The Museum of Extraordinary Things
by Alice Hoffman

Overview - The "spellbinding" ( People , 4 stars), New York Times bestseller from the author of The Dovekeepers an extraordinary novel about an electric and impassioned love affair--"an enchanting love story rich with history and a sense of place" ( USA TODAY ).  Read more...

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More About The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman
The "spellbinding" (People, 4 stars), New York Times bestseller from the author of The Dovekeepers an extraordinary novel about an electric and impassioned love affair--"an enchanting love story rich with history and a sense of place" (USA TODAY).

Coralie Sardie is the daughter of the sinister impresario behind The Museum of Extraordinary Things, a Coney Island freak show that thrills the masses. An exceptional swimmer, Coralie appears as the Mermaid in her father's "museum," alongside performers like the Wolfman and the Butterfly Girl. One night Coralie stumbles upon a striking young man taking pictures of moonlit trees in the woods off the Hudson River.

The dashing photographer is Eddie Cohen, a Russian immigrant who has run away from his community and his job as a tailor's apprentice. When Eddie photographs the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, he becomes embroiled in the mystery behind a young woman's disappearance. And he ignites the heart of Coralie.

Alice Hoffman weaves her trademark magic, romance, and masterful storytelling to unite Coralie and Eddie in a tender and moving story of young love in tumultuous times. The Museum of Extraordinary Things is, "a lavish tale about strange yet sympathetic people" (The New York Times Book Review).

  • ISBN-13: 9781451693577
  • ISBN-10: 1451693575
  • Publisher: Scribner Book Company
  • Publish Date: September 2014
  • Page Count: 368
  • Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.65 pounds

Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Literary
Books > Fiction > Historical - General
Books > Fiction > Jewish

BookPage Reviews

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Set in New York in the early 1900s, Alice Hoffman’s hypnotic new novel, The Museum of Extraordinary Things, is a classic love story with a few twists. Coralie Sardie’s father runs the Museum of Extraordinary Things, a sensational establishment on Coney Island that features rare creatures like the Wolfman, the Butterfly Girl, the Goat Boy and Coralie herself. Born with webbed fingers, she appears at the museum as The Mermaid. When Coralie meets a young photographer named Eddie Cohen, her life changes forever. A Russian immigrant who has turned his back on the past, Eddie photographs the aftermath of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire only to find himself entangled in a mystery involving a woman who has disappeared. Hoffman brings old New York to vivid life, creating a cast of unforgettable characters who personify the era, including crooks, bums, bootleggers and, of course, lovers. With the story of Eddie and Coralie, she takes readers on a magical trip into the past, spinning a beautifully crafted tale of romance, danger and suspense.

In his moving memoir, Little Failure, best-selling author Gary Shteyngart recounts his painful—and often hilarious—adjustment to American culture after his family immigrates to New York from the Soviet Union. Arriving in 1979 at the age of 7, with his engineer father and piano-teacher mother, the author finds himself in a world so perplexingly different from his native Leningrad that he’s forced to take comfort in books and writing. A nervous, asthmatic lad, he’s referred to by his mother as Failurchka—Little Failure. Writing with wit, honesty and utter self-effacement, Shteyngart excavates painful memories on the page, providing anecdotes of his Hebrew school years, attempts at romance and awkward, ever-practical parents. He also looks back at his time as a student at Oberlin College, when he sported long hair and flannel shirts and sampled many illegal substances, and at his development as a writer. Fans of Shteyngart’s acclaimed novels and new readers alike will find much to relish in this illuminating memoir.

Nancy Horan follows her acclaimed novel Loving Frank (2007) with another beautifully rendered historical romance. Under the Wide and Starry Sky is the story of the love that blossomed between Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson and the volatile American who became his wife, Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne. The pair meet for the first time at an artists’ colony in France. Ten years older than the writer, with two children and a no-good husband back in the States, Fanny is slow to respond to Stevenson’s attentions. But he wins her heart, and the two embark on a life filled with travel, fame and artistic exploration. Along the way, Fanny serves as Stevenson’s editor and caretaker—he suffers from lung problems—and Horan does a remarkable job of reconstructing their complex, intense relationship. This splendid novel showcases Horan’s many gifts, including her knack for convincing dialogue and her ability to create rich interior lives for her characters.


This article was originally published in the October 2014 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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