Green Angel by Alice Hoffman



"I crawled under the dining room table, smelling like smoke and half-blinded by cinders. Little bits of hot embers flew under the door. Onion followed and lay shivering in my lap. I was Green, who was too shy to speak. Green, too angry to say good-bye. Green, who was always waiting for the future, biding her time. Now the future was here and the silver city across the river was on fire and I was hiding under the table, where I stayed until darkness fell."


Green is the quiet one, the obedient one, the one who is patient. Her sister, Aurora is lively, iridescent and engaging. To Green, she is the plain one of the family. She does not shine like her sister, nor can her voice charm anyone like her mother and she cannot match her father's strength but a garden will grow for Green like it will for no other. Since Green is needed to watch the garden, she can not follow her family to the city where they sell their vegetables. Instead, she is left behind to watch as the city is destroyed, as her family is taken away and her world is covered in ash. When the fires stop, Green must live in this new world, one clouded by smoke, stripped of everything and everyone she loved, one filled with loss and sorrow.

I'm so in love with this little story. It's a beautiful tale about overcoming loss, finding yourself when you're no longer sure of who you are and of the many different colors a soul will turn before it finally heals.

In the story, something horrible and devastating happens. I like that there wasn't much detail about what occurred, it was kept rather generic so that the devastation could be any one's, just as the loss that followed could belong to anyone.

What was absolutely captivating about this little work was that Hoffman, somehow, even on paper, caused the use of each and every one of our senses. I'm sitting here now trying to capture what I mean without sounding like a loony but maybe you just have to read it. You can smell, hear, feel, taste and see this story.

I've read the bulk of Alice Hoffman's books and still remain firmly on the fence when it comes to my feelings about her as an author. There are moments when her novels amaze and deliver the right mix of emotion and magic (Practical Magic, The Probable Future) and then there are times when her work is just too bizarre for words (The Ice Queen, The River King). Green Angel is grade A Alice, at her best, and I loved it. Green Witch, the sequel, comes out today (I think).

4 thoughts?:

pirate penguin March 1, 2010 at 1:48 PM  

I read this in high school and I remember being struck by how beautiful the writing was. :)

I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the sequel. I was happy for the next few hours xD

And thanks for putting me on your "Stalk them!" list. <3

Ingalill. March 2, 2010 at 6:54 AM  

What a wonderful review - I know exactly what you mean when you talk about Hoffman engaging all your senses - I frequently experience the same reading her books.

I havent't read this one - but I recently started reading Hoffman again, after having quite a love affair with her 10-15 yrs ago - needless to say I am delighted to rediscover her and to see that she did not stop writing just because I stopped reading :-)

My plan is to get through all her books during 2010 - I am sure it will be quite enjoyable :-)

Jessilyn March 3, 2010 at 2:24 PM  

Great Review, this one looks pretty good.
Wow, someone else from Mississippi don't find many book bloggers from there lately. Anyway love your blog.

Cleverly Inked March 7, 2010 at 10:02 PM  

This seems amazing. I love books like this.

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