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Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the Westby Gregory Maguire
Synopses & Reviews
When Dorothy triumphed over the Wicked Witch of the West in L. Frank Baum's classic tale, we heard only her side of the story. But what about her arch-nemesis, the mysterious witch? Where did she come from? How did she become so wicked? And what is the true nature of evil?
Gregory Maguire creates a fantasy world so rich and vivid that we will never look at Oz the same way again. Wicked is about a land where animals talk and strive to be treated like first-class citizens, Munchkinlanders seek the comfort of middle-class stability and the Tin Man becomes a victim of domestic violence. And then there is the little green-skinned girl named Elphaba, who will grow up to be the infamous Wicked Witch of the West, a smart, prickly and misunderstood creature who challenges all our preconceived notions about the nature of good and evil.
"Children — children of all ages, as Maguire reminds us in this splendid novel — need witches. Gregory Maguire has taken this figure of childhood fantasy and given her a sensual and powerful nature that will stir adult hearts with fear and longing all over again. It's a brilliant trick — and a remarkable treat." The Times-Picayune
"It is to [Maguire's] everlasting credit that he has succeeded so admirably that his book stands as an independent and inspired whole; it is also very close to being an instant classic....Maguire has hit a home run his first time at bat. That Wicked is a first novel is remarkable because it is so fully realized, so rich and involving. It is the most seamless interweaving of fantasy and reality since John Crowley's peerless Little, Big, written in poetic language as graceful as a Ray Boldger tap-dance." School Library Journal
"An outstanding work of imagination." USA Today
"Save a place on the shelf between Alice and The Hobbit — that spot is well deserved." Kirkus Reviews
"Gregory Maguire has taken this figure of childhood fantasy and given her a sensual and powerful nature that will stir adult hearts with fear and longing all over again." New Orleans Times-Picayune
"Gregory Maguire's shrewdly imagined first novel...is part fantasy thriller, part psychological study, part political cautionary tale. It's all fascinating. And it's impossible to deny the magic of Gregory Maguire." New York Newsday
"It's a staggering feat of wordcraft, made no less so by the fact that its boundaries were set decades ago by somebody else. Maguire's larger triumph here is twofold: First, in Elphaba, he has created (re-created? renovated?) one of the great heroines in fantasy literature: a fiery, passionate, unforgettable and ultimately tragic figure. Second, Wicked is the best fantasy novel of ideas I've read since Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast or Frank Herbert's Dune. Would that all books with this much innate consumer appeal were also this good. And vice versa." Los Angeles Times
"Listen up, Munchkins. Stop your singing, stop the dancing. The Wicked Witch is no longer dead. But not to worry. Gregory Maguire's shrewdly imagined and beautifully written first novel, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, not only revives her but re-envisions and redeems her for our times." Newsday
"Maguire combines puckish humor and bracing pessimism in this fantastical meditation on good and evil, God and free will, which should...captivate devotees of fantasy." Publishers Weekly
An astonishingly rich re-creation of the land of Oz, this book retells the story of Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, who wasn't so wicked after all. Taking readers past the yellow brick road and into a phantasmagoric world rich with imagination and allegory, Wicked just might change the reputation of one of the most sinister characters in literature.
This is the book that started it all! The basis for the smash hit Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, Gregory Maguire's breathtaking New York Times bestseller Wicked views the land of Oz, its inhabitants, its Wizard, and the Emerald City, through a darker and greener (not rosier) lens. Brilliantly inventive, Wicked offers us a radical new evaluation of one of the most feared and hated characters in all of literature: the much maligned Wicked Witch of the West who, as Maguire tells us, wasnt nearly as Wicked as we imagined.
About the Author
Gregory Maguire received his Ph.D. in English and American Literature from Tufts University. His work as a consultant in creative writing for children takes him to speaking engagements across the United States and abroad. He is a founder and codirector of Children's Literature New England, Incorporated, a non-profit educational charity established in 1987. The author of numerous books for children, Mr. Maguire is also a contributor to Am I Blue?: Coming Out From the Silence, a collection of short stories for gay and lesbian teenagers.
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