Sunday, October 5, 2008

October Book Club Selection: Wicked

I've been meaning to post this for a few days but life got too hectic there for awhile and I let it slip. This month I'd like to finally read Wicked by Gregory Maguire. I borrowed this book ages ago from one of my friends and still haven't gotten around to it. I thought it would be a good book for October too since it's about a witch. I don't like scary books too much so this is about as close as I could get to a Halloween theme. If you've already read this book, but want to participate, how about considering the sequel?

From Publisher's Weekly:

Born with green skin and huge teeth, like a dragon, the free-spirited Elphaba grows up to be an anti-totalitarian agitator, an animal-rights activist, a nun, then a nurse who tends the dying and, ultimately, the headstrong Wicked Witch of the West in the land of Oz.

Maguire's strange and imaginative postmodernist fable uses L. Frank Baum's Wonderful Wizard of Oz as a springboard to create a tense realm inhabited by humans, talking animals (a rhino librarian, a goat physician), Munchkinlanders, dwarves and various tribes.

The Wizard of Oz, emperor of this dystopian dictatorship, promotes Industrial Modern architecture and restricts animals' right to freedom of travel; his holy book is an ancient manuscript of magic that was clairvoyantly located by Madam Blavatsky 40 years earlier. Much of the narrative concerns Elphaba's troubled youth (she is raised by a giddy alcoholic mother and a hermitlike minister father who transmits to her his habits of loathing and self-hatred) and with her student years.

Dorothy appears only near novel's end, as her house crash-lands on Elphaba's sister, the Wicked Witch of the East, in an accident that sets Elphaba on the trail of the girl from Kansas, as well as the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodsman and the Lion, and her fabulous new shoes. Maguire combines puckish humor and bracing pessimism in this fantastical meditation on good and evil, God and free will, which should, despite being far removed in spirit from the Baum books, captivate devotees of fantasy.
As always, the book club discussion will be held on the last day of the month (October 31). Hope to see you all there!


Colin Matthew said...

Plus we have the 3rd book, A Lion Among Men, coming out on the 14th of this month as well.

Becca said...

Colin: Thanks for noting that! I'll have to make a mention of it on my blog.

Running Knitter said...

I've been wanting to read this book. I will try to get to the bookstore this week.

Becca said...

Eileen: Yay! I'd love to have you participate. I've had this on my book list forever too. I'm glad to finally have a motivational reason to read it.

beastmomma said...

I finished this book awhile ago, but it remains a favorite. Here is a link to my review: