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Gregory Maguire

Gregory Maguire fantasy author(1954- )
Gregory Maguire received his Ph.D. in English and American Literature from Tufts University, and his B.A. from the State University of New York at Albany. He was a professor and co-director at the Simmons College Center for the Study of Children’s Literature from 1979-1985. In 1987 he co-founded Children’s Literature New England. His novel Wicked is the basis for the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical of the same name. Maguire has lectured on art, literature, and culture both at home and abroad. He has three adopted children and is married to painter Andy Newman. They live near Boston, Massachusetts. Learn more at Gregory Maguire’s website.

The Wicked Years

The Wicked Years — (1995-2011) Young adult. Publisher: 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.

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Wicked: A challenging revisionist take on the Wicked Witch of the West

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Wicked by Gregory Maguire

After finally seeing the Broadway musical I felt it was well past time to track down Gregory Maguire's Wicked (the inspiration for the musical, which by this stage has probably eclipsed the book in popularity) and read for myself the origin story of the Wicked Witch of the West.

Anyone who comes to the book out of a love for the musical is probably in for a nasty shock. Though the musical had its share of darkness and a bittersweet ending, it was generally a very light and comedic production that focused on the friendship between Elphaba and Glinda. Maguire's novel on the other hand is filled with violence, sex, murder and grotesquery, delving into the question of what makes a human being evil and whether or not they can escape their preordained fate.

Elphaba is born to missionary parents in lower-east Mu... Read More

Mirror Mirror: A genuinely creative take on the famous fairytale

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Mirror Mirror by Gregory Maguire

The Eye Is Always Caught by the Light, but Shadows Have More to Say...

Gregory Maguire is best known for Wicked, his take on the life of the Wicked Witch of the West, but due to the fact that 2012 seems to be the year of Snow White (with two big-budget films based on the classic fairytale heading into cinemas) I thought that I'd start with his retelling of the girl "with skin as white as snow."

With a tale so familiar, it's always intriguing to see how a writer will approach the known aspects of the story. In this case our Snow White is Bianca de Nevada, who lives in the farming estate of Montefiore amidst the rolling hills of Italy in the year 1502. Her existence is happy enough, for her widower father Don Vicente dotes on her. Yet change is on the horizon with the arrival of tw... Read More

Egg and Spoon: Feels more like fabulist literary fiction than YA

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Egg and Spoon by Gregory Maguire

Gregory Maguire's Egg and Spoon is being marketed as a YA novel, and I hope that designation doesn't drive any readers away. This book blends the humor and hunger of real life with the wonder and otherworldliness of fables, resulting in a story that broke my heart so subtly, it was like a crack developing in an egg.

Egg and Spoon follows two young protagonists in Tsarist Russia. Elena Rudina, a peasant girl from the village of Miersk, meets a young noblewoman, Ekaterina (or Cat, for short), whose train has stopped in Miersk for repairs. The two girls become unlikely friends until one day, in a bizarre series of events, Elena and Cat accidentally switch places. Elena is whisked away on the train, dressed in fine clothing, fed more food than she's seen in her impoverished life, and taught manners and eti... Read More

The Green Man: Read it slowly

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The Green Man edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling

In fairy tales, whenever someone journeys into the forest, you just know something strange is about to occur and that the protagonist’s life is going to be changed forever. The same is true of the stories and poems featured in The Green Man: Tales from the Mythic Forest. With this collection, editors Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling kicked off a series of young adult anthologies, each devoted to a particular theme. Here, the theme is wild nature, and most of the stories feature teenage characters who encounter the wilderness and undergo a coming-of-age experience there.

Of course, I have my favorites. Delia Sherman contributes a tale of the Faery Queen of Central Park, and the insec... Read More

Salon Fantastique: More uneven than most of Datlow and Windling’s anthologies

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Salon Fantastique: Fifteen Original Tales of Fantasy by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling

Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling are the two greatest short fiction editors of fantasy and horror of our time. Their annual collections of the Year's Best Fantasy and Horror provided us, for 16 straight years, with the best short genre and slipstream fiction from all sources. Their anthologies have defined cutting edge fantasy.

Salon Fantastique is more uneven than most of Datlow and Windling's collections. This themeless anthology, containing stories intended, as the introduction states, "to evoke the liberating, creative spirit of a literary salon," contains some very fine stories. It also, oddly enough, contains some very bad stories.

Delia Sherma... Read More

The Secret History of Fantasy: Stories that redefine the genre

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The Secret History of Fantasy edited by Peter S. Beagle

The basic premise of the SECRET HISTORY anthologies (there's also a science fiction one, The Secret History of Science Fiction, which I haven't read) is that there's a type of writing that got missed or buried because other things were more popular, more commercial, or dodged the spec-fic labeling. Certainly that's the thrust of Peter S. Beagle's introduction, and the two other non-fiction pieces by Ursula K. Le Guin and editor David G. Hartwell.
... Read More

After: Like panning for gold

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After: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia by editors Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling

When I saw the new Datlow and Windling anthology After: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia, I was so excited. I love YA fiction, I love dyslit, I love short story anthologies and I love Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling as editors, so I figured it was a match made in heaven. Unfortunately, my reading experience didn’t live up to my expectations.

After is an anthology of short stories set after. After what? Alien invasion, plague, environmental collapse, asteroid strike, it doesn’t matter. Just after. This leaves a lot of room for the authors to be creative, as they all can choose different afters to explore, and it leaves the anthology feeling a bit disjointed as you hop from one ... Read More

More fantasy novels by Gregory Maguire

gregory macguire the dream stealer reviewThe Dreamstealer — (1983) Publisher: Once every generation or so, a great wolf called the Blood Prince, who not only devours bodies but also steals souls, stalks the northern forests of Russia. Rumor has it that he has set his sights on the forgettable little village of Miersk. The wolf’s evil runs so deep that past survivors refuse to believe in him, and so it is up to the newest generation, two children named Pasha and Lisette, to save the village. But how can a young boy and girl stop such a beast?


gregory macguire confessions of an ugly stepsister reviewConfessions of an Ugly Stepsister — (1999) Publisher: Retells the classic fairy tale of Cinderella from the point of view of one of the ugly stepsisters, turning the entire legend around in a look at what it means to be beautiful.


gregory macguire lost reviewLost — (2001) Publisher: Winifred Rudge, a bemused writer struggling to get beyond the runaway success of her mass-market astrology book, travels to London to jump-start her new novel about a woman who is being haunted by the ghost of Jack the Ripper. Upon her arrival, she finds that her step-cousin and old friend John Comestor has disappeared, and a ghostly presence seems to have taken over his apartment in the nineteenth-century row house once owned by Winnie’s great-great-grandfather. Is it the spirit of this ancestor, who, family legend claims, was Charles Dickens’ childhood inspiration for Ebenezer Scrooge? Could it be the ghostly remains of Jack the Ripper? Or a phantasm derived from a more arcane and insidious origin? Gripped by inspiration and desperation alike, Winnie finds herself the unwilling audience for a drama of spectres and shades, some from her family’s peculiar history and some from her own unvanquished past. In the spirit of A.S. Byatt’s Possession, with dark overtones echoing A Christmas Carol, Lost presents a rich fictional world that has enraptured Gregory Maguire’s eager audience.


gregory macguire what the dickens reviewWhat-the-Dickens: The Story of a Rogue Tooth Fairy — (2007) Publisher: A terrible storm is raging, and ten-year-old Dinah is huddled by candlelight with her brother, sister, and cousin Gage, who is telling a very unusual tale. It’s the story of What-the-Dickens, a newly hatched orphan creature who finds he has an attraction to teeth, a crush on a cat named McCavity, and a penchant for getting into trouble. One day he happens upon a feisty girl skibberee who is working as an Agent of Change — trading coins for teeth — and learns that there is a dutiful tribe of skibbereen (call them tooth fairies) to which he hopes to belong. As his tale of discovery unfolds, however, both What-the- Dickens and Dinah come to see that the world is both richer and less sure than they ever imagined.


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