Sunday, April 8, 2007

Glass Hearts in Glass Houses

In her trademark ethereal prose, Alice Hoffman presents the story of a family who are slaves to love and don't know how to escape the bonds. In her latest magic-tinged novel, Skylight Confessions, methodical John falls inexplicably in love with dreamy Arlyn. The two are such polar opposites that they emotionally struggle against each other more than they come together. Their son, Sam, is scarred by the deasth of his mother and bewildered by her torrid affair with a local window washer that produces his adored younger sister, Blanca. Sam fights a losing battle with his father, his stepmkother and drugs due to grief over his mother's death, while Blanca spends her childhood playing peacemaker. Only their nanny, Meredith, can soothe Sam's tumultuous spirit and comfort Blanca. All are haunted by the ghost of Arlyn who manifests herself in mourning doves, unexpected showers of ashes and broken dishes. This family of emotional misfits must look to Sam's son, Will, to patch up the crevices of their souls.

While I'm a diehard fan of Hoffman's writing style, I felt this story was rushed and unfinished. Story threads were left dangling and theree was no character or story development involving the grandson, Will. Blanca is also left with parts of her life unresolved. Readers may feel unsated by the novel's finale.

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