THE RED GARDEN. By Alice Hoffman. Crown. 270 pages. $25.
Alice Hoffman's novels occasionally nudge the melodramatic. Her fiction can seem overpowered by fairy-tale touches.
But Hoffman's latest work of fiction, "The Red Garden," works. A collection of 14 linked narratives, it tells the story of Blackwell, deep in the Massachusetts Berkshires, from its rugged beginning in 1750 until the present.