Star Wars Sale
 
 

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN!

Weekly drawing for $100 credit. Subscribe to PowellsBooks.news for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

More at Powell's


Recently Viewed clear list


The Powell's Playlist | June 18, 2014

Daniel H. Wilson: IMG The Powell’s Playlist: Daniel H. Wilson



Like many writers, I'm constantly haunting coffee shops with a laptop out and my headphones on. I listen to a lot of music while I write, and songs... Continue »
  1. $18.87 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

    Robogenesis

    Daniel H. Wilson 9780385537094

spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$5.95
List price: $16.00
Used Trade Paper
Usually ships in 5 to 7 business days
Add to Wishlist
available for shipping or prepaid pickup only
Qty Store Section
1 Remote Warehouse General- General

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West

by

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West Cover

 

 

Excerpt

Chapter One

From the crumpled bed the wife said, "I think today's the day. Look how low I've gone."

"Today? That would be like you, perverse and inconvenient," said her husband, teasing her, standing at the doorway and looking outward, over the lake, the fields, the forested slopes beyond. He could just make out the chimneys of Rush Margins, breakfast fires smoking. "The worst possible moment for my ministry. Naturally."

The wife yawned. "There's not a lot of choice involved. From what I hear. Your body gets this big and it takes over--if you can't accommodate it, sweetheart, you just get out of its way. It's on a track of its own and nothing stops it "now."" She pushed herself up, trying to see over the rise of her belly. "I feel like a hostage to myself. Or to the baby."

"Exert some self-control." He came to her side and helped her sit up. "Think of it as a spiritual exercise. Custody of the senses. Bodily as well as ethical continence."

"Self-control?" She laughed, inching toward the edge of the bed. "I have no self left. I'm only a host for the parasite. Where's my "self," anyway? Where'd I leave that tired old thing?"

"Think of me." His tone had changed; he meant this.

"Frex" — she headed him off — "when the volcano's ready there's no priest in the world can pray it quiet."

"What will my fellow ministers think?"

"They'll get together and say, 'Brother Frexspar, did you allow your wife to deliver your first child when you had a community problem to solve? How inconsiderate of you; it shows a lack of authority. You're fired from the position.'" She was ribbing him now, for there was no one to fire him. The nearest bishop was too distant to pay attentionto the particulars of a unionist cleric in the hinterland.

"It's just such terrible timing."

"I do think you bear half the blame for the timing," she said. "I mean, after all, Frex."

"That's how the thinking goes, but I wonder,"

"You wonder?" She laughed, her head going far back. The line from her ear to the hollow below her throat reminded Frex of an elegant silver ladle. Even in morning disarray, with a belly like a scow, she was majestically good-looking. Her hair had the bright lacquered look of wet fallen oak leaves in sunlight. He blamed her for being born to privilege and admired her efforts to overcome it--and all the while he loved her, too.

"You mean you wonder if you're the father" — she grabbed the bedstead; Frex took hold of her other arm and hauled her half-upright — "or do you question the fatherliness of men in general?" She stood, mammoth, an ambulatory island. Moving out the door at a slug's pace, she laughed at such an idea. He could hear her laughing from the outhouse even as he began to dress for the day's battle.

Frex combed his beard and oiled his scalp. He fastened a clasp of bone and rawhide at the nape of his neck, to keep the hair out of his face, because his expressions today had to be readable from a distance: There could be no fuzziness to his meaning. He applied some coal dust to darken his eyebrows, a smear of red wax on his flat cheeks. He shaded his lips, A handsome priest attracted more penitents than a homely one.

In the kitchen yard Melena floated gently, not with the normal gravity of pregnancy but as if inflated, a huge balloon trailing its strings through the dirt. She carried a skillet in one hand and a few eggs and thewhiskery tips of autumn chives in the other. She sang to herself, but only in short phrases. Frex wasn't meant to hear her.

His sober gown buttoned tight to the collar, his sandals strapped on over leggings, Frex took from its hiding place — beneath a chest of drawers — the report sent to him from his fellow minister over in the village of Three Dead Trees. He hid the brown pages within his sash. He had been keeping them from his wife, afraid that she would want to come along — to see the fun, if it was amusing, or to suffer the thrill of it if it was terrifying.

As Frex breathed deeply, readying his lungs for a day of oratory, Melena dangled a wooden spoon in the skillet and stirred the eggs. The tinkle of cowbells sounded across the lake. She did not listen; or she listened but to something else, to something inside her. It was sound without melody — like dream music, remembered for its effect but not for its harmonic distresses and recoveries. She imagined it was the child inside her, humming for happiness. She knew he would be a singing child.

Melena heard Frex inside, beginning to extemporize, warming up, calling forth the rolling phrases of his argument, convincing himself again of his righteousness.

How did that proverb go, the one that Nanny singsonged to her, years ago, in the nursery?

Born in the morning,
Woe without warning;
Afternoon child
Woeful and wild;
Born in the evening,
Woe ends in grieving.
Night baby borning
Same as the morning.

But she remembered this as a joke, fondly. Woe is the natural end of life, yet we go on having babies.

No, said Nanny, an echo in Melena's mind (and editorializing as usual): No, no,you pretty little pampered hussy. We "don't" go on having babies, that's quite apparent. We only have babies when we're young enough not to know how grim life turns out. Once we really get the full measure of it — we're slow learners, we women — we dry up in disgust and sensibly halt production.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 22 comments:

bookduck19, January 1, 2013 (view all comments by bookduck19)
I loved this book and the background story it provides for the Wizard of Oz.I actually find it to be much more interesting than its well known companion.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
ReadABookADay, August 13, 2012 (view all comments by ReadABookADay)
This is the most tedious book I have had the misfortune to buy in many years. It is a true waste of a good concept. I am finding trouble finding bad enough things to say about this pointless waste of ink and paper. On the plus side, if I can't manage to sell it back to a used book store, shredded paper is a fine addition to a kitchen compost pile.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(0 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
jerikajoy, August 12, 2012 (view all comments by jerikajoy)
This is the kind of book that is not only delightfully captivating- with it's brilliant humor and witty characters- but also one that can really make a person look at the world from a new perspective. If this book doesn't make you think about the world we live in, then you aren't paying any attention.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 22 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780060987107
Subtitle:
The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
Author:
Maguire, Gregory
Illustrator:
Smith, Douglas
Publisher:
William Morrow Paperbacks
Location:
New York :
Subject:
General
Subject:
Fiction
Subject:
Fantastic fiction
Subject:
Fantasy
Subject:
Fantasy - General
Subject:
Oz (Imaginary place)
Subject:
Fantasy fiction
Subject:
Oz (Imaginary place) -- Fiction.
Subject:
Oz
Subject:
Witches
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Science Fiction and Fantasy-Fantasy
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1
Edition Description:
Trade PB
Series:
Wicked Years
Series Volume:
01
Publication Date:
December 2000
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
432
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 0.1624 in 5.44 oz

Other books you might like

  1. Was Used Trade Paper $4.50
  2. Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister
    Used Trade Paper $2.50
  3. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier...
    Used Book Club Paperback $4.50
  4. The Time Traveler's Wife
    Used Book Club Paperback $4.50
  5. Life of Pi
    Used Mass Market $4.95
  6. Wicked: The Grimmerie, A...
    Used Hardcover $27.00

Related Subjects


Business » Featured Titles
Featured Titles » Bestsellers
Featured Titles » Books to Movies » The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Featured Titles » General
Featured Titles » Literature
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Featured Titles
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Locked Case
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Sale Books
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » Fantasy » General

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$5.95 In Stock
Product details 432 pages ReganBooks - English 9780060987107 Reviews:
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "An outstanding work of imagination."
"Review" by , "Save a place on the shelf between Alice and The Hobbit — that spot is well deserved."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "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."
"Synopsis" by , 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.
"Synopsis" by ,

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.

spacer
spacer
  • back to top
Follow us on...




Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.