“As lush and evocative as one of Pissarro’s paintings.”
“The prolific Alice Hoffman’s new novel, The Marriage of Opposites, is a fierce, sorrowful tale of the conflict between personal desire and social constraints that echoes through three generations on the island of St. Thomas in the first half of the 19th century.”
—The Washington Post Read the full review
“Rachel could easily have remained the focus of this beguiling novel, but as Hoffman begins to write from the point of view of the color-bedazzled, sly, rebellious, and charming boy who will become the renowned painter Camille Pissarro, a leader and mentor among the impressionists, we see the world afresh as a perpetual dance of radiance and darkness, form and space. Of course, Hoffman herself is an artist, rendering each setting with sumptuous and incandescent detail and capturing every shade and hue of suffering and bliss.”
—Booklist Online Read the full review
“Jacob Pizzarro was the given name of Camille Pissarro, a master of the 19th century’s Impressionism movement that valued color over lines and contours. His life is brilliantly imagined in The Marriage of Opposites, and Hoffman, to great effect, tells much of the story through his mother’s eyes.”
— StarTribuneRead the full review
“If you read one book this August, make it The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman.”
—BookMama Read the full review
“Hoffman is the prolific Boston-based magical realist, whose stories fittingly play to the notion that love—both romantic and platonic—represents a mystical meeting of perfectly paired souls.”
—Vogue Read the full review
“The Marriage of Opposites (Simon & Schuster) by Alice Hoffman (The Dovekeepers), set in 19th century St. Thomas and Paris, is the story of a young woman who is swept into a scandalous affair — and becomes the mother of impressionist painter Camille Pissarro.”
—Tampa Bay Times, notable portraits of the artists
ReadThe Marriage of Opposites, a recommended read in Woman’s Day magazine.
ReadThe Marriage of Opposites review from BookPage.
“Hoffman’s fans and those of historical fiction in general will savor The Marriage of Opposites, a vividly rendered account of how one woman’s refusal to deny true love ultimately helped lead to an artistic revolution. When Camille first realizes his talent, he feels as if he has “come upon the core of the meaning of life, to discover and re-create beauty.” While he created with paint and brush, Hoffman’s medium is words. The Marriage of Opposites is a story as sublime as an Impressionist painting.”
—Shelf Awareness, Read the full review
“A ghost wife, a stolen child, wandering eyes, hidden ledgers — and more — bind the 19th-century Jewish community on a paradisiacal island in the West Indies.To this marvelous mise-en-scène, Hoffman (The Museum of Extraordinary Things, 2014, etc.) adds a historical character: Rachel Manzana Pomié, the Creole mother of impressionist painter Jacob Abraham Camille Pissarro… Lilting prose, beautifully meted out folklore and historical references, and Hoffman’s deep conviction in her characters (especially those “willing to do anything for love”) make reading this “contes du temps passé” a total pleasure.”
—Kirkus, starred review
“Of course, Hoffman herself is an artist, rendering each setting with sumptuous and incandescent detail and capturing every shade and hue of suffering and bliss. As witty as she is lyrical, she writes ricocheting dialogue. This rhapsodic blend of keenly observed historical elements and vibrantly fabulistic invention generates an entrancing saga of sacrifice, forbidden loves, betrayals, and family tragedies endured in a world fractured by religion, class, and race, and redeemed by art and by love. Hoffman is at her resplendent best in this trenchant and revelatory tale of a heroic woman and her world-altering artist son.”
For the week of August 17th, The Marriage of Opposites ranks at #9 on the National Indie Bestseller List!
Shelf Awareness, June 3, 2015, read the stunning review of The Marriage of Opposites and the accompanying interview with Alice.
In The Marriage of Opposites, Alice Hoffman unfolds the intriguing story of Pissarro’s beginnings. She adeptly and beautifully imagines the tempestuous life of the artist’s mother, Rachel Pomié, who defied convention for passion, and how his formative years on the island influenced him personally and professionally.Read More