Blackbird House by Alice Hoffman

blackbird

One of my favourite books by this author, this is Hoffman at her finest. Blackbird House is a series of short stories about one house, from the day it’s built to the present, telling the stories of the lives that live there. Often tragic, but always beautiful, each story is different, but with certain themes and events linking the lives together, as well as the ghost of the blackbird that belonged to the first inhabitants little boy.

 I love that the house’s history leaks through to different occupants, and often what a previous owner of the property had planted or built remains. But I think I also like the way that the house feels haunted, the occupants doomed. The theme of the male children coming to a bad end, of women in mourning or going through life changes occupying the house and making jam is repeated. The house is a full, living character in this book, but rather than taking action, it’s rambling solidness outlasts everyone and their best laid liife plans.

Like so much of Hoffman’s work, it’s about real lives, the way in which things go wrong or very right, about love, children, small town life, and what home means. I love it.

Read It If: you love your house, this is one for those who want to know the history of where they live.

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