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Little Nothing

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  1,367 ratings  ·  337 reviews
A stunning, provocative new novel from New York Times bestselling author Marisa Silver, Little Nothing is the story of Pavla, a child scorned for her physical deformity, whose passion and salvation lie in her otherworldly ability to transform herself and the world around her.

In an unnamed country at the beginning of the last century, a child called Pavla is born to peasant
Hardcover, 337 pages
Published September 13th 2016 by Blue Rider Press
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Average rating 3.48  · 
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 ·  1,367 ratings  ·  337 reviews

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Amalia Gavea
‘’Love!’’, the woman exclaims. ‘’All anyone wants to know about is love! My God! Is there nothing more important on earth than that? Why don’t you ask the necessary questions: Will I have food in my belly? Will I have all my teeth? Will I be able to urinate without pain? But no, it’s always love! It’s pathetic.’’

In a country that resembles Poland during the beginning of the last century, an elderly woman gives birth to a girl. What should have been a blessing turns into an ordeal. Isolated p
Mar 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, loved-it, arc, fiction
Cruel and wonderful and vivid and original and beautifully imagined and I absolutely adored it.

This is one of those books where I am not sure if I can adequately put into words why I enjoyed it so much, so please bear with me while I try. I went into this book nearly blind and I think this was the best way. You cannot say what this book is about because telling it would spoil some of its magic, so here is my decription in the most vague way possible:
It is about a girl who is a bit different and
Carole (Carole's Random Life in Books)
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life.

What a delightful story this book turned out to be! I am really not sure what made me request this book when I saw it offered on First to Read. The cover is okay but nothing amazing. I have never read any other books written by Marisa Silver. Something made me request this one and I am so glad that I did. I was sucked into the story and ended up reading almost all of it in a single day. When I wasn't reading this book, I was thinking about it
Emer (A Little Haze)
I'm very conflicted after reading this book. I was really looking forward to it. I love the idea of a literary novel in the vein of a fairytale. And there was much to admire; the darkness and quirky nature of the plot: I did like the fairytale symbolisms and there were some interesting twists that took place within the storyline of the book.
However, ultimately, the whole reading experience left me feeling somewhat hollow. I found myself to be extremely detached from the characters I was reading
May 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
I received this via Goodreads Giveaways in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own:).
Nice concept and beautiful writing but overall felt disconnected and confused most of the time.

This is one where you'll either love it or hate it methinks.. or maybe it is one of those where there is a "niche" for certain audience *shrugs*

2.5 overall (extra points for the creativity of the story)
Feb 15, 2017 rated it liked it
...out of nothing comes everything.

I liked this, but must admit that I was expecting to love it. I think there were a few reasons for this, the biggest being that because of all the changes in the main character I had a very hard time connecting to her. It almost felt like I was reading short stories connected by a theme, more than an actual novel about one character. I really enjoyed the dwarf and the wolf story, but not the carnival show part. I was expecting magical realism, so some of the fa
Sonja Arlow
3 ½ stars

After many years of hoping for children an elderly couple finally gets their hearts desire. A daughter. But she is not like other children, she is perfect in every way except that she is a dwarf.

Pavla is a happy child but her parents, wanting a normal life for Pavla takes her from doctor to doctor in the hopes of finding a cure.

When finally, one of these “doctors” finishes with Pavla, she is no longer a dwarf, but she is no longer fully human, either. Due to this radical transformation
Jul 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, 2016
[I received an ARC copy of this book from]

There is a lot I can say about Little Nothing but somehow the words just don’t seem to come. This particular book left me with a book hangover. That feeling where just need more, no other book could possibly satisfy the massive void this book has left inside of you.

I want to say that this book did not always have this hold on me, there was a time I did not understand what it was trying to say. Pavla’s story arc is sometimes confusing and
♥ Sandi ❣
3.5 stars

Really hard for me to review this book. It was good - for me - because this is the type book-break I needed. However, at a different time and place I might not have liked this book as much as I did.

A fable, folklore, mystical - all apply, but really don't describe this book. It tells the story of a deformed girl, Pavla, who was scorned, even originally by her Mother, who ended up in a traveling circus side show. She meets Danilo - who is part of her act. He falls in love with her. Over
Apr 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
What a strange, wonderful book.

At first glance, she is a woman--an odd woman, to be sure, but a woman nonetheless. But over the course of the novel, Pavla is more than any one form, although Danilo, the man who loves her, is only ever a man. LITTLE NOTHING is a story of war, of fairy tales, of magic and home witchcraft and the fine line separating human and animal. It is impossible to describe--and it is wonderful.
Sep 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
A very, very unusual story. Certainly a lot of symbolism and metaphors. It really didn't work for me but for someone in the right frame of mind. It will be a lovely reading experience. Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.
Lolly K Dandeneau
May 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
"Here it is: one of you will be brave, one of you will be a coward. One of you will believe. One of you will doubt."

(visit my blog

This is a bizarre novel with a magical, dreamlike quality. As stated in the summary Pavla is born to peasants who took part in gypsy tonics, archaic prescriptions. Per the gypsy's instructions 'bathing in the piss of a newborn piglet." When she is born 'ugly' to the small minded peasant parents and ignorant village Pavla is s
Reminiscent of the fairy tales of long ago, a compelling story of magic, tragedy and love. Pavla was born a dwarf, not the baby so longed for by her parents who tried for years to have a child. Despite knowing they would be shunned and ridiculed for their dwarf child, they slowly came to love Pavla. Yet, they still yearned for a "normal" daughter and sought treatments to make her grow. Through all of Pavla's transformations, she has the unrequited love of Danilo, who does everything he can to pr ...more
Apr 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mothbox
This was one of the March
We follow a young girl since birth and her name is Pavla. She's born to an older couple who have longed for a child for many years, but she's their first born and she's not at all what they expected. Pavla is born as a stunted child, someone who has a subtle beauty, but one which is hard for her parents to accept becuase she's different to them and to the 'norm'. As she grows, they begin to interact with her more, and yet they can't progress without trying to 'fix' her so they take her to various witch-doctors and frauds who claim they can cure her...

Pavla herself is a girl, nothing more, nothing less. She doesn't think less of herself even when the other children in her town tease her and call her Little Nothing. She's confident and helpful and resourceful, but all of this is not quite enough for her family who truly believe she needs to be 'normal' to be happy (or at least for them to be happy with her).

As the story goes on we see Pavla subjected to all manner of horrible 'remedies' and she eventually leaves home becuase of these. She's lost and alone and she's insecure. Pavla the girl becomes something else entirely, and her story and life changes irrevocably from what it could have been...

The writing in this book is completely beautiful and the lyricism and lilt is captivating. I could imagine the luscious and lonely scenes vividly, and I completely think that was down to the writing. The story and the characters are definitely solid and the only reason for not giving a 5*s is becuase at times it was slightly predictable to me. In the end, I really enjoyed it and it reminded me a bit of Geek Love. 4*s from me :)' rel='nofollow noopener'>
May 13, 2016 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 07, 2016 rated it did not like it
Amateurish is the first word that comes to mind. Take every fragment of every fairytale you know, chop it into tiny pieces, mix in an incomprehensible plot, thow in a war and you have Little Nothing. There is no character development, no driving theme to the plot, and lots of pointless/gratuitous scenes. Not to mention the writing is bad. I really expected more, especially considering the author has several other books with great reviews.
Keriann Davey
“She believes her parents do not love her less, only that before, she had a child’s notion of love that did not include the small treacheries of delusion and fear and shame.”

This is not a book I should have liked, it's well out of my comfort zone, if I think of buzz words that wouldn't make me pick up a book this has them all "Magical Realism" "lyrical writing", "whimsical" the list is endless, however sometimes a book comes along out of your comfort zone through a subscription service and you p
Jan 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read Mary Coin by Marisa Silver, and loved it. When I heard about a new book she was publishing, it was a MUST read for me. It did NOT disappoint. What a fabulous brilliant book! It was riveting! The story of a child born a dwarf to poor older parents a century ago, who is then scorned in the community. The child, Pavla, transforms, not only herself, but those around her as she herself is physically transformed. Other-worldly, part fairy tale, dark and complex, this imaginative inventive book ...more
This is the third novel I have read by Marisa Silver and it is amazing, definitely a contender for my top 25 of the year.

Pavla is born a dwarf in an unnamed Eastern European country on the cusp of the Industrial Revolution. Her small village is steeped in superstition. At first her mother, who has at last had a child, cannot accept what she views as a freak. But both parents come to love this late life child, so that even though Pavla is tormented by the kids at school who call her Little Nothi
May 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book was not what I expected. Initially, I started this book with the expectation of a magical realistic tale of how to live in an unforgiving world. I was very small minded about this.

This is a story of a world in transition. Taking place in an unspecified location and time, we follow a delightful dwarf named Pavla who is more than what she seems. However, she is born into a world intolerant of perceived imperfections and she is forced into a gruesome transformation with the hopes that sh
Robert Blumenthal
Oct 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This novel was so different from the other two that I have read by Marisa Silver it almost seems ghostwritten. More in the style of Alice Hoffman, it is essentially a novel of magical realism, with a protagonist that keeps transforming. She is born a dwarf at the turn of the 20th century in an unnamed Eastern European country. Although she is physically deformed, her face is radiantly beautiful. Her parents want to "cure" her of her defect, so they use the services of a quack doctor who tries to ...more
Davida Chazan
Marisa Silver (author of Mary Coin) brings us a story that blends fantasy with reality to create a hybrid fable of the weird and the wonderful, of loss and of love and so much more. Find out why this gets a full five stars in my review of this book here ...more
Amanda - Cover2CoverMom
Jul 29, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley, 2016
You can read my original review on my blog -> Cover2CoverMom Book Review: Little Nothing

From the very beginning I was engrossed with Pavla’s story.  Pavla is born with the world against her, yet she overcomes everything that life throws at her.  I had never read a book with a dwarf or little person as the main character, so it was very refreshing.  Pavla’s journey is an uphill battle every step of the way.  I really struggled with some of the actions and decisions made by Pavla’s parents, Agáta
Linda Zagon
Aug 18, 2017 rated it liked it

Marisa Silver has written a number of genres in her book"Little Nothing".  This novel seems to have symbolic meanings for things on a deeper level. Perhaps it is the difference between good and evil. Perhaps it is dealing with the old and the new, or superstitions, magic, and even the timing at the turn of the century were there is a difference between ancient and modern. The genres for this book could be Fiction, "Subversive Fairy Tale", Thriller,
Jayne Catherine pinkett
Jun 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What an unusual but beautifully written book. A love story at its heart where one of the characters keeps changing her persona, whilst the love of her life keeps on searching for her. I am not usually the greatest fan of magical realism, however what the author manages to do here is weave a very clever plot that is a little bizarre at times, bit still remains easy to follow. The writing is beautiful, whilst not overly lyrical, thus maintaining the flow of the plot.
Thoroughly enjoyed this, highly
Kristen Beverly
This book is definitely not a book for everyone. But for those of us who like weird, quirky and unique all rolled up into one neat little bow, it's absolutely perfect. Writing is stunningly beautiful and the magical realism is on point. If you like books that are different - and maybe a bit gruesome at times - this book will totally be right up your alley.
Noelia Alonso
The writing is beautiful but although the first half of the book was fantastic and kept me reading non-stop I lost interest somewhere in the middle and from then on, I was more confused than anything else.
Aug 09, 2016 rated it liked it
An adult fairy tale with lots of symbolism and dual meanings. Keeps your interest
Dec 27, 2018 marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
The end of 2018 has been unkind to me... can't seem to pick up a book I really enjoy and see it through. I'm taking it as a sign I really should wait for the new year before picking up anything new.
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Marisa Silver is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel, Mary Coin (published by Blue Rider Press, March 7th, 2013).

Marisa Silver directed her first film, Old Enough, while she studied at Harvard University. The film won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance in 1984, when Silver was 23. Silver went on to direct three more feature films, Permanent Record (1988), with Keanu Reeves, Vital

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“But sometimes you can spend a lot of sorrow trying to change things for the better, when what was first was best. Its only you were too foolish to realize it.” 1 likes
“She believes her parents do not love her less, only that before, she had a child’s notion of love that did not include the small treacheries of delusion and fear and shame.” 0 likes
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