Monday, 14 November 2011

Seventh heaven (Hoffman)

It's not often these days that I spot a VMC at the library which I haven't read, but I did last week - it was Seventh Heaven by Alice Hoffman. I was already aware of Hoffman as quite a prolific author of whom I've already read a couple of books; it turns out that Seventh Heaven is her only VMC. Written in 1990 it must be one of the most recent VMCs to be on the list.

Set in the late 1950s on Long Island, it tells the tale of a mother and son who move to a suburban community and are outcasts. It's a time when social mores are absolute, and a single mother, a divorcee, is considered scandalous. There is a veneer of perfection in the suburb, but it is obvious from early on that there will be cracks and it is only time before they are revealed. To some extent, the arrival of Rita and her son precipitate this.

Reading reviews of Alice Hoffman's work, it seems that she is famous for magical realism in her writing. I have to say that I didn't especially notice that in this book, but this is also one of her more realistic books. I just found the plot and the characters absorbing as she paints a very good picture of life in the suburb.

It's been published once by Virago, with a modern green cover.


  1. I am quite surprised to see Alice Hoffman included in the Virago Classics!

  2. I read this years ago when I was something like 14 years old and for a long time it was one of my favourite books. Will have to reread it soon!