GRE­GORY MAGUIRE

Elle (Canada) - - Radar -

The mind that brought us Wicked now in­vites us on a jour­ney down the rab­bit hole—lit­er­ally. Gre­gory Maguire’s After Alice takes place on the same sum­mer’s day as a cer­tain other lit­tle girl’s ad­ven­tures in Won­der­land. And while, yes, After Alice also be­gins with a rab­bit in a waist­coat, Maguire’s Ada is a hero­ine in her own right and has a (hal­lu­ci­na­tory, won­der­ful, gid­dily mag­i­cal) tale all her own to tell. WHAT IT’S ABOUT “It’s an homage to the 150th an­niver­sary of the orig­i­nal pub­li­ca­tion of Alice’s Ad­ven­tures in Won­der­land in 1865. It’s meant to make you feel like you’ve got­ten a let­ter from an old friend and your heart leaps up in joy at news from some­body you thought had been lost for­ever.” WHAT IT’S NOT “It’s not a retelling. It’s not a par­ody. It’s not ‘Alex in Tum­blr­land.’” WHAT IN­SPIRED IT “I have a pho­to­graph of Lewis Car­roll in my study; it’s ac­tu­ally men­tioned in After Alice, in the scene where Ada’s gov­erness and Alice’s sis­ter are out look­ing for the lost chil­dren and they come upon a man try­ing to take a pho­to­graph of him­self. By putting him in the book, I’m kind of ask­ing for his bless­ing and say­ing ‘You did not know how im­mor­tal you were mak­ing your­self when you told a story, and we can honour you be­cause you have taught us a great deal—not just about the na­ture of child­hood but in­deed about the na­ture of con­scious­ness, so here’s my lit­tle shrine to you.’” WHAT YOU’LL GET OUT OF IT “When Ada goes down the rab­bit hole, her back brace that she wears to straighten her spine falls off, and when she finds it again, it no longer fits; it’s a bit too snug. This is my me­taphor for how all ex­pe­ri­ence, how­ever in­sane, does make us big­ger. Even a dream makes us big­ger than we were when we went to sleep.”

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