The Museum of Extraordinary Things (Hardcover)

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Sandy's March 2014 pick

The Museum of Extraordinary Things, by Alice Hoffman

Alice Hoffman's darkest fairy tale yet. Set in New York City (Brooklyn/Coney Island) at the turn of the 20th century, the setting is a "museum" of bizarre oddities (2-headed goat, 100 yr old tortoise, etc.) with a sideshow of the wolfman, the fire-eater, etc. The 2 main characters are a young Jewish photographer who has forsaken his heritage, and a young girl with webbed fingers who has been made into an erstwhile mermaid by her unscrupulous guardian. It has elements of The Night Circus (young woman exploited by her evil father), the Brothers Grimm, and Dennis Lehane (labor unrest and a corrupt government). It's a great love story. Love conquers evil. I loved it!

— From Sandy Eaton Newell

March 2014 Indie Next List

“Hoffman's latest work of fiction is a tour de force of imagination which, at the same time, builds a world so real and present that the reader senses a tangible reality. The setting is New York and Brooklyn in 1911, where sideshow 'curiosities,' Russian emigre Jews, the emerging workers unions, and the lost, wild beauty of Manhattan's rivers and woods blend into a dream. Hoffman's research is precise, her vision unique, and her writing extraordinarily evocative. This is a beautiful and sensitive novel.”
— Karen Pennington, Books Inc., San Francisco, CA


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.

Mesmerizing and illuminating, Alice Hoffman's The Museum of Extraordinary Things is the story of an electric and impassioned love between two vastly different souls in New York during the volatile first decades of the twentieth century.

Coralie Sardie is the daughter of the sinister impresario behind The Museum of Extraordinary Things, a Coney Island boardwalk freak show that thrills the masses. 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 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 father's Lower East Side Orthodox community and his job as a tailor's apprentice. When Eddie photographs the devastation on the streets of New York following the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, he becomes embroiled in the suspicious mystery behind a young woman's disappearance and ignites the heart of Coralie.

With its colorful crowds of bootleggers, heiresses, thugs, and idealists, New York itself becomes a riveting character as Hoffman weaves her trademark 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 Alice Hoffman at her most spellbinding.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781451693560
ISBN-10: 1451693567
Publisher: Scribner Book Company
Publication Date: February 18th, 2014
Pages: 368
Language: English