Egg and Spoon by Gregory Maguire, best known for Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (Wicked Years) and Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister: A Novel, was released this week. This one is marketed to a Young Adult audience, so it may be more palatable to those of you who find his adult books a little rough going. How many people have been shocked at the differences between the musical and the novel? More than a few. If the book promoted the musical instead of vice versa, I wonder what would have happened with those box office receipts! They are not the same beast! One is much more for mainstream tastes than the other.... Sort of like if Disney had a hold of it...
I mentioned last week that there's a current trend for books inspired by Prince Charming. Well, the other current trend, even larger, is certainly for Baga Yaga books. She and her chicken legged house seem to be everywhere these days and she is more elusive to detect since few of the titles or even book descriptions mention her in great detail. But she's there. Lurking. Menacing. Or becoming a modern heroine herself.
If you want to know more about Baba Yaga--and why shouldn't you!--be sure to check out Baba Yaga: The Wild Witch of the East in Russian Fairy Tales by Sibelan Forrester. Awesome book! Highly, highly recommended. Much better than the average coffee table style book.
Elena Rudina lives in the impoverished Russian countryside. Her father has been dead for years. One of her brothers has been conscripted into the Tsar’s army, the other taken as a servant in the house of the local landowner. Her mother is dying, slowly, in their tiny cabin. And there is no food. But then a train arrives in the village, a train carrying untold wealth, a cornucopia of food, and a noble family destined to visit the Tsar in Saint Petersburg — a family that includes Ekaterina, a girl of Elena’s age. When the two girls’ lives collide, an adventure is set in motion, an escapade that includes mistaken identity, a monk locked in a tower, a prince traveling incognito, and — in a starring role only Gregory Maguire could have conjured — Baba Yaga, witch of Russian folklore, in her ambulatory house perched on chicken legs.