If there is an author north of the border who has managed to successfully translate the language of magic realism into the American idiom, it is Alice Hoffman. Her books — often tales of small-town loves, rivalries, tragedies, and epiphanies — are replete with miracles; angels rise from the pages with the regularity of the seasons; devils are as unexceptional as the occasional thunderstorm. The fantastic is as easy to digest as orange juice. And so it is with her latest novel, Practical Magic: Spells are cast, a dead criminal causes the rampant bloom of lilacs, and the two main characters — orphaned sisters named Gillian and Sally — have latent powers that allow them to see ghosts and inspire undying love. There are some nonmagical occurrences, to be sure: Sally gets married and has two daughters; they move to a suburb; Gillian hooks up with some bad men; Sally’s daughters learn about growing up. Yet the true magic of a Hoffman book is that it makes even the ordinary seem extraordinary. A-
Genre: Comedy, Sci-fi and Fantasy; Starring: Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman, Aidan Quinn, Camilla Belle, Stockard Channing, Goran Visnjic, Dianne Wiest, Evan Rachel Wood; Director: Griffin Dunne; Author: Adam Brooks, Akiva Goldsman, Robin Swicord; MPAA Rating: PG-13; Distributor: Warner Bros.
Posted June 9 1995 — 12:00 AM EDT
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