After Alice by Gregory Maguire
Gregory Maguire has produced a number of totally strange and unique stories, including the blockbuster Wicked (1995). His novels are unclassifiable, riffing off old fairy tales and fantasies in ways that capture both the spirit of the original, contemporary sentiments, and uniquely imaginative twists.
After Alice is a Maguiresque fantasia on the Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865), as well as in Victorian England. The characters include both the real Alice and her family and friends, and the Wonderland crew.
As usual, Macguire gives us events and dialog that is recognizable (there is no doubt we are visiting Wonderland) and, at the same time, original and unexpected. He also portrays Victorian Oxford with historical accuracy, but also wit and whimsy.
In the story, two of Alice’s friends tumble down the rabbit hole “after Alice”, each encountering his or her own version of Wonderland, searching for Alice. At the same time, “real life” above follows strange and unexpected turns and developments, suggesting dark psychological depths to Victorian life.
It’s a beautiful little book, and a fitting homage to the timeless Alice.
- Gregory Maguire, After Alice, New York, HarperCollins, 2015.
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