professornana (professornana) wrote,

  • Mood:

blown away

The second book on the flight was Alice Hoffman's INCANTATION. This slim novel packs a punch as it relates the story of Estrella and her family trying to survive in a society that is growing increasingly intolerant of differences. Estrella watches as the books of a Jewish man are tossed into a fire. Jews are not permitted to own books, to practice medicine, or to communicate with the Catholic community that governs the town. Estrella wonders about this, and other, "laws". After all, her mother tells her time and again that all people are made of the same dust. This observation is, unfortunately, a herald of what is to come to Estrella and her family. As Estrella comes to understand that her family is Jewish and trying desperately to stay under the radar of the officials, she also comes to understand that she must escape from her home and begin a new life elsewhere.

Hoffman's prose is lyrical, ironically at its most poetic when describing the horrors of the torture brought to bear on Estrella's family and the betrayal by her best friend. The suspicion of those who are different is still at the heart of intolerance and racism. This novel demonstrates how easily we can fall from grace.

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