Alice Hoffman usually writes of magic and darkness with elan, with great heart and hope. The Red Garden has a hint of magic here and there, but little heart and no hope. It's primarily darkness, chock full of traumatic events and despair. There is one theme: life is brutal. It's a series of short stories that are linked by place and ancestry but by the fifth story, the links are lost. I believe the cause was inadequate character development; I didn't understand what drove the characters, why they acted or felt as they did, so they were eminently forgettable. The stories were so depressing, I dreaded picking up the book. Very glad to be done with it.
On a whim I decided to read an sample of this book. I was caught, pulled into a web of memories. I felt like I was reading my father's diary. I watched the family grow and felt I was a part of their lives. I loved this book. The emotions that it invoked so quietly that I would forget I was reading fiction. Such a beautiful tapestry. I am so pleased to have read this book.
This was an interesting and thought provoking read. Each chapter an essay in the life of this town and these people. It contains some great commentaries on the human condition. I had to read each chapter to its conclusion before I could put it down. Terrific!
It was an interesting concept...following the population of a town from its inception, through the generations' links by birth or marriage and the newcomers' arrivals and absorption as citizens. It was a bit dark for my taste. My favourite bit... without creating any spoilers....was the evolution - without fanfare - of the name of a certain field.
Intriguing stories linking generations of families from the founders of the village to present. Each story had its own twist showing the strengths and weaknesses of mankind. Captivating yet easy reading.