Seventh Heaven

Seventh Heaven

by Alice Hoffman


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“Part American Graffiti, part early Updike, Seventh Heaven simultaneously chronicles the coming of age of a group of teenagers in a Long Island town, and the gradual dissolution of their parents’ repressed, middle-class world...A parable about changing times and changing values”(The New York Times) from the bestselling author of The Rules of Magic.

Nora Silk doesn’t really fit in on Hemlock Street, where every house looks the same. She's divorced. She wears a charm bracelet and high heels and red toreador pants. And the way she raises her kids is a scandal. But as time passes, the neighbors start having second thoughts about Nora. The women’s apprehension evolves into admiration. The men’s lust evolves into awe. The children are drawn to her in ways they can't explain. And everyone on this little street in 1959 Long Island seems to sense the possibilities and perils of a different kind of future when they look at Nora Silk. An extraordinary novel, Seventh Heaven takes us back to a time when the exotic both terrified and intrigued us, and despite our most desperate attempts, our passions and secrets remained as stubbornly alive as the weeds in our well-trimmed lawns.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780425188484
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/18/2003
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 456,101
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Alice Hoffman is the author of more than thirty works of fiction, including The Rules of Magic, Practical MagicThe Marriage of OppositesThe Red Garden, the Oprah’s Book Club selection Here on EarthThe Museum of Extraordinary Things, and The Dovekeepers. She lives near Boston.


Boston, Massachusetts

Date of Birth:

March 16, 1952

Place of Birth:

New York, New York


B.A., Adelphi University, 1973; M.A., Stanford University, 1974

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“A pleasure... Seventh Heaven is not only entertaining—it gives one new respect for tender suburban dreams.”—Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Part American Graffiti, part early Updike, Seventh Heaven simultaneously chronicles the coming of age of a group of teenagers in a Long Island town, and the gradual dissolution of their parents’ repressed, middle-class world...A parable about changing times and changing values.”—The New York Times
“A consummate joy...magical.”—The Washington Post Book World
“Before you know it, you're half in love with the ordinary people who inhabit this book; you're seduced by their susceptibility to the remarkable.”—The New Yorker
“Seamless storytelling...vivid characters…a lively pace and plenty of surprises.”—USA Today
“Powerful...sparkling...Seventh Heaven is a major accomplishment.”—The Boston Globe
“Stirring, far [her] best book.”—Time
“Brilliant and astonishing...Suffused with magic. If ever a book deserved to be called ‘haunting,’ this is it. In every sense of the word.”—Cosmopolitan
“Terrific...Seventh Heaven is one of those rare novels so abundant with life it seems to overflow its own pages...Her storytelling gifts are those of a master.”—Newsweek
“Beautifully told.”—People
“Literary magic...A beautiful, deceptively simple story about ordinary life in an ordinary housing development nestled beside the Southern State Parkway...Hoffman breaks down the barriers of time, distance, and reticence. She takes us inside the houses of Hemlock Street and shows us how our ordinary neighbors—like ouselves—are both unique and universal, and worthy of love.”—Newsday
“In the full flowering of her extraordinary talent, Hoffman has produced a wise, poignant and uplifting novel luminous with the sensitive evocation of ordinary lives...As usual she tells more than a compulsively readable story. She does magic, she unsettles you and she leaves you feeling emotionally purged and satisfied.”—Publishers Weekly
“Touching and evocative...Reading it can quickly transport you to Cloud Nine.”—The Houston Post
“[A] deft blend of magical realism and sociological truth.”—Chicago Tribune
“Spellbinding.”—Boston Sunday Herald

Customer Reviews

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Seventh Heaven 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Sevnth Heaven was a fabulous book. Alice Hoffman takes the reader into a typical suburban town where things appear perfect. However, Ms. Hoffman adds a twist making the book difficult to put down. Although an easy read, this book involves the reader directly in the complex lives of the characters while bringing the reader into the small suburban town.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ms. Hoffman tells the tale of a group of suburban families who, ready or not, are on the cusp of change. A wonderful storyteller, whose able to transform what would otherwise be viewed as a mundane part of every day life, into a thoughtful, as well as page-turning novel. Kudos to you, Ms. Hoffman.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved it. It is a fast easy read that will leave you thinking.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There is something about an Alice Hoffman novel. For me, they are food for my soul. ~*~LEB~*~
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I did enjoy this story, however was disappointed with the ending. It seemed to have just stopped. A few things, like Nora's son finally working out the issues and Nora being accepted was nice to see, but no big ending. Left more questions than answers in the end. I did love the setting and and the descriptions of the area, were so real, you could picture and feel exactly what it was like to live on their street.
CloggieDownunder on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Seventh Heaven is Alice Hoffman¿s 9th stand-alone novel and tells the story of when attractive divorcee Nora Silk came to live in Hemlock Street, Long Island with 8 year-old Billy and baby James. Set in the late `50s, it captures the dispiriting feeling of suburbia. As a divorced woman, Nora found her presence posed a threat and prevented her from being part of the community. The story is told from several different characters¿ perspectives. Hoffman gives us beautiful prose and evocative descriptions that bring the reader right into the moment, even if it is occasionally not such a pleasant one. When Hoffman writes, the reader feels all the anxiety, fear, frustration, joy, sorrow and wonder that her characters feel. I really enjoyed the incongruity of a brilliant butterfly like Nora selling Tupperware to the oppressed moths of suburbia. I loved this novel.
mbergman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is Hoffman at her best (and that's very good, indeed), giving us an engaging & empathetic treatment of a mother & son who are outcasts in the small community they move into. It has nice light magical touches, especially in her descriptions of everyday suburban scenes.
starlightink on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Hoffman always writes of the ghosts that haunt people's lives. This book is no exception. However, the more interesting aspect of this book is how well Hoffman has drawn a character that so accurately illustrates the Aphrodite Goddess-type written about by Jane Shiboda Bolen in her book, The Goddess in Every Woman. Aphrodite archetypes are women who, without any conscious knowledge, set off reactions in others for which the Aphrodite-type is often cursed. Aphrodite is called by Shiboda-Bolen the "Alchemical Goddess", the woman who has an inherent sexual charge to her nature, who spurs the unspoken desires in men and the often unacknowledged fears or desires in other women.The setting of this book is the early-1950s in America, where the first housing subdivisions are being built. Conformity is the Rule of the Day, especially the demand for female conformity. In this era, women were tightly controlled and their sexuality was deeply feared. The housing subdivision was a metaphor for the sameness, the standardization of behavior, of looks, of hopes and dreams that were held as the American Ideal of the day.Into this world of houses that all look the same and people who never go outside the boldly delineated lines of social expectation that were drawn for them moves Rita, a divorcee with two young children at a time when divorce was still considered scandalous.Rita sets off a chain of reactions among the residents of the subdivision that transforms each of them.
msbaba on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Seventh Heaven by Alice Hoffman is a most unusual coming-of-age tale. Here, it is not just one youth who matures into self-discovery and understanding, but a whole community of neighbors¿children, adolescents, and adults. The catalyst comes in the form of Nora Silk, a vibrant, independent, freethinking divorcee who moves into the neighborhood with her two young sons. Twenty months later, everything and everybody has changed.Don¿t expect detailed character development¿there are far too many characters in this novel for that. This work is more like a collection of interlocking short stories than a traditional novel. But this is Alice Hoffman writing so, trust me, you will not feel shortchanged. Her characters are spot-on perfect¿so credible, they practically bleed off the page. With just a few deft words, she can capture an emotion, a life, emptiness, a dream, and make you feel that person¿s essence. It¿s uncanny, magical¿it¿s Alice Hoffman. Clearly, I love this author! The whole plot takes place in a mere 20 months. It is 1959 in the suburbs of New Jersey. This is a time way before the women¿s movement. This is like Pleasantville, U.S.A. From the first moment they see her, the neighbors know that Nora Silk doesn¿t fit in. She wears tight pants and high heel shoes. Her house is untidy, her kids unkempt. She runs her household, holds down a job, and does all the manly fix-it jobs around the house¿and she acts as if all this were perfectly normal. From the very beginning, all the mothers in the neighborhood give her the cold shoulder, but the husbands can¿t keep their eyes off of her. Naturally, this doesn¿t help the situation. The children take cues from their mothers and start taunting and bullying Nora¿s third grade son, Billy. All poor Billy can do in response is to try and learn as much as he can about Houdini so he can become invisible. But there is magic working on Hemlock Street¿subtle, believable magic. The magic is Nora¿s authenticity. It makes all the neighbors who come in contact with her eventually question their own sanitized lives. One-by-one, the facades that each neighbor has constructed to obfuscate their inner selves begin to melt. Lives change. People get hurt, then recover, then go on to become better, more complete, and self-aware human beings¿and all because of Nora.This novel isn¿t for everyone. Most of these characters are deeply flawed, and some of the actions they take can be interpreted by some as being highly immoral. But, they are people who are true to their inner natures, and that¿s what makes them real. See if this book doesn¿t help you love these people for themselves, without judgment. Then perhaps you¿ll find it easier to love yourself and those special people in your life also without judgment. We know we should, but most of us still find this so difficult.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of my new favorites
Meemo_B More than 1 year ago
Alice Hoffman is a bit hit or miss with me. I loved Practical Magic and The Rules of Magic. White Horses, not so much, although I recognized that the writing was excellent. Seventh Heaven, initially published in 1990, falls somewhere in between. The writing is lovely. The characters are interesting. It’s very evocative of 1959, when things were about to change drastically in so many ways, including the role of women in the world. And yet, there was something that didn’t quite connect with me, and I can’t quite decide what it is. But the writing is indeed lovely and despite my personal disconnect, I still wanted to keep reading and find out where it would take me. So I’m giving this one the benefit of the doubt and assuming it was my mood when I read it - it could well be that if I were to read it again a few months from now I’d absolutely love it. Copy provided by Netgalley and Open Road Media in exchange for an unbiased review.
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Thought this would be a good story but the more I read the more disgusting it became. It's more like a story about white trash so if that's what you like it's your kind of book - it certainly isn't mine!