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Ryan's January 2016 pick
After Alice, by Gregory Maguire
After Alice is Gregory Maguire's fresh new take on Lewis Carroll's fantastical tale. There are seemingly infinite adaptations of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland out there (trust me, I own all of them), but this feels more like a companion than a retelling.
In this story, Alice's childhood friend Ada accidentally follows Alice down the rabbit hole where she encounters many of the same creatures and adventures as Alice, in her friend's wake.
We also get glimpses of the "real world" when the adults realize that Alice (and Ada) have gone missing.
Wonderland is more or less the way we remember it, with some old friends (a bit frazzled having just met the delightfully naive and curious Alice) and some new friends.
After Alice is perfect for fans of the original.
Welcome back to Wonderland.
“Maguire, the fairy tale spin doctor, here takes on Wonderland. The heroine is not Alice, but rather her playmate Ada, a sheltered and lonely girl with a twisted spine. Ada inadvertently follows Alice into Wonderland, and her perceptions and experiences are marvelous and fresh, with her dry wit, pragmatism, and imagination enlivening and dominating the scene. Back at home, Alice's sister Lydia offers readers a glimpse into Victorian times as Maguire's prose gives a mystical glow to landscapes, personalities, and everyday life.”
— Coleen Colwell (W), Booksmart, Morgan Hill, CA
From the multi-million-copy bestselling author of Wicked comes a magical new twist on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, published to coincide with the 150th anniversary of Lewis’s Carroll’s beloved classic.
When Alice toppled down the rabbit-hole 150 years ago, she found a Wonderland as rife with inconsistent rules and abrasive egos as the world she left behind. But what of that world? How did 1860s Oxford react to Alice’s disappearance?
In this brilliant work of fiction, Gregory Maguire turns his dazzling imagination to the question of underworlds, undergrounds, underpinnings—and understandings old and new, offering an inventive spin on Carroll’s enduring tale. Ada, a friend of Alice’s mentioned briefly in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, is off to visit her friend, but arrives a moment too late—and tumbles down the rabbit-hole herself.
Ada brings to Wonderland her own imperfect apprehension of cause and effect as she embarks on an odyssey to find Alice and see her safely home from this surreal world below the world. If Eurydice can ever be returned to the arms of Orpheus, or Lazarus can be raised from the tomb, perhaps Alice can be returned to life. Either way, everything that happens next is “After Alice.”
Gregory Maguire is the New York Times bestselling author of Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister; Lost; Mirror Mirror; and the Wicked Years, a series that includes Wicked, Son of a Witch, A Lion Among Men, and Out of Oz. Now a beloved classic, Wicked is the basis for a blockbuster Tony Award–winning Broadway musical. Maguire has lectured on art, literature, and culture both at home and abroad. He lives with his family near Boston, Massachusetts.
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