Gregory Maguire seemed to have fun with this one. It was fast paced and enjoyable, and should have taken me twice as long if I had read it like I should, pausing to research all the references to Shakespeare, Oxford, and Darwinism I only half recalled.
Loved his references to Alice's giant forehead. Loved his take on Alice in general.
I really liked this addendum to the Alice books. By turns comedic and with deep pathos the author keeps the reader entertained.
Gregory Maguire’s After Alice is a timely revisiting of Lewis Carroll’s stories – Alice just had her 150th anniversary (http://www.chipublib.org/blogs/post/alices-150-years-in-wonderland/). Like most of his work – Wicked, Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, Mirror Mirror – After Alice reinvents a beloved children’s story and gives it more flesh-and-bone historical context, as well as diving into his characters’ motivations and desires in a complex, adult way. Unlike those previous novels, though, Maguire focuses not on Alice herself but her family and neighbors back in Oxford, some of whom take their own trips down the rabbit hole, while others are aboveground grieving the loss of a mother and coping with family friend Charles Darwin’s views that make an afterlife with her seem impossible. Not all of the characters are compelling – longwinded scenes with household staff and an undeveloped American visitor fall flat – but the Wonderland adventures are pitch-perfect tributes to Carroll’s wordplay, and Maguire outdoes himself with Alice’s hydrocephalic, adolescent sister Lydia, whose capricious misdeeds and naïve understanding of them rival the sharpest insights into the teen mind of the best YA literature. Alice fans and Maguire readers alike will find much to enjoy.
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