The World That We Knew

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About The Book

* LONGLISTED FOR THE ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL *

‘Oh, what a book this is! Hoffman’s exploration of the world of good and evil, and the constant contest between them, is unflinching; and the humanity she brings to us – it is a glorious experience. The book builds and builds, as she weaves together, seamlessly, the stories of people in the most desperate of circumstances – and then it delivers with a tremendous punch. It opens up the world  in a way that is absolutely unique. By the end you may be weeping’ Elizabeth Strout, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Olive Kitteridge
 
In Berlin in 1941 during humanity’s darkest hour, three unforgettable young women must act with courage and love to survive, from the New York Times bestselling author of The Dovekeepers and The Marriage of Opposites Alice Hoffman. 

In Berlin, at the time when the world changed, Hanni Kohn knows she must send her twelve-year-old daughter away to save her from the Nazi regime. She finds her way to a renowned rabbi, but it’s his daughter, Ettie, who offers hope of salvation when she creates a mystical Jewish creature, a rare and unusual golem, who is sworn to protect Lea. Once Ava is brought to life, she and Lea and Ettie become eternally entwined, their paths fated to cross, their fortunes linked.

Lea and Ava travel from Paris, where Lea meets her soulmate, to a convent in western France known for its silver roses; from a school in a mountaintop village where three thousand Jews were saved. Meanwhile, Ettie is in hiding, waiting to become the fighter she's destined to be.

What does it mean to lose your mother? How much can one person sacrifice for love? In a world where evil can be found at every turn, we meet remarkable characters that take us on a stunning journey of loss and resistance, the fantastical and the mortal, in a place where all roads lead past the Angel of Death and love is never ending.

Praise for Alice Hoffman:
'A major contribution to twenty-first century literature' Toni Morrisonon The Museum of Extraordinary Things
‘A great atmospheric storyteller… Her books are a real pleasure’ Kate Atkinson 
'Hoffman reminds us with every sentence that words have the power to transport us to alternate worlds, to heal a broken heart, and to tie us irrevocably to the people we love' Jodi Picoult
'Miss Hoffman heals wounds with the gentle touch of an angel' Joseph Heller
‘Hoffman… writes with heartbreaking clarity’ The Times
‘Alice Hoffman is simply brilliant’ Daily Mail
'Hoffman knows how to tell a good story' Sunday Times
'Monumental… magical, moving… beautifully written... A genuine masterpiece' Daily Mail on The Dovekeepers
'One of the finest writers of her generation' Newsweek

About The Author

Deborah Feingold

Alice Hoffman is the author of more than thirty works of fiction, including The World That We Knew, The Rules of MagicThe Marriage of OppositesPractical Magic, The Red Garden, the Oprah’s Book Club selection Here on EarthThe Museum of Extraordinary Things, and The Dovekeepers. She lives near Boston.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Scribner UK (August 20, 2020)
  • Length: 400 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781471185854

Raves and Reviews

‘Oh, what a book this is! Hoffman’s exploration of the world of good and evil, and the constant contest between them, is unflinching; and the humanity she brings to us – it is a glorious experience. The book builds and builds, as she weaves together, seamlessly, the stories of people in the most desperate of circumstances – and then it delivers with a tremendous punch. It opens up the world … in a way that is absolutely unique. By the end you may be weeping’ 

– Elizabeth Strout, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Olive Kitteridge

‘A hymn to the power of resistance, perseverance, and enduring love in dark times…gravely beautiful…Hoffman the storyteller continues to dazzle’

– The New York Times

‘With the dream-like feel of a fairy tale, this is the story of a young Jewish girl who is sent away from Berlin during the Second World War… this classic fairy tale of good versus evil is wonderful. The storytelling is lush and vivid, and it stayed with me for a long time’

– Good Housekeeping

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