Here on Earth Audio Cassette – Abridged, Audiobook
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Oprah Book Club® Selection, March 1998: Here on Earth is set in motion when March Murray and her teenage daughter travel from their California home to New England. Their stay is to be brief. Judith Dale, her childhood housekeeper-cum-foster mother, has died, and March must set things to right and get out of gloomy Jenkintown as quickly as possible. "Five days tops," she reassures her scientist husband. Instead, she is pulled back into the arms of Hollis, her first love--an avaricious, Heathcliff-like individual who radiates sulfur and cruelty. "She left and didn't come back, not even when he called her, and yet here she is, on this dark night; here and no place else." In this deep fable of loss and control, love and fear, Alice Hoffman allows us into her characters' cores and makes us wish their fortunes were happier. Here on Earth is filled with wisdom, what-ifs, and animals who seem, if not to know more than human beings, at least to know how to shy from danger. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
From Library Journal
As this novel opens, March Murray Cooper returns to her hometown, ostensibly to bury the woman who raised her but needing to resolve the unfinished business of her youthful love for Hollis, from whom she has been separated for years. Hollis has now grown into a man embittered by loneliness. He has learned neither to forgive nor to forget, and March must discover whether he can ever learn to love. Hoffman (Practical Magic, LJ 12/94) takes great care here to examine the many facets of love and relationships, turning them like a prism to reflect on March and Hollis. Hoffman's evocative language and her lyrical descriptions of place contrast sharply with the emotional scars that her characters must uncover and bear. Her novel is a haunting tale of a woman lost in and to love; it will enthrall the reader from beginning to end. Highly recommended.
-?Caroline M. Hallsworth, Cambrian Coll., Sudbury, Ontario
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
It wasn't until I was reading a different book, where the characters were discussing Wuthering Heights, that I recognized it. The characters were commenting that Hareton was going to make it, because he used both his head and his heart -- and the penny dropped. Hareton is Hank. AHA! And Heathcliff is Hollis, of course... Here On Earth is what might have happened if Heathcliff had got his Cathy back, at least for a time.
Did no one get this? NO ONE??!? I've read several reviews of this book, and so far I haven't read one that mentions it. It's hard for me to believe that book reviewers are so little versed in their classics that not one of them recognized this updating of the Bronte classic (with, admittedly, some twists). One reviewer calls Hollis "Heathcliff-like", but the whole setup is Wuthering Heights.
This book is not a great casual read, but I found it interesting that a good story is still a good story, even disguised. It all depends on the treatment, of course. Shakespeare lifted other people's stories all the time, and made them definitively his. Hoffman's prose is surprisingly lovely, given the subject matter.
...I wasn't so keen on this book. Now, granted, I'll happily caveat that this was on an abridged audio edition by Nova, and I am a huge fan of Alice Hoffman to begin with, and this is not her recent novel. But, somehow, it left me a little cold.
Mostly, I believe it was because there was no typical Hoffman magic or mystery to the story. A woman named March returns to her home town with her daughter when her housekeeper dies. After the funeral, she finds herself drawn towards a young man who was raised in her household by her father, with whom she had a strong, nigh co-dependant relationship with in her youth.
They start an affair, the relationship definitely takes a sombre turn (or three), and then, all at once, the book sort of ends. The ending was almost trite, actually. Much like 'Second Nature,' this one didn't do much at all beyond mundane and angry relationship angst, and it left me a little tired on behalf of all the characters concerned. Indeed, there wasn't a single character in the tale for whom I felt relief, or gained a sense of 'they've been saved' about, which is something I adore about Hoffman usually. Even the language seemed less lyrical and immediate. All of that isn't to say the book was bad, just not up to Hoffman's usual wonder-inspiring work.
Perhaps I just need a break from her, but either way, this in no way reached the intense wonderful levels of writing I know and love Hoffman for, like in 'Blue Diary,' 'River King,' 'Practical Magic,' 'Local Girls,' and 'The Probable Future.'
This is a great book by a great writer.
But I get ahead of myself.
I liked March and Gwen when they arrived in Jenkintown for Judith Dale's funeral. I even liked March's brother Alan. Getting into the story of the past, I was appalled by Alan's treatment of "the boy" as he called Hollis when he first arrived in their home. Hollis was well treated by the adults and March, but not by Alan and his friends. Still, he didn't seem to be broken then. I still liked Hollis when he was gone from March, because I didn't know what he was doing.
I started to loathe him when he returned and started calling March, who had moved away and married Richard, a man Hollis viewed as one of his rivals in property ownership and respect of the community. The statement that turned me around on him was when he told the very pregnant March, "you care more about that baby than you do about me." Yup, I would have said. I sure do. "That" baby is my baby and you are an adult. Grow up. Warning bells would have gone off for me, but they didn't for March. Too bad.
Gwen certainly reformed when she found something outside of herself to care for in the former racehorse, Tarot. I could visualize that the horse loved her and responded well to her because he was reminded of the gentle Belinda, his former rider and mistress.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I came across this book at a garage sale, and because it said it was one of Oprah's Book Club selections, I couldnt wait to read it. Ugh. Read morePublished on July 11 2004 by Mary Reynolds
I found this book to be a great psychological thriller, sad but great.
When March and her daughter Gwen take a trip to the mother's childhood home of near Boston, little do... Read more
I got about halfway through this book when I simply couldn't take it anymore and started leafing through till the end. Read morePublished on March 31 2004
I liked reading this book but just was not all that pleased at the end. It was kind of strange.Published on Feb. 13 2004 by Rachel Dawson
I've read most of the Oprah's Book club selections and just got around to reading this one. I was expecting similarities to Wuthering Heights, but this is just a rehash 90's... Read morePublished on Jan. 9 2004
After nineteen of living in California, March Murray and her fifteen-year-old daughter Gwen come home. Read more
After nineteen years of living in California, March Murray and her fifteen-year-old daughter Gwen come home. Read more
I was angry with Ms. Hoffman for keeping me up past my bedtime on a work night, but I had to know what happened to the star-crossed lovers of Here on Earth. Read morePublished on Oct. 21 2003