A house made of glass, a boy whose father can’t love him, a woman who finds love too late. Alice Hoffman writes about love and loss, with a hint of magic, in a way that no one else can. Her books feel like modern fairy tales, and they’re always moving and a bit different.
Orphaned after her fathers death, 17 year old Arlyn vows to love the next man to walk into her life. That man is John Moody, whom she follows and marries, but soon realises he’s not her true love. Living in the glass house that her father in law built, she tries to build a life, finding solace in an affair and her two children.
Her life is cut short by cancer, and her two young children survive her in different ways, her son by numbing the pain and her daughter by trying to come to terms with things. Aided by a woman who sees Arlyn’s ghost and living in the haunted glass mansion, the two muddle through life with their absent father.
It’s a beautiful and haunting story of how easy it is to get lost in grief, or in trying to make love happen or be rescued. The past is always in the room with all the characters and they are trying desperately to ignore it. It’s like a modern fairytale in some ways, beautifully told, and although melancholy, it’s never morose. Some characters find their way through, others do not. Isn’t that like life?
Read It If: you love fairytales or stories about families and grief.