Here on Earth (Oprah's Book Club)
Author: Alice Hoffman
Brand: Alice Hoffman
- Oprah Book Club® Selection, March 1998: Here on Earth is set in motion when March Murray and her teenage daughter travel from their California home to New England. Their stay is to be brief. Judith Dale, her childhood housekeeper-cum-foster mother, has died, and March must set things to right and get out of gloomy Jenkintown as quickly as possible. "Five days tops," she reassures her scientist husband. Instead, she is pulled back into the arms of Hollis, her first love--an avaricious, Heathcliff-like individual who radiates sulfur and cruelty. "She left and didn't come back, not even when he called her, and yet here she is, on this dark night; here and no place else." In this deep fable of loss and control, love and fear, Alice Hoffman allows us into her characters' cores and makes us wish their fortunes were happier. Here on Earth is filled with wisdom, what-ifs, and animals who seem, if not to know more than human beings, at least to know how to shy from danger.
Number Of Pages: 304
Details: In a review of Hoffman's previous novel, Practical Magic, Booklist wrote, "magic, fantasy, and full-tilt love-at-first-sight have figured in all of Hoffman's sexy, funny, and endearing novels. . . . in Hoffman's universe, all boundaries between inner and outer realms are erased. Fear brings whipping winds, a malevolent spirit causes lilac bushes to achieve monstrous proportions, and love turns the air sweet and golden, melts butter, and makes everyone giddy." In Here on Earth, the darker, obsessive side of love is revealed in all of its power, and with all the havoc it wreaks.
After nearly twenty years of living in California, March Murray, along with her fifteen-year-old daughter, Gwen, returns to the sleepy Massachusetts town where she grew up to attend the funeral of Judith Dale, the beloved housekeeper who raised her. Yet returning to her hometown also brings her back to Hollis, March's former soul mate and lover. March's father had taken the teenaged Hollis, an abandoned child, and the product of a series of detention homes, into his house as a boarder, and treated him like a son. Yet March and Hollis's passionate love was hardly a normal sibling relationship. When Hollis left her after a petty fight, March waited for him three long years, wondering what she had done wrong.
Encountering Hollis again makes March acutely aware of the choices that she has made, and the choices everyone around her has made—including Mrs. Dale, who knew more of love than March could ever have suspected, and her brother Alan, whose tragic history has left him grief-struck, with alcohol as his only solace. Her attraction to Hollis is overwhelming—and March jeopardizes her marriage, her relationship with her daughter and her own happiness in an attempt to reclaim the past.
"Hoffman conveys the mesmerizing lure of a lost love with haunting sensuality," Publishers Weekly, said in an advance review and Library Journal said: "Hoffman takes great care here to examine the many facets of love and relationships, turning them like a prism to reflect on March and Hollis."
With Here on Earth , Alice Hoffman achieves once again the "iridescent prose, taut narrative suspense and alluring atmosphere" that The Boston Globe cites as her hallmark. Erotic, disturbing and compelling, this is without a doubt Alice Hoffman's most unforgettable novel.