The Museum of Extraordinary Things
By Alice Hoffman
Scribner 2014. 384 pgs. Fiction.
Alice Hoffman creates a creepy, mysterious world in this fairy tale combine with historical fiction. Professor Sardie is a a mad man with a museum of weird and freakish "living wonders". His own daughter Coralie has webbed fingers and swims in a tank, able to breathe through a tube only every now and then as she holds her breath to play the part of a mermaid. Ezekiel Cohen is a photographer that shot photos at a tragic factory fire and is trying to solve a mystery of a lost girl. The stories of their journeys intertwine in a facsinating way. The story is so solid in its characters and sad, yet romantic view of Coney Island in the early 1900s.
I was enthralled by all three narrators, which included a general observer, Coralie, and Ezekiel. There is mystery and some magic, and a love story that carries this wonderful book. I enjoy most of Hoffman's books but this one was so incredibly unique I would suggest it to anyone looking for something fresh to read.