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Left on her own when her family dies in a terrible disaster, fifteen-year-old Green is haunted by loss and by the past. Struggling to survive physically and emotionally in a place where nothing seems to grow and ashes are everywhere, Green retreats into the ruined realm of her garden. But in destroying her feelings, she also begins to destroy herself, erasing the girl she''d once been as she inks darkness into her skin. It is only through a series of mysterious encounters that Green can relearn the lessons of love and begin to heal enough to tell her story.
Hoffman is the daughter of a real estate salesman and a social worker. When they divorced, she was raised by her mother on Long Island. A voracious reader, Hoffman has had a lifelong interest in magic and fairy tales, and her reading has had an obvious effect on her own writing, which tends to incorporate fantasy and myth. She has a B.A. from Adelphi College and an M.F.A. from Stanford.
"In lesser hands, the layers of dense, lush description--apple trees 'as fruitless as fence posts'; 'mourning doves the color of tears'--might have overwhelmed the dreamy, first-person narrative. But Hoffman creates a careful balance, crafting an achingly lovely backdrop to the transfiguration of a compelling character whose very self becomes a metaphor for renewal."
From the Publisher
Wanting only darkness, I began to sleep. I slept longer and longer. I ignored daylight and hope. I didn't care if the sky had begun to clear. Most of the ashes had fallen to the ground, leaving the horizon a faint washed-out blue. On several occasions I had noted white clouds. There was the promise of sunshine. That wasn't what I wanted. I would rather sleep than eat or see the sky. Each time I put away my ink and pins, I closed all the windows. I drew the shades. When I went to sleep, under the table where I felt safer, I tied a scarf around my burning eyes so not even the tiniest bit of light could disturb me or remind me of what I had lost.| When I slept, I dreamed of the world as it was. My sister was clearing away the ashes. My sister was opening the window. Her hair was the color of moonlight, ice-colored, knotted from sleep.| Help me, she'd demand when the window stuck fast in my dreams, when the door wouldn't open, when the ashes were so deep, she'd never be able to clear them away all alone.| I'd rise and do as she asked because I couldn't deny her anything. Once again I was Green who had patience. I was the girl with long black hair who held the open book, white pages, empty and clean, black words flying like ravens, still waiting for the future, still hopeful, still me.