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The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
by GREGORY MAGUIRE
See other fiction at The Bookshelf of Oz click here
New softcover book, 542 pages.
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, is a parallel novel published in 1995. Based upon the writings of L. Frank Baum, it is a revisionist look at the land and characters of Oz, best known from Baum's 1900 novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz.
When Dorothy triumphed over the Wicked Witch of the West in L. Frank Baum's classic tale, we heard only her side of the story. But what about her arch-nemesis, the mysterious witch? Where did she come from? How did she become so wicked? And what is the true nature of evil?
Gregory Maguire creates a fantasy world so rich and vivid that we will never look at Oz the same way again. Wicked is about a land where animals talk and strive to be treated like first-class citizens, Munchkinlanders seek the comfort of middle-class stability and the Tin Man becomes a victim of domestic violence. And then there is the little green-skinned girl named Elphaba, who will grow up to be the infamous Wicked Witch of the West, a smart, prickly and misunderstood creature who challenges all our preconceived notions about the nature of good and evil.
The novel presents events, characters and situations from Baum's books and the film in new ways, with many differences between the series and the Wicked Years. These differences arise from the original Oz functioning as a mirror-image of Kansas in a cultural and economic framework: Oz was wealthy, prosperous and had excellent agricultural yields while Kansas was characterized by economic hardship, environmental difficulties and poor harvests. The social strife described in the Wicked Years indicates that the two series are set in similar and internally consistent but distinctly separate visions of Oz. The novel is a political, social, and ethical commentary on what good and evil really are. It takes place in The Land of Oz, in the years leading to Dorothy's arrival. The story centers on Elphaba, the misunderstood green-skinned girl who grows up to become the notorious Wicked Witch of the West. Gregory Maguire fashioned the name of Elphaba (pronounced EL-fa-ba) from the initials of Lyman Frank Baum, L-F-B.
About the author
Gregory Maguire is the author of six novels for adults and more than a dozen novels for children. His adult novels are: Wicked (1995); Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister (1999); Lost (2001); Mirror Mirror (2003); Son of a Witch (2005); and A Lion Among Men (2008). Wicked, Son of a Witch and A Lion Among Men are a trilogy known as The Wicked Years
Wicked was developed as a big-budget Broadway musical, with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz (Godspell, Pippin, The Prince of Egypt, etc.), book by Winnie Holzman (My So-Called Life, etc.), and direction by Joe Mantello (Tony Award–winning director for Take Me Out). The original cast recording, released in December 2003, features performances by Kristin Chenoweth, Joel Grey, and Idina Menzel.
Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister was filmed for ABC/Disney and aired originally in the spring of 2002. It starred Stockard Channing and Jonathan Pryce. Maguire's work for adults and for children has been published abroad in England, Ireland, and Australia, and various works have been purchased for translation into French, German, Danish, Dutch, Hebrew, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese.
His children's novels include The Hamlet Chronicles, a seven-book series, comprised of Seven Spiders Spinning, Six Haunted Hairdos, Five Alien Elves, Four Stupid Cupids, Three Rotten Eggs, A Couple of April Fools, and One Final Firecracker. Though he is best known as a fantasy writer, Maguire has also written picture books, science fiction, and realistic and historic fiction. For the Sunday New York Times Book Review Maguire has published signal reviews of significant fantasies by J. K. Rowling, Philip Pullman, and Maurice Sendak. He has also contributed articles, essays, and fiction in journals such as Ploughshares, Boston Review, The Christian Science Monitor, The Horn Book Magazine, and others.
Maguire has been the recipient of several awards and fellowships. He was artist in residence at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, and has received fellowship residencies at Blue Mountain Center, New York; the Hambidge center, Georgia; The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts; and the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, Vermont. In addition to writing, Maguire is a national figure in children's literature education. He was a professor and associate director of the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons College from 1979 through 1986. Since 1986 he has been codirector and founding board member of Children's Literature New England, Incorporated, a nonprofit that focuses attention on the significance of literature in the lives of children.
Maguire received his Ph.D. in English and American Literature at Tufts University (1990). He has lived abroad in Dublin and London, and now makes his principal home in Massachusetts.
Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire is also available click here
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire