Genre: Adult Fiction
“All of life hinges on what one does next, until finally one makes the wrong choice.”
― Gregory Maguire, After Alice
When Alice toppled down the rabbit-hole 150 years ago, she found a Wonderland as rife with inconsistent rules and abrasive egos as the world she left behind. But what of that world? How did 1860s Oxford react to Alice’s disappearance?
In this brilliant new work of fiction, Gregory Maguire turns his dazzling imagination to the question of underworlds, undergrounds, underpinnings — and understandings old and new, offering an inventive spin on Carroll’s enduring tale. Ada, a friend of Alice’s mentioned briefly in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, is off to visit her friend, but arrives a moment too late — and tumbles down the rabbit hole herself.
Ada brings to Wonderland her own imperfect apprehension of cause and effect as she embarks on an odyssey to find Alice and see her safely home from this surreal world below the world. If Euridyce can ever be returned to the arms of Orpheus, or Lazarus can be raised from the tomb, perhaps Alice can be returned to life. Either way, everything that happens next is After Alice.
I was extremely disappointed in this book. It was almost a DNF book. I finished this book over a month ago and even as I sit here and try to write this review I am struggling to bring myself to do it. Writing this review is like reading the book. If you did not know I absolutely adore Alice in Wonderland so I was so excited and was anticipating reading this book for so long. It was the hugest let down I have ever read.
The story was suppose to follow Ada, Alice’s friend after Alice wandered down the rabbit hole. It was based in the same setting just following different characters including Alice’s sister (family). The idea seemed like it would make for a great story, but I feel like Maguire failed me.
The language at the beginning of the book made it really hard for me to understand and follow. Just getting past the first 20 pages was a struggle. As the book went on it got easier to understand, but I felt like it was taking a lot of the original story when it was talking about Wonderland. It lacked originality and really did not reach the full potential that I think this story could have.
My other main issue with this story was that it was extremely disturbing and a little offensive. I have no problem with darker books but this took a strange turn and was offensive to people with disabilities and or color. I just did not agree with a lot of how Maguire was saying things and handled certain situations.
Overall I do think the concept of tell the story of Alice through her friend was a interesting twist. It was showing the story of what happened After Alice went down the rabbit hole. How it affected everyone else around her. It used a lot of the same imagery and nonsensical whimsy that was found in the original story. I think Maguire was trying to do too much by not only attempting a retelling, but trying to make a statement about Victorian Oxford as well. It was a mess and just not what I wanted or expected it to be. There was just a lot that I was not comfortable with and found it boring and a drag to read.