After Alice by Gregory Maguire
|After Alice by Gregory Maguire|
|Reviewer: Luke Marlowe|
|Summary: Prepare to return to Wonderland, as Gregory Maguire takes the reader back to the world that Lewis Carroll left behind. Evocative and entertaining, it's a ride that contrasts the madness of Wonderland with the issues of those left behind in Victorian London. Definitely one for the adults rather than children, it's an exciting return.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 256||Date: July 2016|
|External links: Author's website|
When Alice fell down the rabbit hole, she found Wonderland as rife with inconsistent rule and abrasive egos as the world she left behind. But how did Victorian Oxford react to Alice's departure? When Alice's friend Ada, mentioned briefly in Alice in Wonderland sets out to visit Alice, she arrives a minute too late. Tumbling down the rabbit hole herself, she embarks on an odyssey to find Alice and bring her safely home from this surreal world below the world.
Lewis Carroll's adventures of Alice are amongst the few tales that have pervaded popular culture to the extent that those who have never read them know of the characters. Yet, despite the book having been reimagined and recreated in books and films countless times, true sequels have been few and far between. Finally, Gregory Maguire - an author who has reimagined Oz, and various fairy tales in his time, has turned his attention to the intriguing world that Lewis Carroll once created. But is it a good thing?
There is no doubt that Maguire has a knack for language - his style in After Alice is one that tries hard not to mimic Carroll, but certainly evokes him - odd humour combined with clever prose mean that the reader is soon swept away on another adventure to Wonderland. Meanwhile, in a well drawn Victorian London, the reader also follows the adventures of those left behind - wondering just what has happened to those missing children. Joining them is none other than Charles Darwin - providing a fascinating counterpoint to the intriguing events that Maguire creates in Wonderland. It can't be denied that the Victorian Style language is perhaps overused - some pages are so flowery that some readers may well need a thesaurus to hand, so do bear in mind that this book is more aimed at adults who once enjoyed Alice in Wonderland, than to children themeselves. Switching the focus between the Wonderland and the real world is a clever choice, and keeps the reader hooked, with both Wonderland and Victorian Oxford springing to life in glorious fashion. Ada herself is a clever lead character - similar to Alice but brighter and less infantile, she's a good guide for the reader and easy to root for.
Clever, evocative and entirely respectful of the original work, After Alice is a must read for anyone who loved the adventures of Alice in Wonderland Thanks to the publishers for the copy. For further reading, I would recommend Uprooted by Naomi Novik. It's a fascinating take on a familiar fairy tale, where, much like in After Alice, modern sentiment blends with old fashioned storytelling in order to create a cracking read. We can also recommend The Clay Dreaming by Ed Hillyer.
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You can read more book reviews or buy After Alice by Gregory Maguire at Amazon.com.
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