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The Museum of Extraordinary Things: A Novel

The Museum of Extraordinary Things: A Novel

Написано Alice Hoffman

Озвучено Judith Light, Grace Gummer и Zach Appelman


The Museum of Extraordinary Things: A Novel

Написано Alice Hoffman

Озвучено Judith Light, Grace Gummer и Zach Appelman

оценки:
4.5/5 (53 оценки)
Длина:
12 hours
Издатель:
Издано:
Feb 18, 2014
ISBN:
9781442367623
Формат:
Аудиокнига

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Описание

From the beloved, bestselling author of The Dovekeepers, a mesmerizing new novel about the electric and impassioned love between two vastly different souls in New York during the volatile first decades of the twentieth century.

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 one-hundred-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.
Издатель:
Издано:
Feb 18, 2014
ISBN:
9781442367623
Формат:
Аудиокнига

Также доступно как...

Также доступно как книгеКниге

Об авторе

Alice Hoffman was born in New York City and grew up on Long Island. She wrote her first novel, Property Of, while studying creative writing at Stanford University, and since then has published more than thirty books for readers of all ages, including the recent New York Times bestsellers The Museum of Extraordinary Things and The Dovekeepers. Two of her novels, Practical Magic and Aquamarine, have been made into films, and Here on Earth was an Oprah’s Book Club choice. All told, Hoffman’s work has been published in more than twenty languages and one hundred foreign editions. She lives outside of Boston.


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  • (4/5)
    I found the book a bit slow going and even repetitious, but there were several things I liked.First, I like the way Ms. Hoffman uses historical events like the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire to build her story around. Her description of the fire was so well done and moving -- I felt I was there.I liked Ed' story better than the main story of Cora. I was frustrated that it took so long for them to meet! Ed's relationship with his father is well developed and heartbreaking.I like the way Ms. Hoffman turns things inside out: We have a "wolf man" (an extremely hairy person) who is taught to growl as part of his employment in a freak show, but is actually a very gentle and cultured man. And we have a real wolf who has been domesticated and behaves like a dog. Many things that appear to be magical are not -- the private investigator "seer" who employs young boys to investigate on his behalf; the exhibits in the title museum that are fabricated. And things portrayed as normal turn magical and both Cora and her nanny find love.
  • (5/5)
    This is a book for people who love the eclectic. It is a whimsical recipe of things dark, romantic, curious, and adventuresome. I loved it so much, I made a Pinterest board of it, using images that were similar to the way the book made me feel. There is some dark content for sure, but it leaves a mark, and I feel a fuller person having read this novel.
  • (4/5)
    This book kept my interest. There were too many coincidences and unbelievable events, but I found both the history and the characters very interesting.
  • (4/5)
    Decent summer read, loved the history here, New York City, Coney Island portrayed as the city is urbanizing. Many true incidents and facts enhance the story.
  • (3/5)
    2.5 starsThis is set in the early 1900s in New York City. Coralie was born with webbed hands and she is an amazing swimmer. Her father runs the “Museum of Extraordinary Things”, which includes sideshow “freaks”. Coralie becomes a part of them, and feels she fits in with them. Eddie is a photographer. I listened to the audio and there are three narrators: Coralie, Eddie, and a generic narrator (voiced by Judith Light). Of the story itself, only Coralie’s story interested me. (Which is why I have said next to nothing about Eddie in my summary, as I can’t tell you much more, as my mind wandered during his parts.) As for the audio, one thing that bothered me was Judith Light’s dialogue for any character – it seemed to me very staccato/robotic, but only when she was doing the dialogue. The audio includes a short interview/conversation (that kind of disintegrates into gushing about each other’s work at times) between Judith Light and Alice Hoffman. The book/story, though – really didn’t interest me all that much, though in addition to Coralie’s story, there were some interesting tidbits about the Triangle Factory fire.
  • (3/5)
    Coralie lives in Brooklyn. Her father is a scientist and a magician; he owns the Museum of Extraordinary Things, one of those freak shows popular in the time of PT Barnum. She is part of the show, born with webbed fingers and able to submerge in water for long periods of time. Eddie is an immigrant Jew from Russia, brought up in New York City to be a tailor like his father, but rejecting his heritage to eventually become a photographer. They are brought together in a mystical manner tied up in the history of New York City during this period of time. I usually love Ms. Hoffman's books, but I had a hard time with this one. Part of it was because every other chapter is in italics, hard to read and often containing backstory that slowed the plot down. The other reason was that for most of the book, the characters were unlikable. Throw in a fascination with the first Mrs. Rochester in Jane Eyre, and I had a pretty good idea where the story was going although it seemed to take forever to get there.It does pick up some at the end when Eddie and Coralie finally meet and realize they're in love with each other, but I didn't think this was one of Ms. Hoffman's best works.
  • (5/5)
    I was a bit apprehensive about reading another novel by Alice Hoffman, because Practical Magic was a big let down for me (the film adaptation was far better!), but this my favourite kind of story, combining historical fact and fiction. Written around the events of two tragic fires in New York, at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory and Coney Island Dreamland amusement park in 1911, Hoffman has created a magical romance between a mermaid and a budding photographer on the run from his past who are drawn together over a missing girl. Coralie, raised by the shady owner of the Museum of the title and forced to become a living exhibit herself, is fighting against the constraints of her young life when she chances across Eddie Cohen in the woods outside Manhattan, a young man who has left behind his father and his religion to make a life of his own, on his own. They naturally fall instantly in love, but without the hope of meeting again - until Coralie's father takes advantage of a gruesome discovery in the woods, which leads Eddie to the Museum of Extraordinary Things.After a slow start - the opening of each chapter is written from the perspective of either Coralie or Eddie (in italics, which drives me nuts), documenting their separate lives - the characters come to life and the mystery of Hannah Weiss, who should have perished in the Triangle Factory but disappeared without a trace, takes a sinister turn. I loved the atmosphere of early twentieth century New York - the stark injustice of rich versus poor, high rise Manhattan slowly edging nature out of existence, human beings treated as exhibits to gawk at in the tacky sideshows of Coney Island. Obviously well researched, each chapter could have footnotes, but Hoffman never takes her readers out of the story. Every line is a treasure of information and emotion.
  • (4/5)
    This book was unlike anything I've ever read before... It was dark and twisted, with a subtle romance and a thick mysterious plot. While it wasn't at all what I expected... It was really good in an eerie feel kind of way.

    It follows two characters through past and present. Their connection to one another isn't vivid, but it's there and it's unavoidable. Eddie sees Coralie in his dreams and she sees him in the flesh. Both are drawn to one another long before they meet face to face, but they have obstacles to overcome first. Cora's father is possessive and uses her in sick twisted ways. She is his money maker and each day she is in an exhibit, is another dark day in her life. She seeks solace in the water and makes friends with a tortoise. Her hope is that someday she will be loved as the monster she believes to be. It is Eddie that opens her eyes and heart to everything she didn't know was possible.

    The Museum of Extraordinary Things was a well crafted story with exquisite writing. The Author did a great job at creating a solid foundation with strong character development. While at times it was a tad slow, it continued to pull me back in. The words were quick to tug at my heart strings and the emotions really poured off the pages. The life Coralie lived was hell. She was a puppet and her father was the puppeteer. He controlled every movement, action, and thought. When she finally broke free from his gripp... I couldn't have been happier. It was long tough journey, but in the end I was pleased with how everything turned out.

    Overall, I highly recommend this book to all readers looking for a unique read. When I saw it had a mermaid theme I was all in. I'm definitely happy that I picked up the book and gave it a chance.
  • (4/5)
    Finished this one tonight. I very much enjoyed it. Hoffman's writing is beautiful and descriptive and her storytelling is at once thoughtful and exciting. The era in which the story is set is fascinating and I'm interested to learn more about the historical events depicted in it. While there is pain and tragedy throughout the tale, there is also hope and the triumph of love. Good entertainment!This was my first time reading Alice Hoffman and it certainly won't be the last. I look forward to seeing what other stories she has told.
  • (4/5)
    Both my wife and one of my daughters recommended that I read this book and for that I thank them. I almost gave it five stars, but one minor irritant led to its downgrading, of which more anon. The book paints a series of memorable characters from New York and Coney Island in the early days of the twentieth century and sets them against a backdrop of real events in a deftly orchestrated plot. At times the writing is quite stunning, particularly when Ezekiel / Eddie is first drawn to photography and in the sequence immediately after the Triangle Fire. I heartily recommend this book to everyone. (But what of my irritation? Could he really have taken as many photographs with the equipment available to him at the time - he actually bemoans the fact that he cannot afford a "flexible film" camera - this just kept niggling at me as I read it!)
  • (3/5)
    Coralie Sardie is a sheltered young girl growing up in a freak show which her father owns and runs. Eventually her path crosses with Eddie Cohen's, a Russian immigrant and a photographer.
  • (5/5)
    This was a beautiful book and one of my favourites I've read this year. It's a darkly, pensive tale about deceit, disillusionment, loss and love, but it's more than that too. Just read it, it's beautiful!
  • (5/5)
    This is a lovely book. It starts out in a creepy museum where a young girl is growing up, and where she is being groomed by the man she calls her father to be a sideshow exhibit, a real-life mermaid. She is kept isolated from the world as much as possible, and learns about the outside world mostly through the many bizarre things displayed in the museum. This story takes place in the years leading up to the terrible fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, where many women and girls were burned alive because they were locked into the room where they worked. As the girl in the museum grows older, she encounters a young man and falls in love from afar. The young man works as a sort of private detective, finding lost things and people, and when he is hired to find a girl who is missing after the fire, his investigation leads him to the girl in the museum.

    While this book is built around a love story, it is historical and literary fiction, far more than a romance (though my misguided local library added a 'romance' sticker to the spine of the copy I read). This novel weaves together the love story with the story of the museum and of Coney Island more generally, along with a thread about the Jewish community in New York City, and of course the thread about the Triangle Fire. If you like historical fiction, or if you enjoyed Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children and/or The Night Circus, you'll probably enjoy this book too.
  • (4/5)
    a fabulous read, beautiful prose
  • (2/5)
    A huge disappointment.
  • (4/5)
    There are enough plot summaries out there on this one, but let me say that I enjoyed seeing the historic Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire and the Coney Island Fire through new eyes and these major events were wonderfully woven into the story. Unfortunately, I have recently read enough of mermaids (real or imagined) and warped personalities for me to truly enjoy this one right now. However, if you like Hoffman, you will probably like this one.
  • (4/5)
    On one hand, I ended up really enjoying this, but on the other, I also wanted something more. The history enmeshed in the book slowed it down a bit for me, and left me wishing that I could feel closer to the characters enmeshed in the setting. As beautifully as Hoffman depicted the times and the city of New York as it was, it pulled me a bit too far into history. For someone who reads more historical fiction, and wasn't so pulled to this because of their enjoyment of Hoffman's earlier work, this may not be an issue at all -- but, for me, I was left wanting more. In the last third, I couldn't put the book down, I was so wrapped up, but it took far longer to get to that point than I would have expected from her work and, honestly, it then ended too quickly for me.So, all told... yes, I truly enjoyed it, and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it; in fact, I already have. But, I also think long-time fans of Hoffman's work will find that this one falls somewhat flat in comparison, or comes across as too weighed down with setting and somewhat rushed, rather than being so magical as her work normally is.
  • (4/5)
    This extraordinary novel held my interest from start to finish. The lives of the two major characters are portrayed in alternate chapters, each partly told in the first person and partly as a third-person narrative. The book requires more than the average suspension of disbelief for twenty-first-century readers, but it is well-plotted (everything fits together appropriately and believably at the end) and populated with vivid characters, including animals as well as people. I thought of it as something of a Miss Peregrine book for adults.
  • (5/5)
    THE MUSEUM OF EXTRAORDINARY THINGS is exceptionally good historical fiction about two people, Eddie and Coralie, with very different backgrounds who find each other and fall in love in early twentieth-century New York. This is not a romance story. Rather, the majority of the book concentrates on each of their lives before they even knew each other, at various times telling of Coralie's life, other times Eddie's, sometimes in first person, other times third person.Coralie is the "deformed" daughter of the owner of Coney Island's Museum of Extraordinary Things, what we would call a freak show. Coralie, herself, is on display as an extraordinary thing because of her webbed fingers.Eddie is a Russian immigrant who came to New York with his father when he was a child. He is good at finding people and is eventually hired by a man to locate his daughter. When Eddie finds her dead body, the man again hires him to solve the mystery of who did it and why. In the process, their two lives, Eddie's and Coralie's, come together.So, more than a story of Eddie's and Coralie's love for each other, this book is the story of Coralie's life as a prisoner of evil and the story of Eddie's life as both a finder and a photographer. Editorial: Thank goodness for Coralie Eddie found her.
  • (5/5)
    I knew nothing about this book picking it up, and it turned out to be exactly what I needed. The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire made a rich historical background that, given our current societal unrest, was especially resonant. Coralie and Eddie are wonderful, compelling characters and while the prose is rich, the plot doesn't lag as it sometimes can in the magical realism genre. My only complaint is that the romance seems glossed over and, given how much I cared about these characters, that was unfortunate. But I suppose wanting more is a good thing, isn't it?
  • (3/5)
    Being the chronicle of an angry young man and an emotionally scarred young woman in New York at the turn of the last century. Both of the protagonists are victims of being raised by cruel and distant fathers. Unfortunately, the eponymous museum is mostly backdrop, though a few interesting minor characters do emerge from it (and the author does a great job with the novel's canid characters, who at times seem more real than the humans). The book is structured so that each character is the focus of alternate chapters, which also include flashbacks to their childhoods. Thus there are effectively four plots going on, which gives the book a certain complexity of plot. It must be said, however, that none of these plots are particularly gripping for most of the book's length, although the book's exciting climax will keep pages turning. I felt that the author spent a little too much time trying to improve my mind; too often I felt that I was in a classroom listening to a finger-wagging schoolmarm insistently trying to impress me with, inter alia, the horrors of the Triangle Shirtwaist fire or the sublimity of Jewish ritual. And her idea of period color too often is to namedrop soon-to-be-famous politicians who never appear as characters nor advance the plot in any way. Together with the book's rather pedestrian, languid first half, the outstanding conclusion doesn't quite compensate enough to make this more than a pretty average novel.
  • (3/5)
    3 1/2 Stars.

    Great read, character development and all. Good imagination and driving plot.

    I would have given it 4 stars, but it lacked the ah-ha moment I wait for in novels. Plus the wrap-up at the end was a little too hastily done for my taste.

    Good solid writing and I'll definitely revisit Alice again.
  • (4/5)
    The museum is on Coney Island and the time frame is before the Coney Island fire and while the Triangle Factory fire takes place. These and the characters in the story are the central elements. The museum is run by the Professor who has no feeling for people and who takes people with abnormalities and displays them in the same manner as a dead butterfly. He finds Coralie as a baby--her hands are webbed so he makes her a mermaid. Maureen cares for her and falls in love with the wolfman and she ultimately marries him and lives happily ever after. Coralie meets, falls in love with and ultimately marries Eddie. A happy and unbelievably preposterous ending for a story filled with sadness, but still great character development and an interesting story.
  • (4/5)
    Like so many of Alice Hoffman's novels there is something that appears to be magic, but truly is not. The extraordinary things in this novel are mostly humans with birth defects or acquired abnormalities such as being covered i tattoos. They are all exhibited along with some rare birds, a giant tortoise, and a number of strange (sometimes fake) creatures in formaldehyde, in Coralie's father's museum. Coralie's father keeps her away from these "freaks" when she is a child, but as she grows older she becomes one of the exhibits since she has her own abnormality, webbed fingers. Coralie is trained by being required to stay in a tub full of ice water for hours and developing her ability to hold her breath so that she can become a "mermaid" in a tank of water in the museum. As the prosperity of the museum is challenged by bigger and brighter entertainments in Coney Island, Coralie's father stoops to having her perform as something of an underwater stripper for groups of "gentlemen" in the evenings. Coralie is extremely sheltered, never allowed out without supervision except for quick trips to the market. When she happens upon a young man one night after a nightly swim in the freezing Hudson, her life changes completely.The tale of this young man, Eddie, is interwoven with that of Coralie in the novel. Having escaped Russia with his father after his mother and everyone else in his village was murdered, Eddie is not content to slave in a factory as his father has done. He strikes out, first working as a sort of child detective, then becoming a photographer. He abandons his Jewish traditions, and he and his father become alienated. Eddie chronicles life in New York City including the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. This event involves him in searching for a lost girl who should have been in the building that day and leads him inexorably toward Coralie.There is a great deal of suspense and there are some truly disturbing scenes, but mainly this novel explores what "humanity" is and how outward appearance has little relationship to the quality of character. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
  • (5/5)
    I read about this book on Library Thing and was happy to see it my local library. I have enjoyed reading her books such as Blackbird House, Practical Magic, and Second Nature. This novel resonated strongly for me especially when it touched on Eddie and his father's tragic loss of mother and wife as I have had a recent loss of my own. The author understands the grief and sorrow a person has when you lose someone you love in such circumstances and has brought me a little closer to an understanding of own. In my estimation this is a sign of an exceptional storyteller.
  • (4/5)
    Set in 1911, the story is bookended by the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire at the beginning, and the Dreamland fire at the end. It follows the parallel lives of Coralie Sardie, daughter of a freak-show operator, and Eddie Cohen, a young photographer trying to break away from his Russian immigrant roots. When their lives converge, everything changes for both of them.
  • (5/5)
    This is a beautifully written story of love and lies. Cora must work for her father in his Coney Island museum of odd and extraordinary things, doing things that are disgraceful to her. She hides this from Maureen, the housekeeper who tries to protect her. Thie story twists and turns around this relationship and around Cora's relationship with Eddie, whom she meets in the woods after a swim in the Hudson. It is a story well told and worth the read.
  • (4/5)
    This historical novel attempts to encompass a great deal, including the New York City cultures of crime, Orthodoxy, labor movement, immigrants, women's servitude, and amusement parks. Two stories run in parallel lines throughout, first Coralee's, the daughter of the man who runs the museum and who has exploited her for his own gains since her infancy. The second story is Eddie's, an escapee with his father from the Ukraine, always running from his Orthodox religion and looking for his place in the world. New York City is erupting in 1911, and the horrific fire that claimed so many young girls' lives in the Shirtwaist fire is a catalyst for change on many levels. Readers will anticipate the intersection of Coralee's and Eddie's lives in the midst of much turmoil all around them. It felt like the narrative dragged in the middle, and perhaps the novel tries to deal with too many themes and events.
  • (5/5)
    A story of exploitation, broken trust, secrets and changes to comeA very unusual book, told from two main sources. Yes, there is a museum and it is fascinating, but there are dark secrets hidden here. The museum is owned by a refugee who lives alone on Coney Island with his young daughter, who tells one part of the story, and a housekeeper. Both are called monsters, though they are the most caring in the story. The girl is very young at the beginning of her story, and one hundred percent under the control of her father, though she is not aware of it. Nor is she aware of what his plan for her future is.The second storyteller is an Orthodox Jew, a refugee from the Ukraine who lives with his father and both work in the textile mills in Boston. A young boy on the verge of rebellion at the beginning. He renounces his faith when he believes his father tried to commit suicide.It is a time in New York when men were in charge and women were treated as possessions, a time when class distinction was not only strongly defined but often corrupt and hidden crime was rampant, a time when 'hired' help was more often than not mistreated. Also a time of workhouses where children and women were forced to work for a pittance and often accidents occurred. Such is the case when a fire breaks out while the workers are locked within. You thought this happened only in other countries? Murders and assaults occur while eyes remain closed. This is New York in the 1800s and early 1900s. Manhattan was not much more than a swamp at certain times of the year. Coney Island was just becoming the famous park and beach it would one day be. For the boy who renounced his faith he has found beauty in nature. For the girl living at the museum, she has found horror. Will the two ever be able to find each other in time?Through all the brutality of the times, this story is beautiful in many ways. It flows between two sides, much like the Hudson River, featured so often in the story and integral to it in many ways. It is a story of betrayal, but also a love story of two storytellers. There is connection between many of the characters, and the spark of life, love and humanity exists and blooms against all odds. Alice Hoffman has not only captured the essence of early New York, she has integrated two historical events seamlessly, and recreated the crises so vividly you can almost feel the heat. Though the characters are fictional, the events are real. This is a wonderful story of compassion within a nightmare world. This story I will carry with me for a long time.
  • (4/5)
    I'm going to stop rating things with stars. It just doesn't work for books.

    You won't regret reading this book. It's lovely. It's Night Circus meets Water For Elephants meets Alice Hoffman. History and magic and love.