49th Shelf Most Anticipated Spring 2015 Fiction Selection
It’s been 150 years since Alice first entered Wonderland in Lewis Carroll’s beloved classic book. My, how times have changed! Now, from the multi-award-winning poet and scholar Steve McCaffery comes Alice in Plunderland, a reimagining of Lewis Carroll’s Alice books that will forever change the way readers negotiate Wonderland and its menagerie of characters.
Written as part of a larger project called Chiasmus, in which McCaffery will “queer the classics” Plunderland’s Alice and all her cohorts become infused with characteristics related to the notion of “plunder”—theft, drug addiction, looting, and civil disorder. Instilled with humour, intelligence, and more than a little bit of absurdity, this retelling of Alice’s adventures takes place somewhere other than expected. In the rough-and-tumble world of Plunderland, where theft, drugs, and gangs hold sway, and nary a tea party is to be found, the Cheshire Cat is a junkie from the UK; the King and Queen reign over the land of Cocaine; even Alice’s adventures are transformed in her quest for a fix.
Clelia Scala’s translated collages beautifully annotate McCaffery’s renewed vision of Wonderland. Just as McCaffery has plundered Carroll’s original text, Scala uses John Tenniel’s original and iconic artwork to create a new look for the world of Alice’s Plunderland.
As the result of McCaffery’s theory of “palindromic time” by which the past is contemporized and the present is historicized, fans of McCaffery’s work will find plenty of poetic marvel to sink their teeth into. In this, his first foray into prose-parody, McCaffery’s innovative poetics (in tandem with Scala’s provoking images) transform this classic story. Alice in Plunderland is sure to break open an exciting new initiative for fans of experimental writing and linguistics in the years to come.
Read an exclusive excerpt from Alice in Plunderland in the winter 2015 issue of Eleven Eleven Literary Journal