In this series of connected stories young Gretel Samuelson comes of age in a small-town neighbourhood and Alice Hoffman casts her characteristic spell over the lives of girls and women. Told from Gretel's sly and knowing perspective, Local Girls charts Gretel's always unexpected progress as she navigates from childhood to the brink of womanhood, ...Read MoreIn this series of connected stories young Gretel Samuelson comes of age in a small-town neighbourhood and Alice Hoffman casts her characteristic spell over the lives of girls and women. Told from Gretel's sly and knowing perspective, Local Girls charts Gretel's always unexpected progress as she navigates from childhood to the brink of womanhood, through a series of long hot summers, picking her way through the tragedies and absurdities of everyday life in the Samuelson family that is constantly rocked by divorce and disaster, bad judgment and fierce attachments. Her father has left them, her chain-smoking mother Franny is falling apart and refuses to learn the simple lessons of life (like the fact that smoking gives you lung cancer), her aunt Margot is in love with romance but falls for all the wrong men, her Jewish grandmother has made a pact with God, her perfect brother goes off the rails with fatal results, and even her best friend Jill, blonde, enviable and beutiful, is moving too fast into the unfathomable world of women. Beautifully written and dazzingly crafted, Local Girls forms the irresistible portrait of a family, peeling at the edges, and of a young girl learning how to survive in a world that doesn't make sense.Read Less
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Publishers Weekly, 1999-07-05 Hoffman's chosen form of a novelistic group of short stories?all of which share the same family characters?lends itself nicely to the abridged audio format, in which the fragmentation seems a willful form of stylized narration. The audio's producers have augmented this effect: two narrators, the airy Merlington and the pragmatic Vigesaa, play off against each other in tone as they trade stories. In the opener, Gretel Samuelson tells of her family's troubles in confidential, diarylike schoolgirl terms. In later offerings, omniscient descriptions are given of mother Franny's fight against cancer and brother Jason's disintegration as a heroin addict. Though dysfunctional family fiction seems standard fare these days, Hoffman's highly individual knack for creating a sense of specific atmosphere is uncanny and unique, a quality that translates especially well in spoken form. Based on the 1999 Putnam hardcover. (June) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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