“We crave finality… not seeing that this, too, the tying up of all loose ends in the last chapter, is only a storytelling ruse. The device runs contrary to experience, wouldn’t you say? Time never simplifies – it unravels and complicates. Guilty parties show up everywhere. The plot does nothing but thicken.” – Michelle de Kretser
With this quote, Gregory Maguire introduces his final book in the Wicked Years series: “Out of Oz.” I was struck by the truth of it, and, after finishing the novel, even more so by how appropriate it is to introduce “Out of Oz.” In the final book of the series, Maguire employs his usual snarl of plot-weaving up to the very last page, leaving his story, and Oz, continuing past the written page and into forever. While I applaud Gregory Maguire for fore-going traditional tying-up-of-loose-ends for a more realistic storytelling style, as a reader, there was so much I was left wondering!
I loved Rain’s (Liir’s daughter’s) long, twisting road to becoming who she truly is, her uncertainty with her parents, and her tangled budding romance with Osma. But all those questions I had left at the end! Would Liir ever do magic again? Would Dorthey ever make it home to America a second time, and find love and companionship there? What really happened to Elphaba? Is she dead or alive? Is Rain her second coming? And who was Mother Yackle, really? Or the sorceress who both cared for and enslaved Osma? Would Rain and Osma be able to make their relationship work, now that Osma has become a girl again?
At the end of the novel, Maguire leaves young Rain, green as grass now, hanging over the ocean on Elphaba broom, staring steadily at the edge of the world, prompting the biggest question of all. Will she even make it back home alive? Or, as is suggested by the title and by imagery throughout the book, will she leave Oz forever to explore other worlds?