Alice Hoffman: “Her writing is a blend of magical realism, romance, and irony.”

From The Writer’s Almanac:

Today is the birthday of novelist Alice Hoffman, whose best-selling novels, like Practical Magic and The Dovekeepers, are a blend of magical realism, romance, and irony.

Hoffman grew up on Long Island where her Russian grandmother kept her entertained with fairytales like the Baba Yaga, about a witch who lives in a house on chicken legs. Hoffman’s father abandoned the family, but he left a box of books behind that changed Hoffman’s life. It was full of science fiction books by Ray Bradbury. She says, “Ray became my literary father. He was the one who taught me about the world.” She also discovered a copy of The Catcher in The Rye on her mother’s bookshelf. She says, “I hadn’t known that a book could speak so directly to a reader. After that, I knew what I wanted to do with my life.”

Hoffman’s memoir, Survival Lessons, is about what she learned while enduring treatment for breast cancer. She says, “It was a letter written to myself reminding myself of all the things that matter, and all of the reasons to go on.”

About writing, she says, “When I finish any project, it feels like a dream, and writing — whether it’s fiction or nonfiction — is very similar to dreaming.”

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