Sunday, March 25
Out of Oz
Out of Oz by Gregory Maguire
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
My entanglement with the Wicked series began over a decade ago, and after reading the first instalment, Wicked. I quickly began to spread the word of an author who took fairy tales we all knew, and provided a deeper story to reveal characters who ethics and morals governed their choices to reveal inner worlds that no writer had attempted to explain. Maguire's ability to provide fictional, historical reasoning for the characters we all think we know provides the reader with brilliant insights into good, evil, bad, nice, decent, and all the other lessons fairly tales are meant to teach us. Liir (Son of a Witch) and Brrr (A Lion Among Men) are joined by a host of characters as the story of Oz continues. Caught in a war between Ozians and Muchnkinlanders, two key elements become the object of desire on both sides, Liir (or Rain) and the Grimmerie. Even when these two objects are attained, Maguire does not present one side as good and the other as evil, the reader is left simply to follow the choices of each character, wondering what will be the results in the end. A magnificent ending to a tale that has taken over a decade of my life, and introduced me to an author whose skill I deeply admire and characters that are complex and change with every experience.
One thing I do find difficult about Maguire's writing is that he mixes the fantasy world of Oz with real life references. At times this is confusing as the two world's are so entwined that a word, a reference, or sentence is at hard to understand as I wondered if I had missed a pop culture or historical reference, or if I was back in a space of fantasy. This made reading this book more complicated but I learned to press onward and enjoyed these works.
The parts of the book I want to remember:
"Prophecy is dead, and conscience is dead too...If there's no good conscience to trust...no Lurline, no Ozma, no Unnamed God, no standard of goodness, then we have to manage for ourselves. Maybe there's no central girl in some hall in the Emerald CIty, all bronzed and verdigrised, all windswept hair and upthrust naked breast, lots of bright honor carved in her blind and focused eyes. No conscience like that, no reliable regula of goodness. So it's up to us, each of us a part. A patchwork conscience. If we all make our own mistakes...we can all make amends too. No one of us the final arbiter, but each of us capable of adding our little bit. We're the patchwork conscience of Oz, us lot." p. 182
"The sweet accident of coincidence is the best foundation on which to build." p. 407
"She would make no plan but this: to move out into the world as a Bird might, and to perch on the edge of everything that could be known. She would circle herself with water below and with sky above. She would wait until there was no stink of Oz, no breath of it, no sight of it on any horizon no matter how high she climbed. And then she would let go of the book, let it plunge into the mythical sea.
Live life without grasping for the magic of it.
Turn back, and find out what that was like; or turn forward, and learn something new." p. 563
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