The Next Queen of Heaven by Gregory Maguire

The Next Queen of Heaven by Gregory Maguire: While I was reading this, I was really enjoying it, but now that I look back, I can’t quite figure out what it was trying to do. There’s a lot of humor and a fair bit of tragedy, but not a whole lot of story. A woman goes mad when she gets clonked on the head by a statue of the Virgin Mary. A trio of gay men befriend a gaggle of elderly nuns. A teenage girl is self-righteously angry but also rather hilariously dumb. A man with HIV gets ill. People mistreat each other. A man is hopelessly obsessed with his married ex. But when the story ends, nothing’s really all that different from when we started. I guess you can assume that everybody gets over their issues and and turns over a new leaf, but who can tell?

On the bright side, Maguire doesn’t trot out the thesaurus quite so often as he does in his fairy tale retellings (Wicked, et al), which made for a less frustrating read. All in all, it’s not bad for a free book, but not something I’d want to read again. I like books that tell a story, and I felt like one wasn’t really told here. I can deal with the open-endedness, but I finished this feeling more like the plot was simply set up and then left as an exercise for the reader.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

  1. I couldn’t make it past McGuire’s Wicked. In fact, I didn’t even make it through that book so I opted out of the CFP free book by McGuire. I still think it was, oh, so nice that he published his book there. I’m looking forward to seeing what CFP will be offering next. Who gets your donation?

    • My donation went to the American Cancer Society, specifically their Making Strides Against Breast Cancer program. I wasn’t that impressed with Maguire’s fairy tale retellings, but since this was modern-day fiction I decided to give it a chance. ResQgeek loved it, so maybe I just wasn’t its intended audience.

  2. Followed your link through Semicolon….

    I hadn’t heard of this book by McGuire and it was interesting to hear about. Can’t say it’s my type, but it’s nice to know about. Thanks for sharing about it!

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