Alice. Book Review

ALICE by Christina Henry
Titan Books, p/b, 198pp, £7.99
Reviewed by Matthew Johns

“Alice – who the **** is Alice?” I hear you cry. Everyone knows Alice – the little girl who fell down a rabbit hole and had a magical adventure in Wonderland.

This tells a different story of Alice – found wandering the streets after going missing for two weeks, with her face flayed open, and unable to say anything other than “The Rabbit”. Confined to a mental institution, with very rare visits from her parents, her only companion is the voice of the inmate in the cell next to her – Hatcher. Named thusly as he killed a lot of people with an axe. When the hospital catches fire, they make their escape and find themselves running from the Jabberwock, trying to fill the gaps of Alice’s missing two weeks. Along their way, they encounter many familiarly-named characters – Cheshire, The Rabbit, The Caterpillar, The Walrus, but none are as Lewis Carroll described them; instead murderous, depraved, gangland-type bosses who trade in information and people.

This is a brutal and violent retelling of what happened to the girl who fell down the rabbit hole – not for children, this is a cracking read in a strange, yet familiar-feeling world. Not comparable to the recent big screen versions, Christina Henry has created a new paradigm for Alice for a new generation.