John Crowley's masterful Little, Big is the epic story of Smoky Barnable, an anonymous young man who travels by foot from the City to a place called Edgewood - not found on any map - to marry Daily Alice Drinkwater, as was prophesied. It is the story of four generations of a singular family, living in a house that is many houses on the magical border of an otherworld. It...more
As you can probably imagine, I've come up rather short on all counts.
How do you talk about a book which seems to either redefine or cause to shrivel all the normal descriptors one attaches to works of fiction?
I mean, strictly speaking, you'd have to call this an epic fa...more
Some people like it, as you can tell by other reviews: the language is often quite clever, it ends on a semi-strong note, and it plays with myth in some interesting ways. These are all good things.
Bad things? Well, the cha...more
"Don't be sad. It's all so much larger than you think."
Smoky Barnable lives in the City and thinks of himself as anonymous. His father is dead and his step-siblings have forgotten him. He has no friends at all until he meets George Mouse who introduces him to his strange family. Smoky falls in love with one of George's cousins, Daily Alice Drinkwater, and he moves upcountry to the Drinkwater estate called Edgewood. At his wedding he meets the Drinkwater fa...more
The jacket copy sounded really intriguing, but I didn't get halfway through it. The biggest problem I had with this book was that I felt tried far too hard to be Airy and Phantasmagorical and Mystically Vague and forgot that a plot was actually necessary. It wanders and doesn't actually get anywhere, the prose was overstuffed, and not a single character actually caught my attention. I was disappointed, beause it was a very interestin...more
So imagine a tangled ball of wool with which you are following a strand as it winds its way in around the other strands, in and out of the tangle until eventually you find the other end of the thread, somewhere not too far from where you started.
The narrative flows a bit like that. It nips back and forwards in time, hops from one character to another, spanning several generations of a sprawling family as we...more
The dreamlike and otherworldly logic that saturates nearly every passage in Little, Big often lulled me into a pleasant hypnagocic stupor. Normally when sleep creeps up on me while reading I end up later having t...more
The most readily evident characteristic of this book is the beautiful, almost musical prose that weaves throughout the telling of this “Tale”. The world created is seductive and at times dreamlike. The characters are so well introduced and sustained that you feel that they are good friends, even as you know their weaknesses.
For these reasons only, this book is worth the effort. But other reasons also abound.
Please, read this bo...more
The only book I can compare it to at the moment is Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, but that's more of a subject matter thing. The writing is very rich and detailed. While I was reading it, I thought it would be the best book I read that year. Whatever...more
After seeing reviews of the book on here, I picked it up with great anticipation. Mag...more
And from then on the world was as it would not otherwise have been.
This is a tender and endless world of a story, a comfort and a wonder.
And i don't feel gooey about this, or wistful about everybody reading it.
It is not so much perfect as simply perfect for you or not at all.
This story is so big and rambling that I won't even try to describe it. But I do have a few observations.
This is a serious adult...more
Whew!! This is my first re- read of this book. and I'd say I have missed a lot on my first read! Which is strange coz I usually pay attention to details, but for some reason something slipped! Tsk tsk!
Anyway, if you have not read this yet, you miss half, no scratch that! You won't really miss anything. Except perhaps that you would not be able to enjoy THAT REALLY GOOD book in the fantasy genre.
The language,the prose, the tensi...more
But I think maybe I just wasn't in the right frame of mind for that type of book when I read it. I find images and ideas from the book coming to me months later - it's obviously made an impression. So it's scheduled for a re-read, and re-evaluation.
I couldn't even get past page five.
I fail as a reader of magical realism.
It's a family saga over the course of a century, set largely in a house and estate in upstate New York called Edgewood. This rambling home is indeed on the edge - it seems to intersect with the land of faery, though there is nothing twee about these fairy-folk. Characters drift uncertainly between one world and the other. Deals are made, enormous yet murky plans move forward.
The prose style is lyrical and others have described it as 'dream-like' - something with which I can agree. At first I had a hard time getting into it, but once I sort of settled into the style I rather enjoyed it as it set up the story of the Bramble-Drinkwaters ('cause, really, even though the cover say it's Smoky's tale it's not, really...more
Then in early 2000, I read the first Harry Potter book and re-discovered magic. The Lord of the Rings movies came in 2002 and I finally read the trilogy, liking it just fine...more
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...more