The Museum of Extraordinary Things: A Novel by Alice HoffmanThe Museum of Extraordinary Things: A Novel by Alice Hoffman

The Museum of Extraordinary Things: A Novel

byAlice HoffmanRead byJudith Light, Grace Gummer

Audio Book (CD) | February 18, 2014

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From the beloved, bestselling author of The Dovekeepers, a mesmerizing new novel about the electric and impassioned love between two vastly different souls in New York during the volatile first decades of the twentieth century.

Coney Island: Coralie Sardie is the daughter of the impresario behind The Museum of Extraordinary Things, a boardwalk freak show that amazes and stimulates the crowds. An exceptional swimmer, Coralie appears as the Mermaid in her father’s “museum,” alongside performers like the Wolfman, the Butterfly Girl, and a one-hundred-year-old turtle. One night Coralie stumbles upon a striking young man photographing moonlit trees in the woods off the Hudson River.

The dashing photographer is Eddie Cohen, a Russian immigrant who has run away from his father’s Lower East Side Orthodox community and his job as an apprentice tailor. When Eddie captures with his camera the devastation on the streets of New York following the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, he becomes embroiled in the mystery behind a young woman’s disappearance.

New York itself becomes a riveting character as Hoffman weaves her magic, romance, and masterful storytelling to unite Coralie and Eddie in a sizzling, tender, and moving story of young love in tumultuous times. The Museum of Extraordinary Things is Hoffman at her most spellbinding.
Alice Hoffman, an American novelist and screenwriter, was born in New York City on March 16, 1952. She earned a B.A. from Adelphi University in 1973 and an M.A. in creative writing from Stanford University in 1975 before publishing her first novel, Property Of, in 1977. Known for blending realism and fantasy in her fiction, she often c...
Title:The Museum of Extraordinary Things: A NovelFormat:Audio Book (CD)Dimensions:384 pages, 5.88 × 5 × 0.9 inPublished:February 18, 2014Publisher:S&S AudioLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:144236761X

ISBN - 13:9781442367616

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fantastic! I really enjoyed this one. The prose is great, characters are fantastic. It really draws you in!
Date published: 2017-03-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Beautiful. As always Alice Hoffman manages to blur the lines between fantasy and fiction. She never lets the reader down with her token tales of history with a magical twist. I wouldn't market this book as a "love story" in the romantic sense. As previously stated, the relationship between Coralie and Eddie is a very small part of the story. But overall it is still about love and all of the different, sometimes even strange, ways people choose to show it.
Date published: 2017-01-17
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Enchanting This is a wonderful coming-of-age story for those who love the beautiful blend of magical realism with mystery. It immediately lures you in, for the book itself has an enchanting, yet mysterious, appearance. A silhouette of a mermaid with a pair of delicate fairy wings graces the cover. Hoffman does a brilliant job of crafting each character into an incredibly real and breathing being. Her words evoke vivid imagery and the mystery is an intriguing one. My slight dissatisfaction with this novel lies in the fact that, although this book has been marketed as a love story and is presented as such, the romance between Coralie and Eddie is not a strong highlight of the book. In my opinion, their romance seems underdeveloped.
Date published: 2016-12-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from great read I loved the atmospheric aura in this book, fantasy but realistic at the same time. I pictured everything in my mind when I read this book. The story is spellbinding.
Date published: 2016-11-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An enjoyable and captivating read Alice Hoffman is an entertaining writer. Many of her novels are well written and well researched historical fictions. The Museum of Extraordinary Things is no exception to the standards that I have come to expect in Hoffman's writing. Her fictional main characters are plausible and well developed. Her use of imagery easily allows the reader to visualize the settings that this story encompasses.
Date published: 2015-07-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Thorough... I would describe Alice Hoffman as nothing less than just that: a 'thorough' writer. In fact, this book is not actually about that much, but the writing is so precise and, well, thorough, that it doesn't take much to transport you directly into the shoes of the characters you are reading. The events of this book take place over a relatively short amount of time, but there is so much baggage to each and every person, struggling over the central theme of two devastating fires in New York in the early 1900s, that you crave more and more from each of them, willing them to cross paths (that did feel like an eternity, to be honest) and have what happens unfold (no matter how tragic or ugly it is). The mystery, among other things, is interesting as it draws the main characters together and though I can't put my finger on it, there is a richness to its simplicity that I perhaps enjoyed more than anything else. To be honest, the Dovekeepers is Alice's finest piece of work and nothing to be missed, but this is also extremely well written and intriguing and should not be passed over!
Date published: 2015-03-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The museum of extraordinary things I enjoy reading historical fiction which teaches me something about life and human nature. It was an enjoyable read i looked foreward to my time wih the book to find out what happened!
Date published: 2015-02-25
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Captivating and then ... not so much. Alice Hoffman's writing is easy, elegant, and draws you in from the start. The historical and fictional stories weave together beautifully, transporting the reader into a unique type of magic realism. I was thrilled by the ride ... and then I was not. Somehow, it felt as though the stories got away from her and she wound up feeling the need to wrap them up too quickly and too neatly. Despite the weaknesses, Extraordinary Things is still worth the read.
Date published: 2014-11-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Read it!!!! Great book with many actual New York historic events.
Date published: 2014-09-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This is a wonderful story of compassion within a nightmare world A very unusual book, told from two main sources. Yes, there is a museum and it is fascinating, but there are dark secrets hidden here. The museum is owned by a refugee who lives alone on Coney Island with his young daughter, who tells one part of the story, and a housekeeper. Both are called monsters, though they are the most caring in the story. The girl is very young at the beginning of her story, and one hundred percent under the control of her father, though she is not aware of it. Nor is she aware of what his plan for her future is. The second storyteller is an Orthodox Jew, a refugee from the Ukraine who lives with his father and both work in the textile mills in Boston. A young boy on the verge of rebellion at the beginning. He renounces his faith when he believes his father tried to commit suicide. It is a time in New York when men were in charge and women were treated as possessions, a time when class distinction was not only strongly defined but often corrupt and hidden crime was rampant, a time when 'hired' help was more often than not mistreated. Also a time of workhouses where children and women were forced to work for a pittance and often accidents occurred. Such is the case when a fire breaks out while the workers are locked within. You thought this happened only in other countries? Murders and assaults occur while eyes remain closed. This is New York in the 1800s and early 1900s. Manhattan was not much more than a swamp at certain times of the year. Coney Island was just becoming the famous park and beach it would one day be. For the boy who renounced his faith he has found beauty in nature. For the girl living at the museum, she has found horror. Will the two ever be able to find each other in time? Through all the brutality of the times, this story is beautiful in many ways. It flows between two sides, much like the Hudson River, featured so often in the story and integral to it in many ways. It is a story of betrayal, but also a love story of two storytellers. There is connection between many of the characters, and the spark of life, love and humanity exists and blooms against all odds. Alice Hoffman has not only captured the essence of early New York, she has integrated two historical events seamlessly, and recreated the crises so vividly you can almost feel the heat. Though the characters are fictional, the events are real. This is a wonderful story of compassion within a nightmare world. This story I will carry with me for a long time. Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The rating and words are mine with no interference, written from my own perspective.
Date published: 2014-08-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The museum of extraordinary things Loved the story. The end was great!
Date published: 2014-07-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting read The book is tough to get into but is a very worthwhile read. The characters are interesting and believable. The story is intriguing
Date published: 2014-05-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Still my favourite author How timely that I am reading this as the one year anniversary of the factory collapse in Bangladesh is recognized. Heartbreaking!
Date published: 2014-05-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Emotionally Fulfilling When a book can make you feel disgusted.....joyful and everything in between, the book has accomplished its intent
Date published: 2014-04-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved this! In 1922 Coney Island was in the beginning stages of the tourist attraction it became. New York still had woods in which to roam and hunt.  People could still swim in the Hudson River and fish along its banks.  Coralie Sardie swims it all the time, even when ice begins to form on the surface.  She feels more alive in the water because you see Coralie is a mermaid.  Or, at least she pretends to be a mermaid swimming in a tank at her father’s “Museum of Extraordinary Things”.  Professor Sardie collects unusual specimens of all types and when his daughter turned out to have webbed fingers, well, how could he not make her the star attraction of his show?  Coralie grows up surrounded by “wonders” – the paying public referred to them as freaks.  As she nears adulthood Coralie can’t help but question whether she is the wonder her father promotes publicly or the freak instructed to wear white gloves at all times to hide her deformity. The professor’s housekeeper and Coralie’s surrogate mother Maureen, herself scarred by both life and an encounter with acid is the one person Coralie can count on for unconditional love. Happenstance brings Coralie into the woods one evening where she spies Ezekial (Eddie) Cohen sitting by a campfire sharing dinner with his dog.  Ezekial, who feels like an outsider among his family and friends, is desparately trying to escape his recent past and even more desparately, his distant past.  But how can he ever escape the boyhood memory of his home, with his mother inside, being burned to the ground?  He finds his solace in photography, for some reason, specifically crime scenes.  He photographs not only the victims but takes the “mug shots” of the criminals as well.  But Ezekial has something extraordinary to hide as well.  He has the uncanny ability to find things … and people.  The tale of these three characters, two defined by fire and one by water, would have made an interesting book in itself but Ms. Hoffman does not stop there.  She bookends their story with the tale of two New York tragedies:  the Triangle Shirtwaist fire and the Dreamland fire.  She expertly weaves the lives of her characters in and out and around these historical events. One reviewer described this book as “ a wonderful mix of magic vs. science, of history and tragedy, and of love and romance”.  I couldn’t agree more.
Date published: 2014-03-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Museum of Extraordinary Things Great story'. Didn't want it to end.
Date published: 2014-03-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good Story! Alternating between Coralie's odd upbringing amid her father's museum's unique inhabitants, and Eddie's running from his own father and his culture, this story of early New York brings the two together gradually. Their experiences with other people are sometimes happy, often base, and always moving them to a gripping final meet with truth...and each other. Hoffman always writes well, although I was disappointed in some parts of the ending that seemed too passive amidst such turmoil. Entertaining, unusual. 
Date published: 2014-03-05