Sunday, November 13, 2005


Mirror Mirror, by Gregory Maguire, HarperCollins Publishers Inc, 2003, 276 pp

Maguire's most recent book, Son of a Witch, just came out, so he was being widely promoted. I somehow had not heard of him but was seduced by the promotion. He also writes children's books and it is all a unique twist on the fantasy genre.

In Mirror Mirror, he takes the tale of Snow White and sets it in Italy, 1502. Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia are pulling their shenanigans and are central to the story. There are dwarves as well. It is an odd mix of history, imagination, legend and something like metaphysics.

It is hard to describe, highly literary, and not an easy read. If it hadn't been for a few books I'd already read, such as Rule of Four, by Ian Caldwell & Dustin Thomason; Catalina, by Somerset Maugham; and especially Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger, all of which deal with that time period, I would have been quite lost. As it was, I could only marvel at his imagination and keep a dictionary close by.

I can't say that I loved the book, but it had a fascination. Though there was plenty of action at times, it seemed to move slowly. Perhaps I was under an enchantment as a reader. I'd like to hear about any of Maguire's books that anyone has read.

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