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Novelties & Souvenirs: Collected Short Fiction
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Novelties & Souvenirs: Collected Short Fiction

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  188 ratings  ·  18 reviews

A master literary stylist, John Crowley has carried readers to diverse and remarkable places in his award-winning, critically acclaimed novels -- from his classic fable, Little, Big, to his New York Times Notable Book, The Translator. Now, for the first time, all of his short fiction has been collected in one volume, demonstrating the scope, the vision, and the wonder of o

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Kindle Edition, 356 pages
Published (first published 1989)
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Kevin
As the subtitle implies, Novelties & Souvenirs collects most of John Crowley's short stories/novellas up to around 2002. This collection is a third in the line of Crowley collections which had its beginning in Novelty: Four Stories by John Crowley. Does not seem like a lot, but those four stories take up a huge chunk of the collection and will no doubt also be the ones most people remember. Particularly a dozy of a novella called "Great Work of Time". But more on that later.

As can be expecte
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Bonnie Stufflebeam
Originally posted on Short Story Review:

I’ll admit I have yet to read John Crowley’s masterpiece Little, Big. It’s on my list, certainly, but I always prefer reading a writer’s short stories before delving into their novels. Novelties & Souvenirs therefore served as my introduction to Crowley, and I was in no way disappointed.

There are fifteen stories in this collection written over twenty-five years – one, “Great Work of Time,” is a novella – and the stories are presented in the order they
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Aaron Jansen
Solid collection. The writing, though occasionally concept-heavy and overly abstract (the boring "In Blue" being the worst offender), is generally of very high quality, and the themes are diverse and thoughtfully explored. I hate to make an arbitrary comparison to The Best of Gene Wolfe, but since they're both collections of SF short stories and I read them concurrently, yep, it's gonna happen. This one maybe doesn't quite reach the heights of Gene Wolfe's very best stories, but overall it's muc ...more
Jacob
I’ve been meaning to read Little, Big for a long time, but I found this collection and thought I’d give it a try. Often, I like to read an author’s short fiction first--not to say that short fiction is inferior to long fiction, or that it’s “practice”--but because short fiction generally seems to offer nice, small, bite-sized samples of an author’s work. And there is a wide variety of subjects here: creation myths, faerie tales, sci-fi, time travel, stories within stories. Very beautiful, fluid, ...more
Justin Covey
John Crowley is a master. While the first set of stories in this collection display more style than substance, though that style is of such a high caliber it's by no means a criticism, the latter are truly remarkable. A Great Work of Time is easily one of the greatest time travel stories I've yet come across and In Blue, a fiercely enigmatic tale of heartache and dystopia, is a wonder.
Scott Golden
There is a variance in quality between some of the stories here -- some of them are quite plain, or 'basic'; however, all of his best short fiction is here as well, and his best is something quite special indeed. 'Literary fantasy' in the best possible (least pretentious) sense of the term. Highly recommended.
Sarah
This is a beautifully written collection, but it did little for me. The first four stories held my attention, and "The Nightengale Sings At Night" was poignant and elegant. Crowley's writing style has a nineteenth century reserve about it, which works well in the context of most of the stories, but leaves me uninvolved in what I'm reading. Other than the handful of stories I enjoyed, I found most of the characters unlikeable or uninteresting, and as such, ended up skimming stories that really on ...more
elka
Oct 19, 2009 elka is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Usually I can flutter through a book of short stories, but Crowley's prose is somewhat inaccessible or unreliable, meaning I will get drawn into the tone of one story and the next will leave me dry. There are some great shorts, though. I especially liked "Antiguities" and "Great Work of Time". I have this book stashed in my cupboard downstairs, in case I ever need a book to read while I'm in the kitchen and have forgotten the book(s) I'm currently lugging around actively from room to room. Crowl ...more
Shaun
This book is on the short list of books I've liked enough to read twice in the span of the years. A collection of short stories that tells a tale of a British organization using time travel to preserve the British Empire. The historical edits made to preserve the British Empire turn out to be at the expense of the integrity of time and space. Given the handling of time travel in these stories, it wouldn't surprise me if the writer of Twelve Monkeys was familiar with the stories collected here. I ...more
Jamie R
I tried for three years to read this book. I kept picking it up and forcing myself to read some of it, until finally letting myself abandon it.

I adore John Crowley; His Little, Big is one of my all-time favourites. I'm not really sure where he went wrong with this collection - some of the ideas in the stories are brilliant, and will stay with me forever, but it was just painful and boring to read.
Keith Edwards
A rather uneven collection of short stories, the bulk are there for filler to what is the main course, "The Great Work of Time" a novella so full of vigor and ideas it outclasses many novels on the same subject, namely, the delicate nature of time in relation to human memory and intentions. I wish his publishers would reissue this one story in a delux hardback all by itself.
Austen to Zafón
I like this author and I enjoyed many of the stories, although I found some of the extremely complicated time-travel ideas a little tiresome. And there was one story toward the end that I just couldn't finish, it bored me so. But I would still check out his other books, especially "Little, Big." He's talented, but he does sometimes bite off more than he (or I) can chew.
Amanda
This collection of short stories was hit or miss, mainly miss. Three of the stories, "Snow," "The Nightingale Sings at Night," and "Novelty," are amazing. They are written well, the narrator is believable, and the plots are very unique. The other 12 stories are confusing and pretty boring.
Lera
Short stories in styles ranging from fairy story through to fairly hard core sci fi, mostly fantastical in one way or another. One was a little challenging to read - too complicated for giving the baby a midnight feed. I'd happily read this again in a couple of years.
Ralph
Reminded me of Christopher Priest. In a good way.

That's all I got. It's late.
Steve
John Crowley writes some of the most beautiful fiction in the English language.
Sarah
Very, very good at his craft.
Jake
Fine bunch of tales.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

John Crowley was born in Presque Isle, Maine, in 1942; his father was then an officer in the US Army Air Corps. He grew up in Vermont, northeastern Kentucky and (for the longest stretch) Indiana, where he went to high school and college. He moved to New York City after colle
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More about John Crowley...
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“Novelty and Security: the security of novelty, the novelty of security. Always the full thing, the whole subject, the true subject, stood just behind the one you found yourself contemplating. The trick, but it wasn't a trick, was to take up at once the thing you saw and the reason you saw it as well; to always bite off more than you could chew, and then chew it. If it were self-indulgence for him to cut and polish his semiprecious memories, and yet seem like danger, like a struggle he was unfit for, then self-indulgence was a potent force, he must examine it, he must reckon with it.” 1 likes
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