All posts tagged: Magic

Closer look

Take a closer look. Behind the dusty facades, magical worlds unfold. Flecks of dust dance in slanted rays. Light illuminates slices of the interior, moving from left to right. This magical world exists undisturbed and in silence. Hold your breath. Be truly present. You will hear the faint whispers from faraway. They bear witness of extraordinary happenings. Pain. Sorrow. Death. Birth. Joy. Love. Go ahead, step inside. Feel the wooden floor creak beneath your soles. Run your fingers over the spines, holding worlds together, until you make your choice. Take a closer look, and delve into a magical world.  

Magic Street – Orson Scott Card

It has taken me some time to get a hold on this entry and the book I wish to tell you about Magic Street by Orson Scott Card. It actually mirrors my reading of the book. I started out slow, not really buying in to the somewhat normal world of Magic Street, knowing that this was a science fiction book by the author of Ender’s Game. Then, I probably did something wrong. I read the acknowledgements section in the back of the book, where Orson Scott Card tells us how Magic Street came about. A friend that asked him, why he had not written a book with an African American protagonist. The result is Magic Street, which has an all-black character list and an all-black neighborhood. To me the environment and culture seems realistic, but truth be told, I unfortunately do not know. The reason I dwell on this issue is that the neighborhood of Baldwin Heights is at the heart of this book. Baldwin Heights is a suburb to Los Angeles and very close …

All is fair in love and war – and storytelling

The last couple of weeks have been intense with my participation in parliamentary elections in the town of Elsinore, but despite that – or probably due to that – my son and I have had some wonderful storytelling moments. Do you know the story of the leprechaun who walked through the woods to visit his grandma, only to find a wolf in her stead? Or the story of the monkey babies that drive an assortment of fire trucks everywhere they go? It is a great joy to hear his now-four-year-old imagination at play and follow the amazing stories from a spark of well-known inspiration to magnificent new adventures. I am reminded of the great Greek eposes or the new testaments told aloud generation through generation before eventually being committed to paper. There is magic in storytelling, hearing the words spoken or really acted out by the storyteller. Even though there was an expectancy that Odysseus would return home to his Penelope, but twists and turns of his journey were most likely varied, dependent on the …

This book sweeps me off my feet

There are certain situations where falling is a good thing: falling in love, falling into place, and being swept off your feet – all very apropos the bookmark pictured above. My love for reading began to bloom in earnest in Kingwood, TX in the late 80s. I was a blond, plump girl, who wore white knee-high stockings to school. I woke up with a book and went to sleep to a book to such a degree that I can keep my place in a book with a finger all through the night – quite expertly I might add. It was those formative years in a young girl’s life, when she learns to read and realizes that the entire world is full of books, just waiting to be read. I expect that coloring a bookmark was a reading assignment in the crafty end, but it was here I learned how to use a bookmark, never to dog-ear a book, and how to carry a book, holding the spine of the book against the palm of my …

The Ice Queen – Alice Hoffman

What if one of those ugly wishes, we mutter in anger before thinking it through, came true? That is the defining moment in the childhood of the protagonist in “The Ice Queen”, and it turns her into ice. Feel not and be not tempted to make wishes. As an adult, she is then stroke by lightning – literally. What does not kill you, is supposed to make you stronger; but it does not come automatically. The main character has to struggle through and (re)gain her life and sanity. Moreover, this is the story of “The Ice Queen” written in the magnificent Hoffman style of magical realism that hits home every time. “The Ice Queen” is a fairy tale for adults, which makes you question your own life, wishes, passions, direction, and more than anything, that secret many carry that turns into a shard of glass in our eye. With the title as it is, it is impossible not to compare the novel to H. C. Andersen’s fairy tale of the same name. The parallels are …

Local Girls – Alice Hoffman

By now my readers should not be surprised by a review of yet another Alice Hoffman novel, but “Local Girls” is not the center of Hoffman’s authorship. Here she is more socially conscientious than I prefer for the “everyday’s magic” author. “Local Girls” is a series of titled chapters about Gretel and the people in her immediate circle. I have read other reviews, wherein the book is characterised as a collection of short stories, but I read it as a novel. Writing about reviews, other reviews (I realize that is a very generic term) are less than enthusiastic about “Local Girls”, but one of the features I liked in this book is the way, Hoffman writes around the central character of Gretel and the themes that in different ways influence the different characters. Responsibility is one of the central themes in my opinion. Gretel dreams of leaving the suburbian hell of Franconia but stays to take care of her cancer-sick mother. The mother shirks responsibility for her kids, caving in to cancer, but her cousin …

Skylight Confessions – Alice Hoffman

Family saga in three parts: Ghost wife, A house made of stars, and The red map. After the death of her father, 17-year-old Arlyn vows to love the next man, who comes down the street. This self-afflicted curse results in an unhappy marriage to John Moody, who for all his architectual creativity has lost or never had an open emotional life. Arlyn is trapped in their home called the Glass Slipper with the light of her life – her son Sam and later her daughter Blanca. Meredith, who finds herself in a lull in her life, sees John Moody followed by the ghost of his dead wife and tracks him back to the Glass Slipper, where he lives with the now teenage and troublesome Sam, 10-year-old Blanca, and his new wife. Meredith has a rapport with Sam, who sits on the glass ceiling of the house, high on drugs and low in everything else and she is employed as a live-in nanny. She tries to pull Sam back from the brink. John Moody dies and …

The Third Angel – Alice Hoffman

Alice Hoffman is a magical author, who understands serendipity and the art of magical living and storytelling. I always find myself immersed in her stories and find to extract a little of her fairy dust to my ordinary everyday life. Reading “The Third Angel” is no different. “The Third Angel” consists of three interconnected stories with commonalities in characters, themes, and a run down Knightsbridge hotel called the Lion Park Hotel. I will not spoil the plot for you, but instead only relate that the stories are set in 1999, 1966, and 1952 respectively, and are beautiful, atmospheric time pieces as well. Stories and storytelling is an integral part of “The Third Angel” and Alice Hoffman’s novels in general. In “The Third Angel” there is the story of a heron with a heron wife and a human wife. (And this is just one of the many, many love triangles in the novel.) One character thinks of the story; her daughter publishes the story. There is the story of the third angel, which a village doctor …