Monday, 18 October 2021

#BlogTour A Wild Winter Swan by Gregory Maguire

 It's my turn on the BlogTour A Wild Winter Swan by Gregory Maguire. A poignant coming-of-age story inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's The Wild Swans,' set amid the magic of Christmas in 1960s New York. (Author photo by Andy Newman)

About the Author

Gregory Maguire received his Ph.D. in English and American Literature from Tufts University, and his B.A. from the State University of New York at Albany. He was a professor and co-director at the Simmons College Center for the Study of Children's Literature from 1979-1985. In 1987 he co-founded Children's Literature New England. He still serves as co-director of CLNE, although that organization has announced its intention to close after its 2006 institute.

The bestselling author of Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, Lost, Mirror Mirror, and the Wicked Years, a series that includes Wicked, Son of a Witch, and A Lion Among Men. Wicked, now a beloved classic, is the basis for the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical of the same name. Maguire has lectured on art, literature, and culture both at home and abroad.

He has three adopted children and is married to painter Andy Newman. He lives with his family near Boston, Massachusetts.

About the book

Laura lives on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in an aging brownstone with her old-world grandparents - but she may well be sent to a boarding school in Montreal in the new year after being expelled from school for behaviour unbecoming of a young lady.

Constantly telling herself stories about the events surrounding her to divorce herself from te tragedies of her life, Laura truly finds herself inside a fairy tale when a handsome boy with a swan wing in place of a left arm lands on her roof. But Laura must forge unlikely allies in her quest to keep this storybook character from overturning her life in all the wrong ways.

Greogory  Maquire conjures a haunting tale of magical realism that illuminates one young woman's heartbreak and hope as she begins the inevitable journey to adulthood.

Review

Laura has a hard time connecting to her peers and finds her grandparents rules and choices hard to comprehend. She is isolated, and yet lives in a family where her safety and wellbeing is paramount. When her life is disrupted by a young man with one arm and a wing for the other, she recognises him from the many fairy tales she has read. It seems so magical in the stories, however the reality of the swan boy is slightly more disturbing and disruptive.

I haven't read anything by Maguire before, but I will certainly be changing that going forward. He writes with such eloquence and projects the illusion of shallow, whilst delivering great depth. The fluid interpretation of Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales as he merges them with a story filled with magical realism.

In a way it feels as if the story is an homage to Andersen, and simultaneously it is a postmodern tale with pinch of noir and a flair of repressed violence, which lends itself to a more speculative read. The balance between old-world and modern is noted in the relationship between the grandparents and Laura. The grandparents try to keep her cocooned in their bubble and views, to protect and nurture. Laura is trying to burst free of the constraints of her own anxieties, her additional needs, and the the grandparents who are reluctant to let her fly.

The swan boy becomes an analogy for the gilded cage, the fear of the unknown, the equally repressed fluttering of sexuality, the longing to escape and desire for love.

I absolutely loved it. It's a beautifully crafted story.

Buy A Wild Winter Swan at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: WmMorrowPB; pub date 14 Oct. 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

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