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The Secret by Eva Hoffman

The Secret by Eva HoffmanWhat in the end turned out to be an intriguing short novel by writer and academic Eva Hoffman,  The Secret had been gathering dust on my bookshelves for a few years since my wife had read it. I know we are all at times guilty of the sin of judging books by their covers (publishers spend thousands getting us to do just that), but I had kind of dismissed it as being the type of book I would normally do my best to avoid. Definitely a mistake on my part; as during a recent clear out to the charity shop, whilst deciding what to ditch and what to keep, I read over the sleeve notes, had a quick flick through a few pages, and instantly saw that it deserved a closer look.

Read on for a full review….

-- The Secret by Eva Hoffman a Review by Des Greene --
Iris Surrey knows from an early age that there is something different about her, something about the way people react to her, and in particular how they react to her and her mother Elizabeth when they are together. As an adolescent, Iris finally uncovers her “Secret” and the knowledge of it changes both herself and her relationship with everything and everyone around her.

Although this secret is revealed to us after only sixty pages (and you may yourself have guessed it before then), the novel is more concerned with an intelligent examination of a “what if?” scenario of the future. As scientific discoveries are made, is society obliged to make use of them? Do moral boundaries have to be set for our use of these discoveries, and what are the possible psychological outcomes of these decisions? In The Secret, Eva Hoffman doesn’t pass judgement, she simply places before us a possible vision of the future which leaves the reader in no doubt as to the importance of society making the correct decisions in its use of the science.

Right from the first pages, the quality of the writing is apparent, and the characters are developed with a rather unnerving and edgy coolness that perfectly fits with the storyline as it gradually unfolds. Although there is a science fiction element to the novel, Eva Hoffman never overdoes the description of new technology, using it only as a means to position the story in the not too distant future. Therefore those who don’t particularly like this overly detailed aspect of some types of pure sci-fi needn’t be too concerned; The Secret is really much more engaged with the psychology rather than the science fiction.

Intelligently thought out, beautifully written and rather different to anything I’ve personally read before; if you fancy reading something both thought provoking and unusual, why not give The Secret a try?

Already read The Secret? What did you think of it? Please post a comment below, Novel Suggestions is always keen to hear your opinions.

Novel Suggestions only provides fiction book reviews of books that we personally recommend. We don’t spend our valuable time writing reviews of books which we feel would be a waste of your valuable time!

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