Like a moth to a flame...

The Museum of Extraordinary Things - Alice Hoffman

                        Arc provided by Scribner through Netgalley

 

Told in dual points of view, The Museum of Extraordinary Things paints a vivid portrait of the american society in the beginning of the twentieth century.

In her unique voice, Alice Hoffman, mixes historical facts with her trademark magic realism storytelling.

Through memories of both main characters and the narrator's voice, she tells us of a time long gone, and episodes that most of us have ignored throughout our lifes.

The working conditions of the immigrants. The absence of civil rights. The rise of the unions.

A lawless land, fertile ground for the enrichment of the wealthy, and exploration of the desperate working class.

 

Alice Hoffman is however capable of finding "gold", _or if you wish, to create it _ in what most authors would see as only plain and boring landscape. 

 

She writes about family ties. About hope and wonder. She gives voice to tragic episodes for long coated in dust. 

She gives wings to people about to fall, and consequently she makes them alive in our memory once more.

 

What did I love more in this?

Everything. 

The realism of the story. 

How, through our eyes, carried by words, created by imagination and fixed in the unmoving history, people and facts came to life. Everything was just beautifully made... alive. Not in gold, but in dark black and bloody red.

 

A story of brave people who lived through the beginning of changes.

A story of a girl who wanted more of life. Who wanted to be free from the ugliness of her life.

 

So why not the five star rating?

This is the first Alice Hoffman book in which _for me _ the characters feel more alive than ever. Having the story revolve around actual facts gives them an incredible strength of character.

At the same time _ and even though I love the style _ the combination of historical facts with magical realism seemed a little more forced in certain aspects.

For instance, for the beginning of the romance between Coralie and Ed, I wanted more...

More words. Even a mere hour of traded words between them would have done the trick.

 

Also the changing points of view, that at the beginning of each chapter give us some insights into the characters' past, after a while started sounding a little confusing. 

The thing is, the text is divided as such (I was given an arc, so it is possible that this could have been changed...) : Characters' pov first person past tense, followed by a long narrator description in the present. And so on and on...

It took a little getting used to it.

 

Although, I have the idea that having the book on paper will allow for a different reading experience.

I remember that when I read the story "The Night Circus", something along the same lines happened!

But, since I had the book's paperback, going back and forth was less time consuming.

 

But these are just minor considerations in the the story's greatness.

 

Definitely a recommendation!

Now you just have to choose which edition to buy ;)