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Hiddensee (Book Review)

A Tale of the One and Future Nutcracker by Gregory Maguire

From the author of Wicked, a prelude to the story of the Wizard of Oz, comes a the prelude to the story of the Nutcracker. Though Wicked is a hard book to top, Maguire’s unique literary style shines through in Hiddensee, even if the story is not quite as captivating.

Hidensee follows the mildly tragic story of a young boy Dirk who grows up alone in the woods of Bavaria with an impoverished old man and woman.

“What’s missing from the literature of our species are the stories of the peasants. The filthy illiterate. Those with no firm address, no surname. No one to impress, nothing to lose. But the poor tell stories, too.”

The old man and woman decide to kill Dirk one cold winter night when food is running low- and Dirk dies, but is pushed back into the world of the living as he is rejected from the afterlife in the “forgotten forest” after offending the mythical creatures within. What follows is a telling of Dirk’s path forward into the future. Dirk will later become the toymaker who creates the nutcracker.

“All paths lead to the same place, and that place is whatever comes next,” Maguire writes, drawing on ancient German folklore for the story.

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© Copyright 2018 Annie Windholz

midwestern librarian, writer, activist. subscribe —

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