 3 year old.


    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sharon 03-07-17
    Sharon 03-07-17

    Like historical fiction, Christian fiction/romance, classics, children's/teen fiction, fantasy. Paranormal is okay. No witchcraft/vampires.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Perverted father raises deformed girl in freakshow"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    I suppose I wish I never listened to it. I rarely put a book aside without finishing it, so I did finish the story today. In the sense that I learned about Coney Island during the early 1900s, I definitely think it was time well-spent. I'm from Texas, but I lived in New York during the years surrounding 9/11, often visiting Coney Island, still a seedy place, but worth the visit. Plus, my husband's great-grandparents were tight-rope walkers who worked on Coney Island around the time of the story, so I was interested in the history. However, despite the historical aspect, the good plot and interesting characters, the book had some very disturbing scenes in it. The heroine's father is evil. I think his acts were important to the story line, especially in contrast to the hero's father, but I do not think it was necessary to go into great detail about his vile behavior. Imagine if Victor Hugo had gone into detail what Fantine went through as a prostitute, for example, in Les Miserables. I can recommend Les Miserables to my children, but I cannot recommend this book to anyone in good conscience. I did not like it for the same reason I would never read Nabokov's Lolita. I think some bad things in life are not meant to be subjects for the entertainment of readers.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Alice Hoffman again?

    If I do, I will read many, many reviews first. Her writing is actually really good. I just think it would be easier to read/listen to her work without the graphic content. However, I have recently read many reviews of The Museum of Extraordinary Things and can't find many references to the issues I had with the book. Rather, many people didn't like the insta-love between the heroine and hero or the fact that their relationship began about halfway through the novel. That part, I was okay with. I think there was a good lead up to that first meeting. So reviews aren't always reliable when it comes to sensitive material.


    Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favorite?

    Maurine, the housekeeper who raises Coralie.


    Do you think The Museum of Extraordinary Things needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No, I think the ending was final.


    Any additional comments?

    Anyone who has read Setterfield's The Thirteenth Tale (a great book by the way) might understand when I say there's one scene in that book that's quite hard to read. If that scene disturbed you, do not read this book. I was very uncomfortable listening to several scenes in The Museum of Extraordinary Things.

    I will say that I enjoyed the narration by Judith Light (Who's the Boss actress). The book goes back and forth between the narrator, Coralie's and Eddie's viewpoints. Judith Light was the narrator. There was a female narrator who spoke for Coralie and a male narrator who spoke for Eddie. They were fine but sounded rather modern to me. However, Judith Light was great, not because she differentiated greatly between characters. She was subtle, changing her voice slightly. It was more because I forgot she was there. I just was immersed in the story. I would like to listen to another of her narrations.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William Hoyt Merrimac, MA USA 12-06-15
    William Hoyt Merrimac, MA USA 12-06-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Fabulous"

    Fabulous . Learned some history of NYC From 1911 in a fascinating story. Different from any others I have read.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amanda 11-18-15
    Amanda 11-18-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Loved it!"
    Any additional comments?

    The historical background to this novel is so interesting. The characters are well-drawn and their motivations and actions are truly believable. I totally enjoyed this novel!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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