Bestselling author Alice Hoffman’s latest historical novel, The Museum of Extraordinary Things, ventures back to a time when people who had physical abnormalities were often stripped of their dignity by being showcased as side show freaks; offered up for an insensitive public to stare at with curiosity. Set in New York City during the early 1900’s, the novel follows Coralie, the daughter of a once-prominent French magician who is now the manager of The Museum of Extraordinary Things in Coney Island, where patrons are entertained with acts performed by such “oddities” as The Wolfman and the Butterfly Girl.
Ironically, Coralie was born with webbed hands and her father has plans for her to be among his future attractions. Coralie’s story is intertwined with that of Eddie Cohen, a young Orthodox Jewish immigrant from Russia, who has given up his old life including his faith and his relationship with his father to pursue a career as a photographer. Eddie and Coralie’s paths cross when Eddie is taking pictures of crime scenes for newspapers and is approached by a man who wants him to help track down his missing daughter. During the investigation he meets Coralie. The two characters will have a significant and lasting impact on one another’s life.
Alice Hoffman is also the author of The Dovekeepers.