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Son of a Witch: A Novelby Gregory Maguire
Son of a Witch is a pitch-perfect sequel to Wicked — as though Maguire hadn't written several other books in dramatically varied voices in the meantime. But his new novel is more meditative, symbolic, and unexpectedly relevant than its predecessor. Son of a Witch is Maguire's most accomplished and nuanced work in years.
Synopses & Reviews
The long-anticipated sequel to the beloved and hugely successful novel Wicked, now Broadway's #1 smash hit musical.
When a Witch dies — not as a crone, withered and incapable, but as a woman in her prime, at the height of her passion and prowess — too much is left unsaid. What might have happened had Elphaba lived? Of her campaigns in defense of the Animals, of her appetite for justice, of her talent for magic itself, what good might have come? If every death is a tragedy, the death of a woman in her prime keenly bereaves the whole world. Ten years after the publication of Wicked, bestselling novelist Gregory Maguire returns to the land of Oz to follow the story of Liir, the adolescent boy left hiding in the shadows of the castle when Dorothy did in the Witch.
A decade after the Witch has melted away, the young man Liir is discovered bruised, comatose, and left for dead in a gully. Shattered in spirit as well as in form, he is tended by the mysterious Candle, a foundling in her own right, until failed campaigns of his childhood bear late, unexpected fruit.
Liir is only one part of the world that Elphaba left behind. As a boy hardly in his teens, he is asked to help the needy in ways in which he may be unskilled. Is he Elphaba's son? Has he power of his own? Can he liberate Princess Nastoya into a dignified death? Can he locate his supposed half-sister, Nor, last seen in shackles in the Wizard's protection? Can he survive in an Oz little improved since the death of the Wicked Witch of the West? Can he learn to fly?
In Son of a Witch, Gregory Maguire suggests that the magic we locate in distant, improbable places like Oz is no greater than the magic inherent in any hard life lived fully, son of a witch or no.
"The death of Elphaba Thropp, the Wicked Witch of the West, brings about spectacular changes in this masterfully imaginative sequel to Maguire's 1995 blockbuster Wicked — most notably, the startling possibility that Elphaba had a son. Scattered among the ruins of great portions of Emerald City, many residents have been skinned and bloodied, supposedly by the barbaric Yunamatas. Travel caravan leader Oatsie Manglehand stumbles upon the body of an unknown young man, badly beaten but still alive. She presents him to the wise Superior Maunt, who recognizes the hurt boy as Liir, rumored to be the dead Witch's secreted son. A mute waif named Candle revives him with her haunting, ethereal music and hidden affections. Meanwhile, Maguire supplies alternating chapters of extensive, mesmerizing backstory of Liir's boyhood, from the witch's watery demise, to the trek to the Wizard's Castle with Dorothy and company, his search for the imprisoned princess Nor, and a long stint in the Munchkinland Army, all while donning his mother's black cape and clutching her magic broom handle. Along the way, a headspinning cast of vividly described, eccentric characters emerges, but nothing prepares Liir for Candle's shocking surprise announcement. Tucked into Maguire's enchanting fable are carefully calibrated object lessons in forgiveness, retribution, love, loss and the art of moving on despite tragic circumstances. Ten years after Wicked (which is still on Broadway), fans will once again be clicking their heels with wonderment. Agent, William Reiss at John Hawkins & Associates. 13-city author tour. (Sept. 27)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[R]ichly detailed....The book works too hard to dazzle us; it's considerably more cluttered and strained than Wicked. But, like L. Frank Baum's magical land itself, it's filled with wonderful things....Once again, the myth of Oz proves its enduring power." Kirkus Reviews
"[A] tale that adroitly mixes drama, humor, and political satire into a well-knit examination of good and evil — and leaves several doors open for future journeys over the rainbow into this cleverly constructed dystopia." Library Journal
"[A] powerful cast of characters....Son of a Witch is one of those rare books that, although not designed for children, absorbs us in ways that only childhood reading usually can..." Los Angeles Times
"[A]s fantastical as a novel set in Oz should be....In the end, this hero's journey plays like a series of enthralling anticlimaxes — although much may be forgiven if Son becomes the middle book of a trilogy. (Grade: B)" Entertainment Weekly
"Except for getting out of the way of the odd chamber pot being emptied from on high, no one seems to know exactly what to do or where to go in this book. You get the feeling they're simply milling around waiting for the next sequel to begin." The Washington Post
"[I]ntricately plotted and peopled...It has the same fascinating blend of the prosaic and the magical as its predecessor...and sometimes rises to the same level of wit....If Son suffers a bit from being the middle child, so be it. It is a family of books well worth reading." San Antonio Express-News
"One of the critical hallmarks of a successful sequel is its ability to stand on its own. Son doesn't....Son occasionally has absorbing sections in which Maguire's prose sparkles; but there are also weak spots." Dallas-Ft. Worth Star Telegram
Ten years after the publication of Wicked, the author returns to the land of Oz to follow the story of Liir, the adolescent boy left hiding in the shadows of the castle when Dorothy killed the Witch.
The Wicked Years continue in Gregory Maguires Son of a Witch—the heroic saga of the hapless yet determined young man who may or may not be the offspring of the fabled Wicked Witch of the West. A New York Times bestseller like its predecessor, the remarkable Wicked, Son of a Witch follows the boy Liir on his dark odyssey across an ingeniously re-imagined and nearly unrecognizable Land of Oz—a journey that will take him deep into the bowels of the
Ten years after the publication of Wicked, beloved novelist Gregory Maguire returns at last to the land of Oz. There he introduces us to Liir, an adolescent boy last seen hiding in the shadows of the castle after Dorothy did in the Witch. Bruised, comatose, and left for dead in a gully, Liir is shattered in spirit as well as in form. But he is tended at the Cloister of Saint Glinda by the silent novice called Candle, who wills him back to life with her musical gifts.
What dark force left Liir in this condition? Is he really Elphaba's son? He has her broom and her cape — but what of her powers? Can he find his supposed half-sister, Nor, last seen in the forbidding prison, Southstairs? Can he fulfill the last wishes of a dying princess? In an Oz that, since the Wizard's departure, is under new and dangerous management, can Liir keep his head down long enough to grow up?
For the countless fans who have been dazzled and entranced by Maguire's Oz, Son of a Witch is the rich reward they have awaited so long.
About the Author
Gregory Maguire is the bestselling author of Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, Lost, Mirror Mirror, and Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, the basis for the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical of the same name. Maguire has lectured on art and culture at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and the DeCordova Museum, as well as at conferences at home and abroad. An occasional reviewer for the New York Times Book Review, he lives with his family in Massachusetts.
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