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Big Fish

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  10,354 ratings  ·  972 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 1998)
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Nancy Lewis If you are a big fish it means you are important or influential in some way - at work, or in your community.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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TK421
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
Jeffrey
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!
Shovelmonkey1
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.

Edward
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Amanda
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Abby
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.
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
Phyllis
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.
Shoa Khan
This is the story of Edward Bloom, who is dying, narrated by his son, who in turn takes the tale to mythic proportions (as suggested by the subtitle).
This is quite a short read seeped in wonder, legend and magic realism.
Desislava
I've seen the movie adaptation before and liked it. Since movies are rarely as good as the books they are based on, I had high hopes for the book. After reading it, I was left a little disappointed. I would reccomend the movie over the book to be honest. Tim Burton did what Daniel Wallace should have done. He elaborated and developed so much of what was missing from the book.
Sunshine Manuli
Not only is "big Fish" a simple story about life and death , but also it is a story about the relationship between a son and a father. Every single human being has stories to be told which in fact belong to us as a part of our life , but everyone of Edward's stories told by his son William forms a "novel of mythic proportions" as the title suggests. Persuading giants, helping people, taming wild dogs and other heroic acts, William thinks that he does not really know who his father is, just only ...more
Arghavan
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 هم. هرچند که با تقر
...more
Yaki Amaya bustos
"Big Fish" is a great literary piece. Although at the beggining of the reading I found it very difficult to follow, finally I could catch the meaning or the style of it. I think it was great not only because of the story itself (which is similar to my current relation with my father) but for the manner in which it was told. I really loved the ordinary symbols and elements that Daniel Wallace choose in order to exemplify or demonstrate difficult subjects to deal with, such as ambition or persevar ...more
Hana
Feb 15, 2015 Hana marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Hana by: Mike Sullivan
Shelves: family-saga
True story. My grandfather was an incurable joker. Also an incurable smoker. He always joked to his doctors that "It's not the cough that carries you off, it's the coffin they carry you off in!"

The day after he died in the early 1960s the whole family was sitting in the living room remembering him when the telephone rang. My uncle answered and came back laughing but with the tears streaming down his face.

"What? What is it?"

"They asked for Joe. I...I said he wasn't available. They said to tell h
...more
Kim
The movie that was based on this book is one of my favourites so it was with some trepidation that I finally picked this up. Would it hold up? Would I be disappointed? Well it turns out I was a bit of both and more.

Firstly there is no real structure to this book. It has a lose frame for various stories and moments of the narrator and his fathers' lives. The movie is more linear but that's to be expected. A movie that plays out the same way as the book just wouldn't work. I also feel the movie g
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Bonnie
‘[...] I thought of him suddenly, and simply, as a boy, a child, a youth, with his whole life ahead of him, much as mine was ahead of me. I’d never done that before. And these images — the now and then of my father — converged, and at that moment he turned into a weird creature, wild, concurrently young and old, dying and newborn.
My father became a myth.’


Edward Bloom is an enigma of a man that has always told only the most elaborate yet unbelievable tales of his life. He is a traveling busines
...more
Kandice
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
Jeanne
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
Derek
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
Robin
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
Alayne
3.5/5

Es una lectura muy ágil y entretenida, pero de todas formas, no llega del todo; no sé si se entiende.
Por temas del colegio, ganas y demás cosas, estuve varios días hojeando el libro y leyendo partes e historias cada tanto, a veces dejando días sin leer nada; pero no me preocupó tanto, porque cumplió la función que yo quise darle; distraerme de mis cosas y divertirme, sacándome una sonrisa si fuera posible.

Es una historia muy linda y tiene unos pasajes hermosos, además de una prosa bastante
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Mercedes
Si ignoramos el punto machista de esta novela ( algo que me ha costado), nos queda una historia llena de imaginación y preciosamente contada que te toca la fibra sensible.
Aunque es uno de los pocos casos en que prefiero la película...
Maria
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
ke-sha
So I remember watching the trailer for this movie over and over again and finally watching the movie and LOVING It. It was epic in my eyes. So of course I've always wanted to read the book and when I finally had a copy in my hands I knew it was either going to be Awesome or just the biggest let down.

Now while there are visible changes from Book To Movie. They where good changes and I love the movie all the more for it and I love the Book as well. Together and yet in some small ways separate but
...more
Nicole
I don't believe the book should be compared to the movie. While it is the same story in essence there are some major differences between the two, though I do not believe it hinders one or the other. In fact I think the differences help. The things that occur in the movie work for the movie. Their absence in the book doesn't effect..affect...(I always get those two confused) the book at all. I think they work well together because the story of Edward Bloom is one of many stories, many versions, u ...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
Sanja_Sanjalica
4.5
Interesting, sweet, well written. I first saw the movie and didn't get it at all, maybe I was too young. So I didn't expect too much of the book, but it really surprised me.
Lauren
I've seen the movie this book inspired and I really like it, though I haven't watched it in years. After finishing this review I really must go check it out again. I was surprised at what a faithful adaptation it actually was, if not always to the events then to the mood and feel of the book. I don't want to have to keep comparing the two since they're their own beasts, but the problems I had with Big Fish the book were noticeably absent from the movie.
For one, the movie does a much better job
...more
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15393
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
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More about Daniel Wallace...
Mr. Sebastian and the Negro Magician The Kings and Queens of Roam The Watermelon King Ray in Reverse The Joker: A Visual History of the Clown Prince of Crime

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“When a man's stories are remembered, then he is immortal.” 96 likes
“Dreams are what keep a man going.” 44 likes
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