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arrakiswitch

A Reciprocal Love Affair With Books

Jean, 39, lover of sci-fi, horror and fantasy, reader of comic books, conqueror of genre fiction.

Currently reading

Miles Morales: Spider-Man (A Marvel YA Novel)
Jason Reynolds, Kadir Nelson
Progress: 206/261 pages

Review: After Alice by Gregory Maguire

— feeling confused
After Alice: A Novel - Gregory Maguire

I... liked this? No, I really did, despite the absolutely scathing reviews I read for it in advance. I know Maguire's work, and know the complications that can come with it. Though his prose as gotten a lot less dense, or it was in this book certainly, it's still a jumble of ideas and emotions. And, to me, that's not a bad thing. It inspired the same sort of fascination I had with his Mr. Maguire's book Lost. After sitting there, night after night, trying to puzzle out what Maguire was attempting to tell me--was it a message about grief? About children's and women's roles in Victorian times? Why was Darwin in this book? Is it because of Wonderland's anthropomorphic animals? And what about Siam and what he had to tell us about slavery? How did that relate to the source material at all?--I came to a conclusion. And that is that Maguire himself doesn't fully know or understand what he's trying to say. He's going with his emotion, and with his intellect, without himself worrying about puzzling it all out.  And, like with Lost, I found it fascinating.

 

And stunningly beautifully written, but that's to be expected from Maguire. I think, counter-intuitively, fans of the original Lewis Carroll work might be the least likely to enjoy this, because it goes on some wild and extremely pointed tangents. As a matter off act, I might not recommend this book to anyone, unless they enjoy strange puzzles and emotionally intelligent if a bit  confusing work. I liked it. I just couldn't tell you exactly how or why.