When you get an Alice Hoffman book, you know you want to clear your afternoon schedule and switch off the phone.
The Story Sisters is no exception. It tells the story of the coming of age of three sisters, who create their own world and language to escape the pain of a traumatic event and what they see as a cruel world. Ultimately, as they grow from children to teens, they each find different ways to deal with this, with the eldest becoming increasingly self destructive, with tragic consequences.
Hoffman always has a magical element to her books; not quite magic realism, but a sense of the other being very present. In this volume, it comes across in the girls vivid imaginations, in their need to escape from the cruelty of life, and in the superstitions and traditions of the adults around them. The book has strong fairytale elements. The characters are vividly drawn and psychologically real, and just like real life, and fairytales, the world is often a cruel place that’s difficult to navigate. It’s a very moving, sad book, but also very rewarding and beautiful. It’s a good read.