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After we bought our 80-year-old farmhouse last winter, we discovered that each room had something small and strange in it: a puzzle piece on a windowsill, a clear marble on the bathroom shelf, a chunk of quartz embedded in the rug. Were these tokens of a spell cast by the previous owners? My husband wonders; I assert that if you don’t believe in magic, it doesn’t move you. Alice Hoffman, however, makes you believe. A crafter of delicately poetic, folk-tale-like prose, she’s written more than a dozen novels, including Oprah pick Here on Earth—inspired by Wuthering Heights—and my personal favorite, The River King. They’re books about love transcending death in one strange way or another. This time around, with Blackbird House, Hoffman places her characters in the same Massachusetts house over a span of 200 years. Each chapter is a separate story, but all the stories are connected. For this American magical realist, home is where the soul is. Hoffman reads at 7 p.m. at Olsson’s Books & Records, 2111 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. Free. (703) 525-4227. (Pamela Murray Winters)