Hoffman is herself a queen – of magical realism. While spinning her story, she dabbles a toe her in there in pools of the fantastic. You barely notice the ripples here and there, until suddenly the most fantastic things seem totally believable. Sure, I can believe the woodman cut off his leg and had it replaced with tin. Sure, I can believe he cut off his other limbs and had them replaced with tin too. So why not his head also? And suddenly a tin woodman seems rational.
The Ice Queen is by far one of Hoffman’s best in recent years (though I did really like The River King). Her story is of a woman who made a horrible wish as a child and had it come true. She become frozen in her own little world until a cataclysmic event shocks her out of her static life. The book is beautiful and strange with the slight haze of the fantastic throughout.
Check out Practical Magic while you are at it. 100% better (and darker) than the movie, I guarantee.