Out of oz, p.1
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       Out of Oz, p.1

         Part #4 of Wicked Years series by Gregory Maguire
Out of Oz


  Dedication

  for Cassie Jones

  Epigraph

  [He] … had a magical view of the work of words, that “it is hard to conceive of a nobler magic” than the prospect of a salvation which is not just for us.

  —Michael Wood, in The London Review of Books, on Frank Kermode’s appraisal of I. A. Richards from Bury Place Papers

  We believe the explanation we hear last. It’s one of the ways in which narrative influences our perception of truth. We crave finality, an end to interpretation, 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, The Hamilton Case

  Contents

  Cover

  Title Page

  Dedication

  Epigraph

  The Wicked Years: A Note to Readers

  Charting the Wicked Years Chronologically

  Maps: The City of Shiz, Gillikin; The Emerald City

  Significant Families of Oz

  A Brief Outline of the Throne Ministers of Oz

  Prologue: Out of Oz

  I. To Call Winter upon Water

  I

  2

  3

  4

  5

  6

  7

  8

  9

  I0

  II

  I2

  I3

  I4

  I5

  I6

  I7

  I8

  I9

  20

  2I

  22

  II. The Patchwork Conscience of Oz

  I

  2

  3

  4

  5

  6

  7

  8

  9

  I0

  II

  I2

  I3

  I4

  I5

  I6

  I7

  I8

  I9

  20

  2I

  22

  III. The Chancel of the Ladyfish

  I

  2

  3

  4

  5

  6

  7

  8

  9

  I0

  II

  IV. The Judgment of Dorothy

  I

  2

  3

  4

  5

  6

  7

  8

  9

  V. At St. Prowd’s

  I

  2

  3

  4

  5

  6

  7

  8

  9

  I0

  II

  I2

  I3

  I4

  I5

  I6

  I7

  VI. God’s Great-Niece

  I

  2

  3

  4

  5

  6

  7

  8

  9

  I0

  II

  I2

  I3

  I4

  VII. To Call the Lost Forward

  I

  2

  3

  4

  5

  6

  7

  8

  9

  VIII. Somewhere

  I

  2

  3

  Acknowledgments

  Coda

  About the Author

  Also by Gregory Maguire

  Credits

  Copyright

  About the Publisher

  THE WICKED YEARS

  A Note to Readers

  Our story so far:

  Wicked begins with the birth of a green-skinned child, Elphaba Thropp—later known as the Wicked Witch of the West—and portrays her unlikely college friendship with Galinda Upland and her romance with Fiyero Tigelaar. The arriviste Wizard of Oz consolidates his power in the Emerald City and throughout Oz. Under the governance of the Wicked Witch of the East, Nessarose Thropp, Munchkinland secedes from Loyal Oz. The novel closes with the Matter of Dorothy, when Elphaba is thirty-eight and her son, Liir Thropp, is fourteen.

  Son of a Witch tells the story of Liir’s life, revealed in flashbacks, while Elphaba’s brother Shell strengthens his position in the Emerald City, particularly against Munchkinland. Orphaned at fourteen, without guidance or patronage, Liir stumbles into the military, leads a raid against Quadlings, and goes AWOL, eventually heading a protest against his uncle Shell, now the Emperor of Oz. Son of a Witch concludes with the arrival of a child—a green-skinned daughter—born to Liir and Candle, a Quadling. Liir is about twenty-four.

  A Lion Among Men refers to the Cowardly Lion, known as Brrr. His story is told alternately with that of the ancient oracle, Yackle. Brrr muses on his part in the Matter of Dorothy, his rise and fall in society, and his plea-bargaining with Emerald City magistrates to avoid a prison sentence. Hunting for the mysterious oracle Yackle, he locates the lost Grimmerie in the bargain. At novel’s end, a skirmish between rabble-rousing Munchkinlanders and the Emerald City military threatens to ignite into full-scale civil war. Caught in the crosshairs, Brrr escapes with the troupe that accompanies the Clock of the Time Dragon.

  Out of Oz begins a few months after the close of A Lion Among Men.

  Charting the Wicked Years Chronologically

  “Oh, as to time, well, no one in Oz ticks off tocks very systematically.” Each dot or upstroke represents a year … more or less.

  WICKED

  OUT OF OZ

  The story begins six months after the end of A LION AMONG MEN.

  Liir is about 30; Rain is 7 or 8, give or take.

  Maps

  THE CITY OF SHIZ, GILLIKIN

  THE EMERALD CITY

  Significant Families of Oz

  Key

  = marriage (~) romance sans wedlock

  THE HOUSE OF OZMA

  —The Emerald City—

  THE THROPPS OF MUNCHKINLAND

  —Colwen Grounds in Munchkinland—

  THE UPLANDS OF GILLIKIN

  —Frottica in northwest Gillikin—

  THE TIGELAARS, ARJIKI CHIEFTAINS OF THE VINKUS

  —Kiamo Ko on the slopes of Knobblehead Pike, the Great Kells of the Vinkus—

  A Brief Outline of the Throne Ministers of Oz

  Augmented with notes about selected incidents of interest to students of modern history.

  THE OZMA YEARS

  • The matrilineal House of Ozma established.

  The Ozma line descends from a Gillikinese clan. The Ozma line claims legitimacy through a purported divine relationship with Lurlina, fabled creatrix of Oz. Depending on the argument, historians recognize between forty and fifty legitimate Ozmas and their regents.

  • The last Ozma, Ozma Tippetarius, is born of Ozma the Bilious.

  Ozma the Bilious expires through an accident involving rat poisoning in the risotto. Her consort, Pastorius, becomes Ozma Regent during the minority of Ozma Tippetarius.

  • Pastorius rules over central Oz.

  The Ozma Regent renames the hamlet known as Nubbly Meadows, near the ancient burial ground of Open Tombs, as the Emerald City (EC). Declares the EC as the capital of united Oz.

  • The Great Drought begins.

  • By balloon, Oscar Zoroaster Diggs arrives in the Emerald City.

  Diggs successfully mounts a Palace coup d’état. Pastorius is murdered, and the infant Ozma Tippetarius disappears. She is presumed slain, perhaps in Southstairs Prison (built over the Open Tombs), though an evergreen rumor claims she lies enchanted in a cave awaiting her return at Oz’s darkest hour. Diggs becomes known as the Wizard of Oz.

  THE WIZARDIC YEARS

  • The Emerald City renovation is completed.

  • The Wizard of Oz orders construction of the Yellow Brick Road.

  This serves as a highway for the armies of the EC and aids in the collection of local taxes from previously independent populations, especially in Quadling Country and on the eastern flanks of the Great Kells of the Vinkus.

  • Animal Adverse laws enacted. (The “Animal Courtesy” acts.)

  Social unrest deriving from the Great Drought promotes an atmosphere of scapegoating and hysterical patriotism.

  • Munchkinland secedes from Loyal Oz.

  Under the rule of Nessarose Thropp, Eminence of Munchkinland, the secession of the Free State of Munchkinland is conducted with a minimum of bloodshed. The “breadbasket of Oz” maintains an uneasy trade relationship with Loyal Oz.

  • Nessarose Thropp dies.

  The arrival in Oz of a visitor, a Dorothy Gale of Canzizz (sometimes transcribed as “Canzuss” or “Kanziz”), results in the death of the Eminence. Though rumor suggests her sister, Elphaba Thropp, will return to Munchkinland to mount a more aggressive campaign against the EC than Nessarose ever did, such predictions prove baseless.

  • Elphaba Thropp is vanquished.

  The so-called Wicked Witch of the West, one-time agitator, now recluse, is subdued by the powerful Dorothy Gale.

  • The Wizard of Oz abdicates the throne.

  The Wizard has held power for almost forty years. The causes of his departure remain a matter of speculation.

  THE TWIN INTERREGNUMS

  • Lady Glinda Chuffrey, neé Upland, is briefly installed as Throne Minister.

  The Animal Adverse laws are revoked, to little effect; Animals remain skeptical of their chances of being reintegrated into human society in Oz. Many refuse to return to Loyal Oz from Munchkinland, where they have taken refuge.

  • The Scarecrow replaces Glinda as Throne Minister.

  The Scarecrow, a figure of uncertain provenance, is often assumed to have been installed as Throne Minister by Palace apparatchiks sympathetic to Shell Thropp, the youngest of the three Thropp siblings. The Scarecrow proves a weak figurehead—a straw man, figuratively as well as literally—though his elevation allows Shell Thropp to avoid having to challenge the popular Lady Glinda for the leadership. The Scarecrow’s whereabouts following the end of his abbreviated realm are never revealed.

  Some historians hold that the Scarecrow serving as Throne Minister is n
ot the same Scarecrow who befriended Dorothy, though this assertion is based on circumstantial evidence.

  THE EMPEROR APOSTLE

  • Shell Thropp installs himself as Throne Minister of Oz.

  Shell claims rights of ascendancy through an adroit manipulation of Palace power brokers. He styles himself an “Emperor Apostle” by dint of formidable piety and sacred election.

  In retaliation for a sortie into Loyal Oz by a band of Munchkinlander guerrillas, Shell authorizes the invasion of Munchkinland for the purpose of appropriating Restwater, Oz’s biggest lake.

  PROLOGUE

  Out of Oz

  It would take Dorothy Gale and her relatives three days to reach the mountains by train from Kansas, the conductor told them.

  No matter what the schoolteacher had said about Galileo, Copernicus, and those other spoilsports, any cockamamie theory that the world was round remained refuted by the geometrical instrument of a rattling train applied to the spare facts of a prairie. Dorothy watched eagles and hawks careering too high to cast shadows, she watched the returning larks and bluebirds, and she wondered what they knew about the shape of the world, and if they would ever tell her.

  Then the Rockies began to ice up along the spring horizon beyond the shoot-’em-up town of Denver. Uncle Henry had never seen such a sight. He declared himself bewilligered at their height. “They surely do remind me of the Great Kells of Oz,” agreed Dorothy, “though the Kells looked less bossy, somehow.” She tried to ignore the glance Uncle Henry shared with Aunt Em.

  Some of the passes being snowed over, even in early April, the train made slower progress than the timetable had promised. Aunt Em fretted that their hotel room would be given away. Uncle Henry replied with an attempt at savoir faire. “I’ll wire ahead at the next opportunity, Em. Hush yourself and enjoy the nation.”

  What a charade, that they were accustomed to taking fancified holidays. They had little extra money for emergencies, Dorothy knew. They were spending their savings.

  The train chuffed along valleys noisy with rushing waters, inched across trestles as if testing them for purchase. It lollygagged up slopes. One cloudy afternoon it maneuvered through so many switchbacks that the travelers lost all notion of east and west. In her seat, Dorothy hummed a little. Once she thought she saw a castle on a ridge, but it was only a tricky rock formation.

  “But I never before saw a rock that looked like a castle,” said Aunt Em brightly.

  You never saw a castle, thought Dorothy, and tried not to be disappointed.

  They worried their way through Nevada and its brownish springtime and at last came down into Californ-eye-ay through a napland of orchards and vineyards. When the train paused outside Sacramento to take on tinder, Dorothy saw a white peacock strutting along next to the tracks like a general surveying his troops. It paused at her window and fanned out its impossible stitchery. She could have sworn it was a White Peacock and that it would speak. But Toto began to yap out the open window, and the Bird kept its own counsel.

  Finally the train shrugged and chuffed into San Francisco, a city so big and filthy and confounding that Uncle Henry dared to murmur, “This beats your old Emerald City, I’ll warrant.”

  “Henry,” said his wife. “Pursed lips are kind lips.”

  They found their hotel. The clerk was nice enough, a clean young man whose lips weren’t so much pursed as rubied. He forgave their delay but could no longer supply them with a room only one flight up, as they’d been promised. Aunt Em refused to try Mr. Otis’s hydraulic elevator so they had to climb five flights. They carried their own bags to avoid having to tip.

  That night they ate Kaiser rolls they’d bought at the train station. All the next day they stayed in the hotel’s penitentially severe room, as Aunt Em recovered from the taxation to her nerves caused by the swaying of railway cars. She could not tolerate being left alone in a hotel chamber on their first day, not when it felt as if the whole building was rocking and bucking as the train had done.

  Dorothy was eager to go and see what she could see, but they wouldn’t let her walk out alone. “A city is not a prairie,” Aunt Em proclaimed through the damp washcloth laid from forehead to chin. “No place for a compromised girl without a scrap of city wits.”

  The spring air wafting through the open window next morning revived Aunt Em. All these flights up, it smelled of lilacs and hair oil and horse manure and hot sourdough loaves. Encouraged, the flatlanders ventured outdoors. Dorothy carried Toto in a wicker basket, for old times’ sake. They strolled up to the carriage entrance of the famous Palace Hotel and pretended they were waiting for a friend so they could catch a glimpse of sinful excess. What an accomplished offhand manner they showed, sneaking sideways glances through the open doors at the potted ferns, the swags of rust-red velvet drapery, the polished doorknobs. Also the glinting necklaces and earrings and cuff links, and gentlemen’s shirts starched so clean it hurt the eye to look. “Smart enough,” said Aunt Em, “for suchlike who feel the need to preen in public.” She was agog and dismissive at once, thought Dorothy, a considerable achievement for a plain-minded woman.

  “The Palace Hotel is all very well,” said Dorothy at lunch—a frankfurter and a sumptuous orange from a stall near Union Square—“but the Palace of the Emperor in the Emerald City is just as grand—”

  “I shall be ill.” Aunt Em, going pale. “I shall be ill, Dorothy, if after all we have mortgaged on this expedition you insist on seeing San Francisco by comparing it to some imagined otherworld. I shall be quite, quite ill.”

  “I mean nothing by it,” said Dorothy. “Please, I’ll be still. It’s true I’ve never seen anything like most of this.”

  “The world is wonderful enough without your having to invent an alternative,” said Uncle Henry. A tired man by now, not a well man either, and stretched to put things baldly while there was time. “Who is going to take you in marriage, Dorothy, if you’ve already given yourself over to delusions and visions?”

  “Snares of the wicked one.” Aunt Em, spitting an orange seed into the street. “We have been kind, Dorothy, and we have been patient. We have sat silent and we have spoken out. You must put the corrupting nightmare of Oz behind you. Close it behind a door and never speak of it again. Or you will find yourself locked within it. Alone. We aren’t going to live forever, and you must learn to manage in the real world.”

  “I should imagine I’m too young to be thinking of marriage.”

  “You are already sixteen,” snapped her aunt. “I was married at seventeen.”

  Uncle Henry’s eyes glinted merrily and he mouthed across his wife’s head at Dorothy: Too young.

  Dorothy knew they had her best interests at heart. And it was true that since her delivery from Oz six years ago, she had proved a rare creature, a freak of nature. Her uncle and aunt didn’t know what to make of her. When she had appeared on the horizon, crossing the prairie by foot—shoeless but clutching Toto—long enough after Uncle Henry and Aunt Em’s home had been carried away that they’d built themselves a replacement—her return was reckoned a statistical impossibility. Who rides the winds in a twister and lives to tell about it? Though Kansans set store on the notion of revelation, they are skeptical when asked to accept any whole-cloth gospel not measurable by brass tacks they’ve walloped into the dry goods counter themselves. So upon her return, Dorothy had been greeted not as a ghost or an angel, neither blessed by the Lord nor saved by a secret pact she must have made with the Evil One. Just tetched, concluded the good folks of the district. Tetched in the big fat head.

 
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