Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, a novel by Gregory Maguire

by James Gilmore

Book cover for Wicked The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, a novel by Gregory Maguire, on Minimalist Reviews.

Wicked: TLaTotWWotW is a masterwork of storytelling on all fronts. It is an epic in the classic sense; a true Greek Tragedy.

Maguire’s re-imagining of Oz entails a complex plot cast against an even more complicated background, with multifarious–but utterly human–relationships which do not gloss over the less glamorous aspects of weakness, regret, and mistakes made. Furthermore, the author demonstrates an intimate understanding of culture, the succession of religions, humanity and the human condition (as is the subject of all great literature), and the oxymoronic fickleness of perspective and public opinion.

Woven throughout with a powerful spell of thematic material, which elucidates a living discussion concerning the nature of evil, the author presents us with an array of possible answers to its (non-)existence instead of a narrow, single-minded conclusion. The core of Wicked is best summed by a secondary character named Boq: “People who claim that they’re evil are usually no worse than the rest of us,” and, “It’s people who claim that they’re good, or anything better than the rest of us, that you have to be wary of.”

Rating: 5 / 5

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