Alice Hoffman's writing is all about magic. Not like magic where you watch a moose pull a rabbit out of a hat — I mean real magic. Her writing contains that singular kind of familial sorcery that binds mothers and daughters and sisters. Alice Hoffman's latest novel, The Red Garden ($25, Crown), is about generations of landowners in rural Massachusetts bound together by the land and the lush red soil thereat. There's also the ghost of a drowned girl who becomes an apocryphal presence in the town and is emblematic of Hoffman's work. The nameless ghost is nothing less than tradition, one that still wields the power to frighten or to astound, an ectoplasmic connective tissue linking generations through one type of bummer or other. Tonight, Writer's Bloc presents Hoffman in conversation with Gail Eichenthal, that calmly enthusiastic program director you hear on the Arts Live program on classical station KUSC.

Mon., Jan. 31, 7:30 p.m., 2011

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