The mother of the great painter Camille Pissarro is at the center of ‘The Marriage of Opposites,’ set in St. Thomas.
Covering 30 square miles, the island of St. Thomas in the Caribbean is a place of lush beauty, fragrant with jasmine, surrounded by blue-green water. This seeming paradise was a refuge for Jews fleeing the Inquisition, crossing the ocean from Spain and Portugal. Alice Hoffman sets her latest novel “The Marriage of Opposites” (Simon and Schuster) on the island, where a synagogue rebuilt in the early 1800s has a sand floor — even as its walls were covered with fine mahogany and a crystal chandelier was hung in its center — to remind congregants of an earlier time, in other places, when they’d have to muffle the sounds of their prayer gatherings for fear of being discovered.
Alice Hoffman’s breast cancer memoir is really a guide for going through difficult times.
Jewish Week Book Critic
Being a caregiver came much more naturally to Alice Hoffman than being cared for. For decades, the bestselling novelist was the one who took friends and relatives to the doctor, sat at bedsides, thoroughly researched diseases and arranged for cemetery plots and funerals. Fifteen years ago, when she found a lump on her breast, she was certain that she only imagined it, as things like that didn’t happen to her, and she didn’t have time to be ill. But a call from her doctor, “Alice, I’m sorry,” brought the stark truth.