Hiddensee by Gregory Maguire
I was a fan of Gregory Macguire’s tales long before Wicked hit Broadway. His weird takes on fairy tales are brilliantly disturbing. Just like the original folk stories.
Hiddensee is a riff on the Nutcracker, familiar from the perennial Christmas ballet, with its mega-mega-hit songs. Naturally, the nutcracker story has historical roots, which do not necessarily resemble the incomprehensible ballet (which I have never liked enough to watch all the way through).
As he always does, Macguire pulls in a variety of folk themes, pseudo-history, and a good dose of his own imagination. And, as usual, the result is a complex stew of innocence, alienation, loss, and a bit of joy. This is the Macguire effect, and it is indescribable and unique.
I wouldn’t be so foolish as to try to explain it.
The bottom line is that this is just what we would expect from Maguire. Marvelous stuff.
But don’t mistake this for a “Christmas book” or “a kid’s book”. It’s deep, mysterious, and full of tragedy.
- Gregory Maguire, Hiddensee: A Tale of the Once and Future Nutcracker, New York, HarperCollins, 2017.
Sunday Book Reviews