Mirror Mirror Hardcover – 1 Dec 2003
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|Hardcover, 1 Dec 2003||
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About the Author
Gregory Maguire is a bestselling author who has earned rave reviews and a dedicated following for Wicked, the first novel in the Wicked Years quartet (which also included Son of a Witch, A Lion Among Men and Out of Oz), that was made into an award-winning musical. He received his doctorate in English Literature from Tufts University, and has taught at Simmons College and other Boston area colleges. He has also served as an artist-in-residence at the Blue Mountain Center, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and the Hambridge Center. Gregory has lived in Dublin and London, but now makes his home near Boston, Massachusetts, with his partner, their two sons and daughter.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"A brilliant achievement." -- Boston Herald
Wildly inventive...Maguire refreshes his source material capably...Every bit as good as Wicked: wicked good, in fact. --Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
A brilliant achievement. --Boston Herald
"A brilliant achievement."--Boston Herald
"Wildly inventive...Maguire refreshes his source material capably...Every bit as good as Wicked: wicked good, in fact."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
I am rather of two minds with this book. On the one hand, the author does an excellent job of retelling the story of Snow White, placing it in Renaissance Italy, peopled with fascinating characters. On the other hand, the story starts out slow, and never seems to pick up the pace. Indeed, the story seems to drag along from start to end as if the author had a great idea for a story, but couldn't think up all of the details it needed. He obviously knows a great deal about Renaissance Italy, but he cannot combine the two elements of his story into the really fascinating story that it should be.
Overall, I found the book to be good, at times even very good, but it is not the great story it should be. I give it a guarded recommendation.
Snow White, known of course as Bianca, makes her home in 16th century Italy. For a bit of historical reference, I suppose, the legendary Borgia family feature in the story; with Lucrezia Borgia cast as the “step-mother”. I struggled a bit with this mesh of historical realism, but it was not that plot-point which truly left me feeling very unaffected.
Maguire seemed to bog himself down in the uninspiring detail. The language felt a bit clumsy, and sometimes overly ostentatious, as well. Snow White’s dwarves have been recreated numerous times, and in many guises, but I cannot decide of Maguire’s vision of them as humanoid lumps of stone was inspired or ridiculous. Although, some of the only scenes I actually found myself enjoying took place in the magical depths of the earth with the dwarves; and yet on reflection, the whole bit about them coming to terms with their “names” was a bit esoteric.
Maguire is a gifted author, and I haven’t given up on him yet. I just long to see his talents ignite the literary world once more. It feels as if he is biding his time in mediocrity until a better inspiration comes along.
He has cast the tale in the scenario of a political backwater in Renaissance Italy; as the daughter of a minor nobleman comes within the sphere of influence of one of the most reviled women of the period, Lucretia Borgia.
It doesn't take much to guess who the wicked stepmother figure is going to be, but don't expect the details of this story to follow the fairy tale exactly. The dwarves are particularly interesting in their origins and how they develop. I think their names in here should supplant the horrible Disney ones that have been forced on our culture.
The characters are all finely drawn and sympathetic - even the indolent Borgias are painted with a full pallet of colours, not just the blacks and greys that many villains receive.
Therefore, picking up Mirror Mirror in the bookshop was not a hard sell. As Maguire in general writes updated or unusual versions of old fairy stories, it only took the title for me to conclude that the Snow White story must be the basis of this novel "Mirror Mirror on the Wall, who's the fairest of them all?"
I didn't read the back cover.
This is where it gets a bit weird, I planned to go to Florence in May, and was discussing it and aspects of Italian history when The Borgias, a powerful Italian family from the 16th Century came up.
Mainly because Showtime have replaced their exceptionally silly but good value "history" series 'The Tudors' with a new series about this family. Rodrigo Borgia, who became Pope Alexander VI infamously had 7 illegitimate children, among them Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia, and the surname became a byword for general debauchery and villainy.
After this conversation, I pulled my copy of Mirror Mirror out of the bag, turned to the back and found that fictionalized versions of Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia appear in this novel. Freaky or what? It is what Jung termed a 'synchronicity of chance'. I seemed oddly destined to read it.
At university I studied Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber short stories, which themselves are modern re-tellings of fairy stories, or children's tales. I hate to say it given that Carter is highly regarded and I'm sure many would disagree but I think Maguire does it better.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Nearly as enjoyable as Wicked, but the storyline was not as compelling.Published 22 months ago by Rh
I wasn't very sure what to expect when I started this book as the blurb was pretty ambiguous. What I found inside was a magical story with some very odd parts. Read morePublished on 31 Oct. 2013 by Roisin
would like have had a more complete story. its too disjointed,it is interesting though; one learns a bit of fiction thrown in with a bit of history, leaving one wondering.Published on 4 Oct. 2013 by charlotte Martin
No complaints, all praise. Good good good good good good good good good good good good good good good good.Published on 23 April 2013 by MRM
Gregory Maguire is possibly most famous for being the author of Wicked, the show that has taken the world by storm, and his fiction in general is all from the same genesis of this... Read morePublished on 25 May 2011 by Mr. J. Claridge
This is the first Gregory Maguire book that i have read. I had high expectations when reading this book and I felt disappointed most of the time. Read morePublished on 15 Mar. 2009 by Harryy
The idea of basing this story on real people is a great idea but the slowness and the way the dwarfs were described really confused me and I didn't like that idea at all. Read morePublished on 26 May 2008 by Philip Thompson