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Seventh Heaven by Alice Hoffman

Seventh Heaven (original 1990; edition 2003)

by Alice Hoffman

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893129,888 (3.83)44
Title:Seventh Heaven
Authors:Alice Hoffman
Info:Berkley Trade (2003), Paperback, 272 pages
Collections:Your library

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Seventh Heaven by Alice Hoffman (1990)



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I bought Seventh Heaven on a whim, after searching high and low for a book that came out 25 years ago, required by my 2015 reading challenge. I looked in the New York Times book review archives. I checked Goodreads best-of lists. I asked family and friends if they knew of anything that had been published in 1990 that was good. In the end, I picked a book at random off a list, bought a used copy online, and absolutely devoured it.

I was entranced by this book from the first page. For one, I absolutely love the writing style. It's mystical, realistic but not, and flows so beautifully. It reminded me of a Tim Burton film.

Another reason I really loved this book, though, was Nora. Nora, the only divorced woman on her block, or maybe in her whole town, who just wants a friend. Nora, who doesn't understand why nobody will befriend her son, or why the other mothers don't want to have lunch, or why her American Dream of a cute house in the suburbs just isn't working out the way she wanted it to.

In fact, I really loved almost all of the characters in this book. Sure, some of them are terrible people. But they all have entrancing stories to tell. All of their stories are interconnected. All of their stories are important. Nora has such an impact on all of them.

I may have picked this book up on a whim, but I will definitely seek out more of Hoffman's books. ( )
  Sara.Newhouse | Feb 11, 2016 |
Dark and sad, and a little heartbreaking. Not what I usually feel when reading an Alice Hoffman novel. ( )
  bookczuk | Jun 7, 2014 |
Nora ( )
  hammockqueen | Jul 4, 2013 |
Set in a 1950's Stepford community of apple pie baking stay at home moms and fathers who are the kings of their castles a divorcee with two young boys buys a falling down house and changes the community. The first thing she does when they move in is to bake a batch of cookies. Can you imagine that being your first step on moving in to a new house, before you unpack anything else? Nora's quite the renegade. There's a bit of magic, a little sexuality, confused children, confused parents, and a lot of soul searching. Just the thing to read when you think life is too much. ( )
  Citizenjoyce | Aug 13, 2012 |
Seventh Heaven is Alice Hoffman’s 9th stand-alone novel and tells the story of when attractive divorcee Nora Silk came to live in Hemlock Street, Long Island with 8 year-old Billy and baby James. Set in the late ‘50s, it captures the dispiriting feeling of suburbia. As a divorced woman, Nora found her presence posed a threat and prevented her from being part of the community. The story is told from several different characters’ perspectives. Hoffman gives us beautiful prose and evocative descriptions that bring the reader right into the moment, even if it is occasionally not such a pleasant one. When Hoffman writes, the reader feels all the anxiety, fear, frustration, joy, sorrow and wonder that her characters feel. I really enjoyed the incongruity of a brilliant butterfly like Nora selling Tupperware to the oppressed moths of suburbia. I loved this novel. ( )
  CloggieDownunder | Mar 16, 2012 |
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alice Hoffmanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Alfsen, MereteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Parker, Robert AndrewIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rettore, Anna MariaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Jake and Zachary, to Ross and Jo Ann, to Carol DeKnight, to Sherry Hoffman, to my grandfather, Michael Hoffman, with love; And to the memory of Houdini
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Late in August, three crows took up residence in the chimney of the corner house on Hemlock Street.
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Book description
In the summer of 1959 Nora SIlk moves into a quiet suburb on Long Island with her two young sons, a collection of Elvis records and a marked absence of a husband. Her glamour and cheerfully chaotic ways immediately arouse the suspicions of the neighbourhood where life runs acording to two rules - 'mind your own business and keep up your lawn'. Seventh Heaven is a lyrical, optimistic novel of yearning and desire; 'this writer can cut through to the true magic and true grit underneath'.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0425188485, Paperback)

Nora Silk doesn’t really fit in on Hemlock Street, where every house looks the same. She's divorced. She wears a charm bracelet and high heels and red toreador pants. And the way she raises her kids is a scandal. But as time passes, the neighbors start having second thoughts about Nora. The women’s apprehension evolves into admiration. The men’s lust evolves into awe. The children are drawn to her in ways they can't explain. And everyone on this little street in 1959 Long Island seems to sense the possibilities and perils of a different kind of future when they look at Nora Silk...This extraordinary novel by the author of The River King and Local Girls takes us back to a time when the exotic both terrified and intrigued us, and despite our most desperate attempts, our passions and secrets remained as stubbornly alive as the weeds in our well-trimmed lawns. 

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:38 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Nora is ahead of her time. A single mother in 1950s suburbia, she's strong, sexy, passionate, and mysterious. Everyone in town is touched by her, and in the mirror of her magnetism, people see themselves as never before. With Nora's courageous image before them, they begin to ask themselves questions they had never asked -- finding answers they had never dared to imagine....… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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