Title: After Alice
Author: Gregory Maguire
Publisher: William Morrow
Published Date: October 27th, 2015
Genre: Fantasy/ Fairy-Tale Retelling, Fiction-Adult
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
I received After Alice from a Goodreads giveaway hosted by William Morrow publishing.
Synopsis (From Goodreads)
From the multi-million-copy bestselling author of Wicked comes a magical new twist on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, published to coincide with the 150th anniversary of Lewis’s Carroll’s beloved classic
When Alice toppled down the rabbit-hole 150 years ago, she found a Wonderland as rife with inconsistent rules and abrasive egos as the world she left behind. But what of that world? How did 1860s Oxford react to Alice’s disappearance?
In this brilliant new work of fiction, Gregory Maguire turns his dazzling imagination to the question of underworlds, undergrounds, underpinnings — and understandings old and new, offering an inventive spin on Carroll’s enduring tale. Ada, a friend of Alice’s mentioned briefly in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, is off to visit her friend, but arrives a moment too late — and tumbles down the rabbit hole herself.
Ada brings to Wonderland her own imperfect apprehension of cause and effect as she embarks on an odyssey to find Alice and see her safely home from this surreal world below the world. If Euridyce can ever be returned to the arms of Orpheus, or Lazarus can be raised from the tomb, perhaps Alice can be returned to life. Either way, everything that happens next is After Alice.
Gregory Maguire is someone I have come to absolutely trust when retelling a classic story. I have read his Wicked series, and What the Dickens? His novel about the tooth-fairy. I love Maguire, I love his eloquence, I love his imagination, and I love his characters.
I will admit, that I was never a huge fan of Alice in Wonderland. I agree that it is absolutely unique, and whimsical, and really a very good story…but I was always felt, meh, about the story. However, I love Maguire so much that I had to at least give this a try; after all I didn’t hate the story.
Anyway, I really enjoyed this book. I will freely admit that I vaguely remember some of the story, and I think most of it was the Disney version. With that said I feel that Maguire has taken the magic and whimsy of Carroll’s Wonderland and made it his own uniquely confusing and much more adult place.
Ada Boyce, the neighbor child and friend of Alice, has escaped the chaos of her home and the scrutiny of her overly dramatic governess. She has ventured to Alice’s home and has found herself falling through a rabbit hole. Following in Alice’s adventuring footsteps and she searches for her friend and ultimately must save her from losing her head in this terribly upside down world.
It has been a long time since I’ve read a book in which I consistently needed to open a dictionary to understand a word. Maguire has kept the satirically whimsical dialogue that is so characteristic of Wonderland, alive in this retelling. I also really enjoyed how unlike Alice, Ada was very much no nonsense. Although she could have been a little curious-er. She was not quite the explorer Alice was.
I also felt that the ending wasn’t great. It felt just little forced, and abrupt. Still, this might be my favorite version of Wonderland.
Until next time my friends,