This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Probable Future by Alice Hoffman

The Probable Future (original 2003; edition 2009)

by Alice Hoffman, Susan Ericksen (Reader)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,675486,448 (3.79)81
Title:The Probable Future
Authors:Alice Hoffman
Other authors:Susan Ericksen (Reader)
Info:Brilliance Audio on CD Value Priced (2009), Audio CD
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Probable Future by Alice Hoffman (2003)

  1. 00
    House of Echoes by Brendan Duffy (JessyHere)
    JessyHere: Similar small town history that consumes the whole town.

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 81 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
The Sparrows are a family of women who've lived in a small Massachusetts town since colonial times, their lives enlivened by a magical gift (different for each of them) that first manifests itself on their thirteenth birthdays. As is often the case with magic, the term "gift" is applied here fairly loosely. In the present day, Elinor always knows a lie, her daughter Jenny experiences other people's dreams, and granddaughter Stella, just turned thirteen, has developed the ability to see how people will die. The relationship-wrecking potential of the first two gifts is of course blindingly obvious, and the third would be a heavy burden for anyone to bear—especially a thirteen-year-old who's not speaking to the mother who's screwing up their relationship by trying to avoid all of her mother's mistakes.

These are well-drawn characters who often inspire, simultaneously, the desire to give them tea and crackers and the desire to knock their heads together. Jenny is completely justified and utterly wrong-headed in her resentment of her mother; so is Stella. Jenny is absolutely correct in having concluded, after having it pounded into her head repeatedly, that Stella's father, Will Avery, is a lying, cheating bastard who can be relied on only to let everyone down. Stella is also right in believing him to be a loving, devoted parent who actually listens to her, which her mother does not.

There is a plot in here, involving Stella's gift of seeing deaths accidentally landing Will in jail, charged with murder, but the plot is not the point. The focus of this book is the engaging, and ultimately optimistic, story of the tangled relationships of the Sparrow women and their friends and relations.

An enjoyable lazy-afternoon read. ( )
  LisCarey | Sep 19, 2018 |
I picked this up at our annual rotary sale--I had not heard of this title, but I do like Alice Hoffman's books.

Really 3.5 stars. I really do like Hoffman's books. I find them very comfortable. They're not perfect, but I know I will get an enjoyable read. ( )
  Dreesie | Apr 12, 2016 |
3 generations of the Sparrow women, each unusually gifted, learn of family unity and the joys of reconciliation and love. ( )
  pennsylady | Jan 29, 2016 |
I loved this book. I read it as a mobi-pocket edition on my old Treo 650 phone. Must get a physical copy of it one day since I adored it so much. ( )
  mirshad | May 28, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
For Tom
First words
Anyone born and bred in Massachusetts learns early on to recognize the end of winter.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345455916, Paperback)

The women of the Sparrow family have lived in New England for generations. Each is born in the month of March, and at the age of thirteen, each develops an unusual gift. Elinor can literally smell a lie. Her daughter, Jenny, can see people’s dreams as they’re dreaming them. Granddaughter Stella, newly a teen, has just developed the ability to see how other people will die. Ironically, it is their gifts that have kept Elinor and Jenny apart for the last twenty-five years. But as Stella struggles to cope with her disturbing clairvoyance, the unthinkable happens: One of her premonitions lands her father in jail, wrongly accused of homicide. The ordeal leads Stella to the grandmother she’s never met and to Cake House, the Sparrow ancestral home full of talismans and fraught with history. Now three generations of estranged Sparrow women must come together to turn Stella’s potential to ruin into a potential to redeem.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:27 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

The women of the Sparrow family have lived in New England for generations. Each is born in the month of March, and at the age of thirteen, each develops an unusual gift.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 9 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (3.79)
0.5 1
1 9
2 13
2.5 4
3 99
3.5 27
4 172
4.5 14
5 79

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 133,533,951 books! | Top bar: Always visible