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Hiddensee by Gregory Maguire

Hiddensee (original 2017; edition 2017)

by Gregory Maguire

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3191554,032 (3.23)13
"Gregory Maguire returns with an inventive novel inspired by a timeless holiday legend, intertwining the story of the famous Nutcracker with the life of the mysterious toy maker named Drosselmeier who carves him."--Amazon.com.Hiddensee: An island of white sandy beaches, salt marshes, steep cliffs, and pine forests north of Berlin in the Baltic Sea. Godfather Drosselmeier, a one-eyed toy maker, presents a Nutcracker to Klara, his goddaughter. Klara is a young girl in distress on a dark winter evening... and everyone, however lonely or marginalized, has something precious to share."Having brought his legions of devoted readers to Oz in Wicked and to Wonderland in After Alice, Maguire now takes us to the realms of the Brothers Grimm and E. T. A. Hoffmann--the enchanted Black Forest of Bavaria and the salons of Munich. Hiddensee imagines the backstory of the Nutcracker, revealing how this entrancing creature came to be carved and how he guided an ailing girl named Klara through a dreamy paradise on a Christmas Eve. At the heart of Hoffmann's mysterious tale hovers Godfather Drosselmeier--the ominous, canny, one-eyed toy maker made immortal by Petipa and Tchaikovsky's fairy tale ballet--who presents the once and future Nutcracker to Klara, his goddaughter. But Hiddensee is not just a retelling of a classic story. Maguire discovers in the flowering of German Romanticism ties to Hellenic mystery-cults--a fascination with death and the afterlife--and ponders a profound question: How can a person who is abused by life, shortchanged and challenged, nevertheless access secrets that benefit the disadvantaged and powerless? Ultimately, Hiddensee offers a message of hope. If the compromised Godfather Drosselmeier can bring an enchanted Nutcracker to a young girl in distress on a dark winter evening, perhaps everyone, however lonely or marginalized, has something precious to share."--Jacket.… (more)
Authors:Gregory Maguire
Collections:ebooks, Working on
Tags:Fic, SF, ~ER, !Po, __make_cover, _import180915

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Hiddensee: A Tale of the Once and Future Nutcracker by Gregory Maguire (2017)



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Our protagonist does what a lot of Maguire protagonists do, they walk through life and occasionally react to events. Maguire has a shtick, which is fine. I love a good reinvention of a story, but I noticed as the sequels to 'Wicked' went on the gas ran out of them until 'Out of Oz' managed to patch everything up. 'Hiddensee' never gathers enough energy to have a spark.

This story is about the backstory of Drosselmayer, the eye-patched godfather who gives Clara the nutcracker at the beginning of the story. The novel begins near the end of the Napoleonic wars, but young Dirk is raised in isolation by a woodcutter and his wife until an incident propels him into the wider world. The wider world propels him to go from place to place until the book ends.

Very little happens in the novel. Its not unusual that Dirk keeps many thoughts to himself - in fact some of the most fantastical elements of the story he completely forgets about for years - but the introverted child/young man doesn't often include the reader either, which is unusual. Instead we have narration of events happening, time passing, and just about when the story starts to get going, our guy has a purpose, we're winding up for the finish. Was there a solution? Who can say?

I missed something. I know I did. If I didn't miss something, some important psychological depth or metaphor or whatever, then there is nothing here. I finished it, which is something. The story is inoffensive. 'Hiddensee' works history and myth and the Nutcracker story together to little purpose. ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 18, 2019 |
This one was nearly a DNF, but I soldiered on and the last quarter redeemed the story, boosting it from a one star to a two. Like the last Maguire book I read (After Alice) I found this one essentially dull. It started with a lot of potential and ended well, but the vast 60-70% in the middle stretched endlessly. Maguire has a lot of devoted fans. He writes dense, challenging literary fiction. I like to read for entertainment and knowledge. I've come to the conclusion, he is not the writer for me. ( )
  MarysGirl | Feb 14, 2019 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Unable to review. I never received my LibraryThing Early Reviewers copy.
  bonniemarjorie | Jan 22, 2019 |
Este libro es un pequeño tesoro. Escondido tras la fachada de 'origen del cuento del cascanueces' Maguire nos habla de la historia de Dirk y traza un relato complejo sobre la pérdida de la infancia y la búsqueda de la propia identidad.

Reseña completa: https://cafedetinta.com/2018/09/05/hiddensee-de-gregory-maguire/ ( )
  Carla_Plumed | Dec 3, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Another interesting take on a classic story by Gregory Maguire. I enjoyed the story but was not wowed. There were a lot of slow points and character motivation didn't always show through. I never really connected with any of the characters. Most of the story has absolutely nothing to do with anything from the nutcracker tale. It isn't until a good ways into the book that the Nutcracker even appears and then in isn't really significant until the end. All in all, it was a decent read once but I don't need to ever read it again.

As with his other works, the book is a darker take on the story and there are a few scenes that are not appropriate for younger audiences. ( )
  missmimsy | Aug 20, 2018 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gregory Maguireprimary authorall editionscalculated
McKowen, ScottCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I will remind the reader that the perplexities into which the poor old gods fell at the time of the final triumph of Christendom...offer striking analogies to former sorrowful events in their god-lives; for they found themselves...compelled to flee ignominiously and conceal themselves under various disguises on earth...several, whose shrines had been confiscated, became wood-choppers and day-laborers in Germany.
--Heinrich Heine, "Gods in Exile"
For some reason, we know not what, his childhood...lodged in him whole and entire. He could not disperse it. And therefore, as he grew older, this impediment at the center of his being, this hard block of pure childhood, starved the mature man of nourishment...But since childhood remained in him entire, he could do what no one else has ever been able to do - he could return to that world; he could recreate it, so that we too become children again.
--Virginia Woolf, "Lewis Carroll," in The Moment and Other Essays
Most of the ancient groves are gone, sacred to Kuan Yin
And Artemis, sacred to the gods and goddesses
In every picture book the child is apt to read.
--Robert Hass, "State of the Planet"
do you know what it's like to live
someplace that loves you back?
--Danez Smith, "summer, somewhere"
For Barbara Harrison
In honor of her love for Greece, our homeland
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Once there was a boy who lived in a cabin in the deep woods with no one for company but an old woman and an old man.
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