Big Fish
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Big Fish

3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  8,264 ratings  ·  751 reviews
In his prime, Edward Bloom was an extraordinary man. Or at least that's what he told his son. Faced with the prospect of his father's death, William Bloom sets about to discover who the man really is. Daniel Wallace's magical first novel, Big Fish, is told as a series of legends and myths inspired by the few facts that William knows. Through these tall tales-hilarious and...more
Paperback, 180 pages
Published November 1st 1999 by Penguin Books (first published October 1st 1998)
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You all probably remember the fantastically cheesy film Big Fish directed by Tim Burton. For me, it was pure visual and storytelling enjoyment.

But what you may not realize is that BIG FISH the novel towers over the movie. When I first bought a copy of this, just before they began releasing the movie coast-to-coast in 2003, I remember reading the back cover and thinking to myself: “Huh, a book about a man who doesn’t really know who his father is…how mundane.” O, how silly my thoughts were—this...more
K.D. Absolutely
On the day I was born, there was a big typhoon. The water was seeping through the ceiling of the hospital room and there was a dripping pan catching the falling raindrops beside my mama’s bed. I was the youngest in the family and my papa did not bother to wait and see me right after I was born. I guess he was no longer excited to see another mouth to feed in addition to my two older brothers and a sister. Three days after my mama’s caesarian operation, my papa picked us up but the streets were s...more
Nov 13, 2011 Shovelmonkey1 rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who liked the film
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: tom - thanks
Edward Bloom is dying. But he's taking his time about it. Time enough, in fact, to have four run ups to the actual event itself and to recount the varied adventures, myths and fables which have attached themselves to the Bloom name since not long after he was born. For son, William Bloom, having a legend for a father is not easy. Firstly it's a lot to live up to but, there's also the problem that no one knows where the fairy tale that is Edward Bloom's history ends and the reality begins.

Please, read this book. Once in a while, like The Five People You Meet in Heaven, comes a book that is original, full of wonder, Chronicle of Narneish, so full of meaning and beauty that all must buy it, read it, and pass it on. This is perfection. Oh, also see the Tim Burton version of this. As a matter of fact, just see all of Burton's movies. How else to do such a story? Great!
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Susan Tunis
My father is a fish

My best friend is a little obsessive about reading the novel before seeing the film. Not so, me. I’m a bit more laissez faire in these matters. I saw and thoroughly enjoyed Tim Burton’s 2003 adaptation of Big Fish, and didn’t think too much more about it. Fast forward a decade, and I hear that a major, Broadway-bound musical is on the way. Now I know it’s time to return to the source material.

In the past, it has occurred to me that I have an overdeveloped sense of whimsy. I’m...more
Apr 14, 2008 Phyllis rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sue
Recommended to Phyllis by: Dodie
While I was reading this book, I kept wondering if I liked it. It seems the more I read, the better it was, especially
at the end, which made me smile. It wasn't until the end
of the book, that it made sense in it's entirity. I loved
the ending in this book. All the mythology and exaggeration,
made me question the value of the story, at first I only
seemed to attend to the father/son conversations that I felt
were real and poignant. Little by little, I started to appreciate Wallace's use of mythology...more
Julanne Wicks
This book. Was wonderful. I started it yesterday, and probably would have finished it way earlier today if I hadn't had work. It's a very quick read, and left me feeling refreshed and ready for more, sad to see it end but feeling fulfilled.
Dec 07, 2008 Abby marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I think the guy who plays the main character in this movie is attractive, but I forgot his name. If that's not a good reason to read the book, then I don't know what is.
This is a short little book but powerful nonetheless. William Bloom is at the bedside of his dying father, a father who wasn't home much and who seemed to hide his true self through telling jokes and tall tales. William desperately wants to "know" his father, to get past the stories and discover the real person. Instead, up to the end, his father uses humor and evasion to avoid establishing a deeper relationship. The book mainly consists of the amazing and unbelievable stories Edward has created...more
I've been told that each book, if it knows what it's doing, informs you how it should be read; few demonstrate that better than Daniel Wallace's Big Fish, an arguably "unconventional" novel that traffics in allegory as much as it does traditional literary fiction. But this thing is a fucking triumph, by nearly every measure.

Much has been made already of the chapter in which Edward leaves home, and I'll second anyone who refers to that chapter as the book's crowning achievement. Just one passage...more
Honestly this book was mediocre for my tastes. I think my personality ruins it because I tend to read topics about more serious issues and can't get into that mystical / mythical mindset. To read a bunch of short stories / myths was a little ridiculous after a while. The overall message of the book was a good one though, how children view their parents and what they take with them when a parent reaches the end of their journey. The thing the bothered me the most was towards the end of Edward's l...more
بسیار محشر بود. البته فیلمش رو اول دیده بودم، که تیم برتون ساخته تش. و ضمناً جا داره خلاقیت های تیم برتون رو تحسین کنم در این مورد، چون قسمتهایی رو کاملاً از خودش درآورده و چقدر قشنگ هم این کارو کرده! :>
و ضمناً هنر نویسنده رو در خلق شخصیت پدر نیز ستایش می کنم. :]

«پدرم بالای پشت بام است. گاهی اوقات دوست دارم این طور به یادش بیاورم. خوش لباس، با کت و شلواری تیره و کفش هایی برّاق و لیز، به چپ نگاه می کند، به راست نگاه می کند، تا جایی که چشمش کار می کند به دوردست می نگرد. بعد پایین را نگاه می کن...more
Feb 19, 2014 Arghavan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Arghavan by: Armina
Shelves: داریم
ورژنِ تیم برتون ش رو دوست‌تر می‌داشتم. داستانِ زندگیِ ادوارد رو پیوسته‌تر نشون داده‌بود؛ و یه اپیزودِ داستان رو به همون اپیزود محدود نکرده‌بود؛ شخصیت‌ها از بخشِ خودشون سرک می‌کشیدن به بخش‌های دیگه. و خب فانتزی‌تر و کیوت‌تر بود؛ ضمنِ این که من اون رو خیلی وقت پیش دیدم و ضمنِ این که اساساً تیم برتون خداست.
این، یه مقدار فصل‌هاش گسسته‌تر بود. جای بازی‌های عـالیِ فیلم، توصیف‌ها و تشبیه‌های خوب داشت. فضا رو یه مقدار دراماتیک‌تر کرده‌بود جای فانتزیِ تیم‌برتونی. ولی مسلماً درنوعِ خودش خیلی خوب بود این ه...more
I had to read this book for a class. Having already seen the movie a number of times and being quite taken aback by it's refreshing visuals and unique story line I was quite excited to be given the chance to report on this story. And boy was I wrong.

I feel like part of the disappointment I've suffered is partly my fault, because I had to pause my reading of The Virgin Suicides to start this book. Comparing Jeffrey Eugenides to Daniel Wallace is completely unfair (although now that I'm thinking...more
Lori Anderson
****edit... recently watched the movie, something I rarely do, and bawled my eyes out. ****

When I read "Mr Sebastian and the Negro Magician" (check out my review), I knew I needed to read everything Daniel Wallace had written. "Big Fish" is a thin book, which is my only complaint -- I just wanted his stories to go on and on.

While I didn't like this book as well as "Mr Sebastian", I still read it all in one sitting and loved how Wallace spins a story. He has a magical imagination, and an often ly...more
Gail Winfree
I believe that the greatest praise an author can give another author is saying "Wow, I wished I had written that!" This is exactly how I felt reading Daniel Wallace's "Big Fish." I found myself often stopping and rereading passages just for the sheer joy of the words and ideas. This is a story about William Bloom and his father Edward Bloom. It's told from the viewpoint of William discovering who his father is through myths and legends about his father. This book is magical, prose elevated to po...more
Aaron Schroeder
Edward Bloom was a special man. He was basically flawless. He could outrun anything. He saved lives and tamed wild giants. People loved him and animals loved him. He knew a lot of jokes and stories and was the best at telling them. William, his son, heard all the jokes and stories from his father and believed them all. Suddenly, William found his father on his death bed, and he wants to know the truth about his father's ability.

The story was about Edward Bloom, but was told by his son, William B...more

“I wanted to be a great man… Can you believe it? I thought it was my destiny. A big fish in a big pond.”

I have to make a confession, I saw the movie before I read the book... I know I know, but I didn't know there was a book. I remember that I loved the movie, so I would love the book, right? It was even better (OBVIOUSLY) and it makes you think and analyze, if you don't like to do that don't worry, you can enjoy it as a fantastic novel.

We start the book with a dying man, and his son telling us...more
Sam Nikmaram
خوندن این کتاب خالی از لطف نیست. ولی لازم به ذکره که تیم برتون خیلی خفنه و فیلمی که از روی این رمان ساخته، یه سر و گردن از کتاب بالاتره
I loved it!! I read it to my daughter at bed time and my husband now wants to read it.
Fanciful yes but just bewitching too
3.5 stars. This was a fascinating read full of wonder and symbolism. This was also made into a movie, which I think both the book and movie complete each other very well. The movie was directed by Tim Burton who always takes the quirky and eccentric views of life-which I enjoy! Entertaining and mythical.

In Big Fish, Daniel Wallace angles in search of a father and hooks instead a fictional debut as winning as any this year. From his son's standpoint, Edward Bloom leaves much to be desired. He was...more
It seems I'm on a "book-to-movie" kick. There are a few movies that I loved so much that I decided I had to read the book, and Big Fish is wholeheartedly one of them. Honestly, I was a bit surprised that such a big movie came from such a small book...

Mostly the structure is just a series of stories about the life of Edward Bloom - and of course, when I say stories, I really mean legends. William doesn't really know what's "real" about his father; but then again, the whole point is that what's "...more
What a beautiful book. I've loved the movie for years, never knowing it was a book first. The story is about Edward Bloom, as told through his son William's memories, while Edward lays at death's door. Edward's life is part myth, part truth and part lie, but his life in it's entirety is all charm. He was born a big fish in a little pond. His stories are all big fish stories, and William has been dragged like a fish with a hook in it's mouth his entire life, hanging on for the punchline of each o...more
Jennifer Hughes
It is appropriate that I happen to be reviewing this on Father's Day. I recently discovered this movie--what is it, 10 years old?--and watched it two times before finding out it was first a book by first-time author Daniel Wallace.

I promptly ordered it from the local library, but found, not surprisingly, that this is one I'd like to buy to have a copy of my own. At turns fantastical, wise, poignant, and laugh-out-loud ridiculous as a tall tale, "Big Fish" captures the love of a son for his larg...more
My daughter was given an assignment for school - read a book that has been made into a movie, watch the movie, and write a compare and contrast paper. When she showed me the list of books-to-movies she was to choose from, I am embarrassed to admit that my response was, "Big Fish is one of my favorite movies! I recall leaving the theater and turning to your father and saying, "every movie should be this movie". I had no idea it was a book first."

I had no idea.

How unlucky for me!

But now I know.

Lote L.
Man ļoti patīk atzīmēt grāmatās citātus, un bieži sanāk tā, ka nav, ko atzīmēt. Tomēr šī ir viena no tām reizēm, kad nav KĀ atzīmēt. Šī grāmata ir viens nedalāms veselums. Neviens teikums nevar iztikt bez otra teikuma, jo katra doma ir iebūvēta trīs nodaļas atpakaļ, un teikumi, kas man lika smieties un raudāt, vieni paši neizklausās ne pēc kā. Ko jūs teiksiet par šo?

“Oh, go on, then. Just tell me before I die. Tell me what it is I’ve taught you. Tell me everything it is I’ve taught you about lif...more
My Amazon review: Many reviewers, and even the Reader's Guide in Big Fish, speak about its important mythical parallels and insight to father/son relationships. There is no doubt that both of these make Big Fish an incredibly intricate novel.

But Wallace's ability to write in the way we remember is what makes Big Fish a great read. Although we generally follow his tale of William Bloom's father, Edward Bloom, in chronological order, it is not necessarily so. The reader is never quite sure when a...more
Lana Drown
Si antes era fan de Tim Burton, tras haber leído este libro, lo soy aún más. Me cuesta creer que una de mis películas favoritas, Big Fish, haya salido de este libro tan...¿frío? La verdad es que no encuentro la palabra adecuada para definirlo, a ver si consigo explicarlo a medida que escribo este comentario, que más que una reseña del libro en sí será una comparativa entre la obra original y el filme. Eso sí, si no has visto la adaptación cinematográfica y tienes intención de verla, te recomiend...more
Aaron Danke
“Big Fish” by Daniel Wallace is one of the best books that I have ever read. The book revolves around the tales of Edward bloom, who is very sick and near death. Edward’s son William thinks his dad is a liar, and is sick of his stories. Edward’s stories start from when he was born until the end of his life. William has been told about all of his dads tall tales since he was very young, like the time when Edward met a giant and turned him into a farmer. When William tries to talk to his dad he wa...more
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Lit Muse: Big Fish 1 14 Oct 13, 2011 07:24PM  
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Daniel Wallace is author of five novels, including Big Fish (1998), Ray in Reverse (2000), The Watermelon King (2003), Mr. Sebastian and the Negro Magician (2007), and most recently The Kings and Queens of Roam (2013).

He has written one book for children, Elynora, and in 2008 it was published in Italy, with illustrations by Daniela Tordi. O Great Rosenfeld!, the only book both written and illustra...more
More about Daniel Wallace...
Mr. Sebastian and the Negro Magician The Kings and Queens of Roam The Watermelon King Ray in Reverse Star Wars: Essential Guide to Droids (Essential Guides)

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“When a man's stories are remembered, then he is immortal.” 80 likes
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