After Alice

After Alice by Gregory Maguire


Genre: Fiction/Fantasy


A story in a book has its own intentions, even if unknowable to the virgin reader, who just lollops along at her own pace, regardless of the authors stragedies, and gets to where she will. After all, a book can be set aside for weeks, or for good. (Burned in the grate.) Alternatively, a story can be adored for centuries. But it can not be derailed. A plot, whether abandoned by the reader or pursued rapturously, remains itself, and gets to where it’s headed even if nobody is looking. It is progressive and inevitable as the seasons. Winter still comes after autumn though you may have died in the summer.

The only other book I’ve read of his has been Wicked. Which I really didn’t care for though I may hold it in a different light if I were to reread it. I picked this one up because I love Alice and I love Alice knock offs. (The Looking Glass Wars anyone?)

This was essentially in 2 parts. It follows after Ada, Alice’s disabled friend, who falls into the rabbit hole and starts her search for Alice, meeting the cast of characters that Alice met. It also follows Lydia in the real world (Alice’s sister), who gains Ada’s governess as they search Oxford for the two missing girls.

I’ve read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in full. (The original by Lewis Caroll). I’ve also read Through the Looking Glass. Maguire’s writing mirrors Caroll’s in such a way that is both confusing yet beautiful. It’s not meant to make sense but at the same time it does. (We’re all mad here.) I know this book got many negative reviews on Goodreads because people felt it was dishonoring the original work. From my understanding, Maguire takes the fairy tales and makes them his own, with wit, humor and prose. It’s meant to be a mockery of the fairy tales he visits. An alternative to the story. The “what if.”

I enjoyed this one in all its unique quirky-ness. The writing style was beautiful and flowed almost like poetry. I recommend it. 🙂

Only, sometimes, in the text of a book here and there, we tap the page with a finger and say, ‘This is what my lost days were like. Something like this.‘…Literary pleasure, and a sense or recognition and identification, real though they are, burn off like alcohol in the flame of the next heated moment.


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