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Book Review: The Drowning Season



Alice Hoffman is a poet who just happens to write novels. I am a poet who happens to read novels. Is it any wonder that Hoffman’s books are among my favorites? With each book, I become more enchanted, more in awe of her.
The Drowning Season is, like so many of Hoffman’s works, almost a fairy tale. The story of two women, Esther-the-Black, and her granddaughter, Esther-the-White follows their lives through one summer,  the last drowning season. As Esther-the-White struggles to find peace and love at the end of her life, we hear the story of her escape from Russia, to the Compound she has created on Long Island. Who will know her, love her, before it is too late? Will it be her son, Patrick, who she’s held at arm’s length his entire life, has  spent each summer trying to kill himself in the nearest body of water, earning himself the nickname The Drowned Man from the fishermen in the town near by.  Her husband, Mischa, who she brought with her out of Russia,  but has never truly loved.  Cohen, the hired man, who loves her, or her granddaughter, who hates her? 

The Drowning Season gains an almost mythic quality as Esther-the-white tells her story of escape & loss and  hopes for love & redemption.   Hoffman’s lyrical  novel is magical, smooth as sea glass. 


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