MIRROR MIRROR

Gregory Maguire, Author . Regan Books $24.95 (280p) ISBN 978-0-06-039384-7

Maguire has a lock on clever, elaborate retellings of fairy tales, turning them inside out and couching them in tongue-in-cheek baroque prose. After his revisionist takes on Oz's Wicked Witch of the West (Wicked) and Cinderella's ugly stepsisters (Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister), he now tackles Snow White. The notorious Borgia habit of poisoning rivals inspired him to transplant the classic tale to 16th-century Tuscany, where Vicente de Nevada is an expatriate Spanish widower who lives with his daughter, the fair Bianca. Beholden to sinister Cesare Borgia and Cesare's sister (and perhaps lover) Lucrezia, Vicente is sent on what appears to be a fool's errand, to discover and steal from a Middle East monastery a branch of the Tree of Knowledge complete with three apples. When Bianca is 11, Cesare's attraction to her causes the envious Lucrezia to order a young hunter to murder her and deliver her heart in a casket. Bianca, of course, is spared and taken in by seven dwarfs. But this is not Disney; the dwarfs are boulders, stirred to life by Bianca's arrival ("a clothed, bearded obstinacy became slowly apparent"). Several years pass in surreal, dreamlike fashion, with Bianca tending to the dwarfs, who cavort stiffly and philosophize collectively. When Vicente returns successful, Lucrezia poisons an apple for her rival. Innocent Bianca's fate is gentle, but that of the corrupt Lucrezia, in brilliant Venice, is appropriately grotesque. Fairy tales in their original form are often brutal and disturbing; with his rich, idiosyncratic storytelling, Maguire restores the edge to an oft-told tale and imbues it with a strange, unsettling beauty. (Oct. 14)

Forecast:The near-simultaneous release of this book and the opening of the big-budget musical version of Wicked on Broadway will likely land Maguire in the media spotlight.

Reviewed on: 09/15/2003
Release date: 10/01/2003
Show other formats
FORMATS
Paperback - 280 pages - 978-0-06-196056-7
Paperback - 283 pages - 978-0-06-098865-4
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 304 pages - 978-0-06-057568-7
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-0-06-057570-0
Ebook - 304 pages - 978-0-06-118825-1
Ebook - 304 pages - 978-0-06-174804-2
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-06-056767-5
Book - 978-0-06-176284-0
Book - 978-0-06-176283-3
Compact Disc - 978-0-06-176183-6
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4498-8676-9
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.