Thursday, January 10, 2008

Son of a Witch

I’m listening to an audiobook of Gregory Maguire’s Son of a Witch, sort of a sequel to Wicked (which I haven’t read yet), on which the musical is based. He himself narrates it. I can’t recommend him as a narrator, but I’ll excuse him because I love his writing.

This starts where Wicked ends, apparently—when the witch dies. (In case you haven’t read or seen Wicked, it’s a riff on The Wizard of Oz.) Full of unexpected twists in language, character, and plot, this adult novel blends satisfyingly complex vocabulary and cultural references with the commonest of street talk. It also blends Maguire’s wild inventions with not-very-veiled references to current events.

I also loved the other book of his that I’ve read—Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister. He reimagines the story of Cinderella, placing the characters in 17th-century Holland, and turning everything upside down.


Anonymous said...

ok, help me out here... I don't want to be a spoiler, but was that a wierd ending or what? Where is Nor? Dead, alive? What about candle... I think the writing was great but it's certainly is ADULT... don't think its a fun little Oz story...or you'll be doing lots of explaning to you kids...definalty left himself open to another book!

J Auclair said...

Exactly. I wrote that post before I'd finished half the book. The ending was weird, the adult stuff came out of left field for me (I actually have not read Wicked, which might have prepared me), and the writing didn't ultimately make up for it. I didn't post again and admit it, though.