A group of people on Martha s Vineyard are brought together in a web of yearning, sin, eroticism, and ultimate redemption


10 thoughts on “Illumination Night

  1. Always Pouting Always Pouting says:

    Vonny and Andre live in Martha s vineyard with their son Simon and live next door to an old women whose granddaughter ends up moving in The story just follows them around for two years There was really no story line or plot here and the characters felt one dimensional I enjoyed the writing and I loved the giant but everyone else was pretty hard to sympathize with except maybe the old lady I understand showing a characters weaknesses but you still have to humanize them for the reader, everyon Vonny and Andre live in Martha s vineyard with their son Simon and live next door to an old women whose granddaughter ends up moving in The story just follows them around for two years There was really no story line or plot here and the characters felt one dimensional I enjoyed the writing and I loved the giant but everyone else was pretty hard to sympathize with except maybe the old lady I understand showing a characters weaknesses but you still have to humanize them for the reader, everyone has their strengths as well Nothing even happens in the story really and the ending felt lke it came out of no where and was pointless Not sure what Hoffman was trying to do here


  2. Maria Maria says:

    Alice Hoffman s books are not the kind you read and soon forget Instead, they haunt you for years after you finish them, reminding you to search for light in darkness They don t impose their presence, though They seem to come to us as a memory exactly when we need them to, almost as if they were summoned They are indeed enchanting, their simplicity absolutely astounding Illumination Night reminded me of The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier, the very first book I read in English Alice Hoffman s books are not the kind you read and soon forget Instead, they haunt you for years after you finish them, reminding you to search for light in darkness They don t impose their presence, though They seem to come to us as a memory exactly when we need them to, almost as if they were summoned They are indeed enchanting, their simplicity absolutely astounding Illumination Night reminded me of The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier, the very first book I read in English I feel like I should revisit it soon for it has been quite a while since I last read it It was while going through the process of accepting that people must die, with Simon, that I found myself thinking back on Brockmeier s novel.Death is, in my point of view, the main theme of Illumination Night When I say death I don t mean just the physical one, but also the feeling of death that comes with every breath we take The constant mutation, the endless goodbyes whispered to the pieces of ourselves that seem to be taken from us by the ones who pass by I think it s about accepting that these goodbyes are not as permanent as they sound, as they feel, but mostly see you later s And rather literal ones, for all these people, all these pieces, they will reside within ourselves forever, even if we can t quite see them.There s absolutely no doubt that Alice Hoffman creates wonderful contexts, brilliant backgrounds, but what I love the most about her books are her characters They are never secondary, even if they only show up for a chapter Her words are delicate, even when drawing the portrait of a human being that has takenthan enough wrong turns She is kind to every soul, no matter what they have done She gives them a chance, she listens to them it s so beautiful It s impossible not to be awed by her benevolence, by her humanity.Her books always convey quite a strong and heavy message, and yet it doesn t feel like that at all It s like she introduces these matters, layer by layer, so you can slowly blend with them When you reach the end, you feel like you have been a witness to something huge, an event so immense you don t have enough words or stars in the universe to describe it.I have said this before, but I believe Alice Hoffman s novels to be a lesson on how to be human The only thing you have to do is be willing to listen Once you are comfortable and about ready, she will start whispering these bittersweet little nothings that suddenly become your everything It s quite a breathtaking experience


  3. Patricia Patricia says:

    ILLUMINATION NIGHT is so beautifully written it almost feels like a fairy tale I don t remember a book by Alice Hoffman which I did not love I highly recommend giving this wonderful book a try


  4. Laura Laura says:

    For a book called Illumination Night , there sure is a shadow over this story The majority of the time, the characters are all in significant inner turmoil They have their brief glimpses of joy, but then the perspective shifts back to another character in angst I also find the dolefulness of the characters overly contrived for the sake of soap opera esque melodrama It evoked for me the mental eye rolling previously reserved for the Twilight series The book plays out somewhat like a fairyta For a book called Illumination Night , there sure is a shadow over this story The majority of the time, the characters are all in significant inner turmoil They have their brief glimpses of joy, but then the perspective shifts back to another character in angst I also find the dolefulness of the characters overly contrived for the sake of soap opera esque melodrama It evoked for me the mental eye rolling previously reserved for the Twilight series The book plays out somewhat like a fairytale for adults in its telling, though without the magic Also, it doesn t seem like a cohesive story so much as a snapshot of a year or so of the characters lives and personalities The majority of my time spent listening to audio books is while I m exercising During this one, I found myself checking how much time I had left in the workouts muchfrequently than usual, and counting down the tracks until the book itself was over When it finally did end, far too much was left unresolved or unanswered


  5. Stephanie Stephanie says:

    one of my favorite alice hoffman books, aside from the river king her old stuff is soooooooo much better than the new.so much better.anyhow, it takes place on the vineyard, which was excellent, becuase i could picture everything in my brain also, her imagery and prose is aMAZing it s like one really long poem, rahter than a novel the characers are facinating too they are flawed, but you love them, and you hurt for them, and you wish they were actual people that lived next door and then one of my favorite alice hoffman books, aside from the river king her old stuff is soooooooo much better than the new.so much better.anyhow, it takes place on the vineyard, which was excellent, becuase i could picture everything in my brain also, her imagery and prose is aMAZing it s like one really long poem, rahter than a novel the characers are facinating too they are flawed, but you love them, and you hurt for them, and you wish they were actual people that lived next door and then you cry when everyone is redeemed, but not in a squishy free love sort of way in a real way p.s sometimes i get way too into books anyhow, it has hoffman s signature mystical aura, but unlike her later works, it kind of takes a back seat to the character development i loved it, and will read it again.fin


  6. Ron Ron says:

    I picked up this book on a summer vacation in Martha s Vineyard and was both charmed and entertained by it The tradition of Illumination Night and the summer gatherings of Methodist families on the island make a kind of magical, firefly lit ambiance for this tale of people, young and old, whose lives intersect in unexpected ways.The most fascinating character for me was the agoraphobic young wife, trapped in her house by fears she can barely articulate Hoffman s treatment of this characters is I picked up this book on a summer vacation in Martha s Vineyard and was both charmed and entertained by it The tradition of Illumination Night and the summer gatherings of Methodist families on the island make a kind of magical, firefly lit ambiance for this tale of people, young and old, whose lives intersect in unexpected ways.The most fascinating character for me was the agoraphobic young wife, trapped in her house by fears she can barely articulate Hoffman s treatment of this characters is so realistic and convincing that after reading the novel I felt for the first time that I not only understood this condition I had lived it.While the gentle giant young man is a bit of a surprise for someone reading Hoffman for the first time, she also makes this character perfectly plausible and sympathetic You can accept the young girl s falling in love with him because we come to care about him ourselves, while realizing that she has the power to break his heart.As a writer, Hoffman leaves you with the impression that she feels deeply for her characters, regardless of their weaknesses and shortcomings And putting down this novel, you can feel in yourself a tender heartedness for others that most books either don t try to evoke, or try and fail


  7. Rebecca Rebecca says:

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here Nothing magical in this book by magical realism author, Alice Hoffman Basically a two year chronicle of people living on Martha s Vineyard, Illumination Nights is a lesson in tedium.First we have Vonny who is treated horribly by her father a stereotypical New York millionaire but never deals or reacts to it except to develop a crushing case of agarophobia Vonny is married to Andre, a man who doesn t communicate They have a son, Simon, who goes from 4 6 with all of the baggage of a toddler Nothing magical in this book by magical realism author, Alice Hoffman Basically a two year chronicle of people living on Martha s Vineyard, Illumination Nights is a lesson in tedium.First we have Vonny who is treated horribly by her father a stereotypical New York millionaire but never deals or reacts to it except to develop a crushing case of agarophobia Vonny is married to Andre, a man who doesn t communicate They have a son, Simon, who goes from 4 6 with all of the baggage of a toddler and little of the charm.The next door neighbor is sinking into blindness and dementia Her grandaughter, a 16 year old tramp moves in with her and does little besides trying to seduce Andre and flunking her high school classes Later she abandons Andre and takes up with a local giant, the only likable, and believable character in the book.Then a 6 year old girl is hit by a car and killed.Ugh Was Hoffman battling depression when she wrote this mess It s too bad she couldn t have kept it to herself instead of inflicting it onto her readers.Overall this book was a big disappointment


  8. Melodie Melodie says:

    The lives of the ordinary year round resident s of Martha s Vineyard are the focus of this story An elderly woman struggling to cope with the true twilight of her life A rebellious teenage girl unwillingly designated to be her grandmother s helper And a young couple and their young son, all with their own inner struggles.Their lives are entangled in the most ordinary yet extraordinary ways Alice Hoffman is known for the magical element in her stories This one had it as well, although it di The lives of the ordinary year round resident s of Martha s Vineyard are the focus of this story An elderly woman struggling to cope with the true twilight of her life A rebellious teenage girl unwillingly designated to be her grandmother s helper And a young couple and their young son, all with their own inner struggles.Their lives are entangled in the most ordinary yet extraordinary ways Alice Hoffman is known for the magical element in her stories This one had it as well, although it didn t figure as prominently And while initially I struggled to engage, the prose so beautifully done kept me reading until the characters took hold of me


  9. Lydia Lydia says:

    This was so freaking good The integration of the mundanity of human life along with the magic of human life was so wonderfully done The entire story felt real, but Hoffman also managed to maintain the mystical quality of existence.So, yes, Bert You were right I did really enjoy this book.


  10. Heather Heather says:

    Couldn t put it down Not once Read it in a couple of hours straight Hypnotic Beautiful Hoffman is a magnificent storyteller.