I'll give it a go. I've not read anything from Maguire before, but I have a good friend who tells ms that 'Wicked' (Maguire's retelling of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz) is his favourite book. I believe Maguire specialises in retelling classic Children's stories, but makes them darker for adults.
I have read two of his, Wicked and Confessions of an Ugly Step Sister. They were both darker, but I loved the twist he put on them. You end up rooting for the "bad" guy because the bad guy really isn't bad, just misunderstood. We'll see what happens with this one.
Wow, this is the third book by Gregory Maguire and it follows his form in so much as I had no idea where it was going. I will state I was a bit disappointed because for some reason I thought it was more about the ghost of Marley, but he only gets a tiny mention. It takes place on modern times and Jack the Ripper gets more mention than scrooge, but Maguire drops lots of bread crumbs to lead you one way and then all of a sudden the story goes in a completely different direction. All you can do is keep turning the pages and go where he leads. I'll say that Confessions of an Ugly Step Sister is still my favorite, but this was a close second. Some general discussion questions below.
What did you think of Winnie?I ask this because at times I thought maybe she was a bit neurotic, but I still thought she showed tenacity. I would have given up, especially after John turned up.
I'm not sure that I thought much about Winnie at all.
I got caught up in the drama of the plot, the characters were just a necessary element to support the story. I didn't feel that Maguire went to any effort to make them real. Each character had an unusual name, usually indicating an element of their personality, and that too made them seem improbable. Some interesting supporting names include Mrs. Quackenbush, Mrs. Maddingly, Weatherall Walk, Soeur Godelieve, Britt Chalmers, Allegra Lowe - all somehow suggestive.
As for Winnie, she was a bit of an enigma. We were only given glimpses into her motivation and mental state. I was a little surprised that she accepted the paranormal so easily. Then we learn that she's not facing up to reality anyway, and most of my interest faded at that point. She didn't make sense, and wasn't supposed to. Then things turned even more bizarre.
Thanks Paul, this really put it in perspective. I guess because she was the main character I wanted to like her, but she never really showed up.
Do you believe in ghosts?I ask this one because I'm never sure if I believe in ghosts or not. When I read A Christmas Carol it is never an issue, I just go with the story. With Lost, I found myself trying to decide if I believed in ghosts or not, which is a small indication that I didn't completely get taken in.
Could you guess where the story was going?I honestly thought at one point that Winnie was going to turn out to be dead and haunting the place. Especially when John referred to Romania I thought maybe she died there.
Any other comments etc
I think I've made a tactical mistake for this discussion. I usually manage to time things so that I finish the book a few days before the discussion starts when it's all fresh in my mind. But I finished this book over a week ago, and my memory has already started to fade. I kept a few notes, and I certainly enjoyed the story.
Anyway, here's the review I posted at the time: http://www.shelfari.com/books/31562/Lost/reviews/3311181 .
It's quite a quick read, but it kept me entertained for a weekend.
You keep good notes, I could not have named some of the minor characters without looking them up.