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Coney Island: Coralie Sardie is the daughter of the impresario behind The Museum of Extraordinary Things, a boardwalk freak show that amazes and stimulates the crowds. An exceptional swimmer, Coralie appears as the Mermaid in her father's "museum", alongside performers like the Wolfman, the Butterfly Girl, and a 100-year-old turtle. One night Coralie stumbles upon a striking young man photographing moonlit trees in the woods off the Hudson River.
The dashing photographer is Eddie Cohen, a Russian immigrant who has run away from his father's Lower East Side Orthodox community and his job as an apprentice tailor. When Eddie captures with his camera the devastation on the streets of New York following the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, he becomes embroiled in the mystery behind a young woman's disappearance.
New York itself becomes a riveting character as Hoffman weaves her magic, romance, and masterful storytelling to unite Coralie and Eddie in a sizzling, tender, and moving story of young love in tumultuous times. The Museum of Extraordinary Things is Hoffman at her most spellbinding.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By mendolynne on 06-04-14
Captivating historical fiction+Hoffman interview!
Alice Hoffman was my first author crush. The woman who turned me on to Hoffman's novels owned a funky eclectic bookstore where I'd have coffee and book chat whenever I could. With bated breath we'd wait for each new Alice Hoffman book, each one a gem.
Hoffman's world is a dreamy, swim through enchanting, eerie and magical adventures with female and male underdogs conquering all obstacles in life and love. The Museum of Extraordinary Things, once you dive in, holds you as a willing captive, swimming effortlessly through the story, in which you learn, in the most intimate way, about two, otherwise obscure, events in NYC history, through the eyes of the victims and their families. Hoffman is an excellent and thorough researcher, and blends the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory and Dreamland fires of 1911 seamlessly into her always mesmerizing plots and characters. Her ventures into historical fiction, totally impress me, and this is her very best effort in this genre.
Vividly brought to life are the workers' struggles of the 1900's, and mistreatment and arbitrary abuse to women, minorities and immigrants. Sadly, it all echoes many of the same problems with which we struggle today.
Well done Alice Hoffman! A loyal fan I remain. Thus, so delighted was I to surprisingly find a fascinating conversation between Alice Hoffman and narrator Judith Light come on following the completion of The Museum of Extraordinary Things. Such a wonderful cure for that odd, black hole in which one finds oneself after finishing a long, really good book. The two discussed the novel, their lives, their passions, their methods, and so much more. Very, very satisfying, particularly after such an excellent read!
48 of 48 people found this review helpful
By TheDallesmbt on 05-10-14
An Extraordinary Experience
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
This book was extremely interesting--giving a snapshot of Manhattan in the late 1800's with its diversity, specifically the chasm between the rich and poor. It was especially interesting to read of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire from a somewhat different perspective. Another very interesting aspect of the story was the description of Dreamland and the disaster it incurred.
What did you like best about this story?
The characters were all very unpredictable and, thus, very interesting. It was difficult to guess what would happen next. I also really liked the setting--it was beautifully described and easy to visualize.
What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?
I enjoyed the readers giving voice to Cora and Eddie. I really struggled with the narrator, Judith Light. Her reading was so dramatic and "over the top" that I began to regret not purchasing the hard cover and simply reading it for myself. The author writes so beautifully that there was no need for the additional drama Ms. Light seemed compelled to display. I felt her narration detracted from the story.
Who was the most memorable character of The Museum of Extraordinary Things and why?
There were so many memorable characters that it is hard to select just one. I grew especially found of Maureen and Mr. Morrison--but I also enjoyed the main characters, the hermit, the livery man and, of course, Mitts.
Any additional comments?
Even with the difficult narration, I would still strongly recommend this book. It had everything a good book should have--excellent setting, characters and plot.
19 of 20 people found this review helpful