The Secret by Eva Hoffman

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Synopsis

Iris Surrey seems to have a perfectly normal childhood. She lives with her mother in a rambling wooden house, in a small college town not far from Chicago. But something isn't quite right in her perfect, bell-jar world. There may be something wrong with her mother. Or with her. Or with her mother and her. Small disturbances lead Iris to suspect a deeper peculiarity in the very fabric of her life. Something not quite...natural. Or authentic. But what does that mean? You are what you think you are, aren't you? Who is to judge the nature of your nature, your character, your reality, except you, the subject yourself? Unless you aren't real enough to know in the first place.

In this gripping debut novel, writer Eva Hoffman uses the near future to reflect on the fast-moving present and to explore various kinds of secrets: intimate secrets and family secrets, the kinds of secrets that can be decoded from clues, and the kind that only lead to more tantalizing questions about the nature of consciousness and self-knowledge. This is a philosophical fable about an uncannily powerful mother-daughter bond and a young woman's quest for identity. The Secret explores ancient conundrums of selfhood and the profound challenges posed by contemporary science to our most cherished notions of individuality.
 

About Eva Hoffman

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Published October 16, 2002 by PublicAffairs. 272 pages
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Secret

Kirkus Reviews

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Morton Halperin, the former National Security Council member who sued Henry Kissinger for having his phone bugged, and Daniel Hoffman, his colleague at the Center for National Security Study, spell out how the government secrecy system works, what's been done to reform it, what should be done to ...

Sep 01 1977 | Read Full Review of The Secret

Kirkus Reviews

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Hoffman gradually and subtly makes the point that although Iris may feel especially unreal due to her origins (her birth in 2005 was one of the first human clonings), she lives in a world where “reality” is virtual as often as physical.

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The New York Times

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Three Decades Later, 'Woodstein' Takes a Victory Lap (June 3, 2005) The TV Watch: Woodward and Bernstein, Dynamic Duo, Together Again (June 3, 2005) The Overview: In the Prelude to Publication, Intrigue Worthy of Deep Throat (June 2, 2005) The Ethics: Felt Is Praised as a Hero and ...

Jul 24 2005 | Read Full Review of The Secret

The Guardian

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Hoffman's all-too-attainable brave new world is pierced by shafts of irony, whether at Iris's Human Education classes, which strive to control emotions whose meaning can no longer be guaranteed, or with the perfectly toned, power-dressed women of Madison Avenue, with their "closed-off" faces.

Sep 28 2001 | Read Full Review of The Secret

Publishers Weekly

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Iris's single mom, Elizabeth, fled Manhattan to the Midwest to rear Iris after becoming estranged from her parents and sister.

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USA Today

But Woodward lets himself off for violating the agreement he made with Felt at the time "that there would be no identification of him, his agency, or even a suggestion in print that such a source existed."In 1974, Woodward and fellow reporter Carl Bernstein (who contributes a 12-page addendum to ...

Jul 14 2005 | Read Full Review of The Secret

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