Alice Hoffman, the bestselling author renowned for her enchanting tales, discusses her latest novel, “The Invisible Hour,” blending magic and realism. With over 30 works of fiction to her name, including magical and fantastical elements, Hoffman’s new novel is no exception. Set against a backdrop of magic realism, time travel, and historical fiction, “The Invisible Hour” is imbued with relevance to our current world.
Crafted during the Covid pandemic, Hoffman reflects on the impulse to escape present reality through time-travel narratives. The book, inspired by Nathaniel Hawthorne and themes like reproductive rights, explores a young woman’s journey within a cult, where books are banned. Hoffman believes women’s choices regarding their bodies remain pertinent today.
The narrative unfolds with Mia, the protagonist, discovering forbidden books that offer an escape from her restricted environment. Hoffman herself has a personal connection to the theme, as her mother’s work as a social worker exposed her to the challenges faced by women regarding reproductive health decisions.
Delving into 1837, the novel introduces Nathaniel Hawthorne as a character, demanding meticulous research from the author. Hoffman’s admiration for Hawthorne’s literary prowess is evident, bringing him to life on the pages.
Hoffman expresses her love for the themes of magic and mysticism, noting their historical roots in literature. She champions their ability to reveal deeper truths and connect with readers on a profound level.
The author’s appreciation for librarians shines through as the novel tackles book bans. She considers books essential for empathy and understanding, underscoring their importance in fostering a free society.
While Hoffman’s writing routine has evolved due to today’s demands, her passion for storytelling remains unwavering. Despite social media’s impact, she finds both challenges and connections in the modern author’s landscape.
Re-reported from the article originally published in Shondaland