Margaret Mahy Maddigans Fantasia

ISBN 13: 9780571230150

Maddigans Fantasia

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9780571230150: Maddigans Fantasia

When twelve-year-old Garland Maddigan asks Timon and Eden where they have come from, she is overwhelmed by their answer: the future. In a post-apocalyptic time, Garland's family's traveling circus troop, Maddigan's Fantasia, leaves the city of Solis once a year to perform and earn a living. However, this year Solis has given the Fantasia the crucial task of obtaining a new solar converter, the only power source in Solis, because the old one is failing. Misfortune finds the Fantasia in their travels, and Garland's father dies in an attack by Road Rats. Then suddenly two mysterious boys, Timon and Eden, appear with their baby sister, claiming to be from the future - a world in which the Fantasia has failed in its mission and the evil Nennog has taken power. The boys have come to help the Fantasia, but danger has followed them across time. Can the Fantasia protect Timon and Eden, and succeed in their quest to save their world? Internationally renowned author Margaret Mahy spins a vivid tale of time travel, adventure, and magic that no reader will soon forget.

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About the Author:

Margaret Mahy has lived in New Zealand her entire life.  A former children’s librarian, she decided to become a full-time writer in 1980. From picture books to YA novels, the age groups for which she writes vary as much as the characters in her stories. She won the British Library Association’s Carnegie medal for The Haunting and The Changeover: A Supernatural Romance. She has also written such books as Alchemy and Maddigan’s Fantasia. An author whose books have received many accolades and praise around the world, Mahy was awarded the Order of New Zealand, the highest honor a citizen of that country can receive, and in 2006 she was announced the winner of the International Board on Books for Young People’s Hans Christian Andersen Award, given to a living author whose works have made a lasting contribution to children’s literature.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

-1-

LOSING FERDY

Hello, this is Garland Maddigan writing things down. I don't know why I am writing them down, because when you write it's mostly because you're trying to tell somebody else something, but right now I'm telling myself -- me! -- things I already know. Or maybe I half know them, and writing them down finishes them off in my head so that I know them properly. Written- down things seem true. Weird!

Stretched out among the ferns on the small tangled hillside, her red curls burning among the green leaves and fronds, Garland Maddigan closed the cover of the book she had been writing in, though still holding her writing place in it with one finger. She looked at its battered blue cover admiringly. No doubt about it. A book! A thick book of actual pages...paper pages...empty pages. Closing her eyes, she rippled her thumb across their edges. Once, she knew, the world had been filled with paper, but the Destruction turned most of it to ashes. These days, even though the Destruction and the Chaos that followed it were times of the past, even though the world had been slowly remaking itself for years, paper was not always easy to come by once you moved out of the cities. And inside the cities it was often expensive. Here she was with a whole empty book of it, found in one of those ruined houses, those empty shells twisted in gardens gone wild, lasting on in the tangled forests on either side of the road. She could move her secret thoughts from inside to outside, and then, by closing that blue cover, she could trap them before they flitted away from her. After all, soon she would be thirteen and her childhood (along with all the things that had patched her childhood together) would be fading into the past. Better write the days down before they got away from her altogether. These pages -- these white spaces -- were hers and hers alone. She was going to tell her secret thoughts to that mysterious reader she felt taking shape on the other side of the paper.

Down at the bottom of the hill a little plain, slightly scooped like a begging hand, reached out of a small forest of old trees stretching bare branches toward the next hill. (After all, though the sun was shining so warmly, it was winter.) And there, on the edge of scrubby bush that fringed the true forest (trees that never lost their leaves), Garland's moving home, the Fantasia, was laid out like a strange garden set within a crescent. Its tents, old and sometimes patched, had the look of gallant, colored flags. There was her home -- half bus, half caravan, a crested tower pointing upward from its roof, rather as if a little castle were struggling to hatch itself out of the old van. The Fantasia dressed not only its clowns and acrobats in astonishing clothes, but turned the vehicles that carried it along the leftover tracks of the wild world into a bright and shifting village on wheels. There was the food wagon, hung with pots and pans. Bailey, the map reader, was carefully wiping dust out of them. He turned as Maddie, Garland's mother, walked by, and shook his duster at her. It promptly turned into a bunch of flowers, which he held out to Maddie. It was a trick they were both used to, but she laughed and Bailey laughed with her. The wind crept in under the canvas of the tents so that the canvas rose and fell, and the whole Fantasia looked as if it were laughing along with them. Below there, in that strange garden, people were working hard: checking the horses, practicing their routines, packing and repacking, fixing the frills round the necks of the dogs, then clapping their hands for them to leap through their hoops, dance on their hind legs, or spin like barking tops.

Vans and wagons were parked in a wide semicircle. Garland now saw her mother join her father, Ferdy the ringmaster, bright in his scarlet coat -- not the one he wore for performances, but an old one he put on when the wind was cold. The Fantasia was slow to throw anything away. She watched her parents, walking side by side and holding hands as they checked coils of rope or bent side by side over solid, impassive boxes, watched them pat the panting tents and laugh to each other. Yves, her father's second in command, walked a step or two behind them, and Boomer, that irritating boy (a sort of adopted cousin-brother), zoomed around on his small motorized bike, the treasure of his life, trying to look as if he, too, was one of the people in charge. But Boomer loved machines, and perhaps machines liked Boomer. They certainly seemed to do what he told them to do. But perhaps Boomer needed to feel he was in charge of something. He was a Fantasia orphan, half adopted by old Goneril the Fantasia witch, who complained about him but who made sure he had plenty to eat, and who stuck up for him when anything went wrong. And there was Goneril herself, standing outside her van, which was painted with magic symbols, probably grumbling (for grumbling was her hobby). Even when the weather was fine and things were going well, Goneril always found something to grumble about. Looking down on them all, it suddenly seemed to Garland that she was watching two families...her own parents, of course, but also that other wider family -- the Fantasia itself, that family of tumblers and grumblers related to her by wonders and work, travel and trickery... Maddigan's Fantasia. There they were, all of them -- Tane, the chief clown and a lively acrobat, Penrod, who looked after the horses and flipped on the trapeze. There were Byrna and Nye, the stilt walkers, there was old Goneril of course, and dreamy Bannister with one book tucked under his arm (even though he was strapping up a bundle of something), and another in his back pocket. Books, books, always books with Bannister. And there, of course, was Ferdy -- descended directly from the first Maddigan, Gabrielle -- walking with her mother, Maddie, who was not only a mother but an acrobat, and a knife thrower as well (though her knives had blades like stars or new moons). There they were, all those special people, laid out like pieces in a bright game...and beyond them, all around them, the damaged land that held still while you looked at it, but that seemed to spin and shift and tangle, turning tricks of its own once you looked away.

Garland flipped her book open again and began her writing. Funny that scribbling things down like this should be making her feel so altered...so powerful. The short stub of pencil, hard to hold but carefully sharpened, left its silver track across the page.

Okay...perhaps there is someone on the other side of the page who is reading what I am writing. Hey you! Hello there! Who are you? I suppose you'll have to read all this in a backward way, like Alice in that Looking- Glass story that my mother read to me. I'll start off telling you who I am. I am Garland Maddigan...a true-born Maddigan...part of Maddigan's Fantasia ...the greatest circus in the world. We travel most of the year from place to place, joking, dancing, doing a thousand tricks. We cross the nowhere -- the hundreds of nowheres -- that lie between the camps and communities and towns and leftover cities of the world. I am twelve, well, almost thirteen, and I have red hair, a true Maddigan color. I can do a bit of magic, but my true power is walking the tightrope. I can even turn flips on it, and that's a true Maddigan power -- the power to do tricks, I mean. We're a trickster family.

Garland paused, then began writing again.

I don't know if the world counts as the world anymore, not since the poisonings and then the wars of the Destruction, which all took place ages ago...back before the days of Gabrielle Maddigan, who counts as our first Maddigan in a way, though there must have been Maddigans before her. I know that once upon a time there used to be a great world made up of different lands with oceans between them. I know that people sailed across the oceans and even flew through the air. But then the world growled like a mad dog and tore itself to pieces (which was what we call the Destruction). And then for a while there were the plagues and a sort of dissolving of everything (which was what we call the Chaos), and for another while after that there was almost nothing...well, there must have been something, but nothing that was written down or saved. It was like that for years and years. And then, just before our own time, the Remaking began, when things began to come together again.

Anyhow, we are the leftover people going between the leftover places...place to place...place to place...on and on and on...and as we go, everything alters. Old paths twist and swallow themselves. Some roads stay put, but others just seem to disappear. Lucky us! We have our maps, even though they are falling to bits, and we have Bailey, our map reader. He's very clever. It almost seems he can read words that have fallen off the paper and read the minds of roads and tracks, too, so when they strangle themselves and vanish (as they often do), Bailey knows exactly where they'll pop up again. And we all have the names of the towns in our heads. After a while I think our heads actually turn into maps, and when the roads do reappear, I think it is because the Fantasia has dreamed them back into being real.

I love being part of the Fantasia, but sometimes I love spending time on my own -- like now -- when I'm working things out and asking myself questions. Like will I ever grow up properly? Will there be room out there for a grown-up me? Will I ever get married? Of course I'll never leave the Fantasia, but there's no one in the Fantasia I could marry. Well, there is Boomer, of course. But I could never fall in love with Boomer -- he's only a kid, and anyway he'd only love me if I was a clockwork girl with wheels instead of feet. There's Bannister, maybe, but he's way older than I am, and anyhow he's already in love. In love with books and people in stories, so...

"Garland!" someone shouted urgently. She knew her father's voice. Garland looked up shar...

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