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Novelties and Souvenirs: Collected Short Fiction

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  350 ratings  ·  24 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 one of America's grea

Paperback, 352 pages
Published April 27th 2004 by Harper Perennial (first published 1989)
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Average rating 3.86  · 
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 ·  350 ratings  ·  24 reviews

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Sep 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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 ca
Michael Battaglia
Sep 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to his early one-two-three punch of the "The Deep"/"Engine Summer"/"Little Big", Crowley has pretty much generated more goodwill than the guy handing out free ice cream cones on a summer day. For those who are in his sweet spot for thoughtful and somewhat elliptical stories with prose so elegant that it should be dancing backwards and in heels with Fred Astaire, his style promises pretty much an endless bounty of riches that are difficult to find in quite that way anywhere else. If you ne ...more
Bonnie Stufflebeam
Feb 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
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 t
A.D. Jansen
Dec 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
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 much stro ...more
Nov 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: enoyed, learning-tool
Some of the stories I really enjoyed, some left me baffled, and some were yawners. But hey, he writes, I talk about writing. He has original ideas and clever comments. Let's leave it at that while I suggest you read and decide for yourself.
Sep 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
The War Between the Objects and the Subjects. Brilliant.
R. Ware
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I would have given it "only" four stars, but it contains
his excellent time-travel novella, "Great Work of Time".
Oct 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
I love John Crowley's (lengthy) novel Little, Big, yet this short fiction collection felt like a bit much. The number of stories included is not in itself intimidating, but many of them are novella length and quite dense besides - it took me two days to read "Great Work of Time" and "In Blue." Crowley clearly has an obsession with manipulating time and history and all the works in this collection share that, whether they are firmly science fiction/fantasy or just literary fiction starring crazy peop ...more
Jan 29, 2008 rated it liked it
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, we ...more
James Cook
Jun 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The great American poet Robert Kelly mentioned John Crowley's work in an interview, and since I trust Kelly's taste implicitly, I picked up this collection, as well as "Little, Big" & the first book in the Aegypt series, both of which I have yet to read. I DID plow thru these shorter works however and was duly impressed, especially with "The Great Work of Time", a novella in which Crowley creates a narrative that is both 'postmodern' in its way (I hate that word unless it refers to Charles O ...more
Dec 06, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: short-stories
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
Oct 19, 2009 is currently reading it
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
Dec 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 23, 2007 rated it it was ok
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.
Austen to Zafón
Apr 02, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
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.
Scott Golden
Feb 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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.
Keith Edwards
Mar 02, 2010 rated it liked it
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.
Justin Covey
Sep 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
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.
Jul 04, 2007 rated it did not like it
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.
Sep 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Feb 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Very, very good at his craft.
Feb 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Fine bunch of tales.
Nathaniel Bryant
rated it it was ok
Feb 12, 2016
Joaquim Bach
rated it it was amazing
Sep 29, 2016
rated it it was ok
Jun 07, 2018
rated it liked it
Jan 22, 2012
David Manuel
rated it it was amazing
Jul 19, 2016
Paul Regier
rated it really liked it
Sep 04, 2015
rated it liked it
Jul 21, 2008
David Alex
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Apr 20, 2015
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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 college
“THE UNIVERSE PROCEEDS out of what it has been and into what it will be, inexorably, unstoppably, at the rate of one second per second, one year per year, forever. At right angles to its forward progress lie the past and the future. The future, that is to say, does not lie “ahead” of the present in the stream of time, but at a right angle to it: the future of any present moment can be projected as far as you like outward from it, infinitely in fact, but when the universe has proceeded further, and a new present moment has succeeded this one, the future of this one retreats with it into the what-has-been, forever outdated. It is similar but more complicated with the past.” 2 likes
“I’m sorry, really, to be taking it all from you. Don’t be silly. His eyes, large, liquid, remote, were—were whatever is the opposite of silly. She felt no anger at him, and not envy; she did want him to have her house; only—for a wild moment—wanted desperately not to lose it either. She wanted to share it, share it all; she wanted…He went on looking at her, fixedly and unashamedly as a cat; and there came a flaw in time, a doubling of this moment, a shadow scene behind this scene, in which he asked her to come now, come to stay, stay now, stay always, yield it all to him and yet have it all…. As instantly as she perceived it, the flaw healed, and No, no, she said, blinking, turning back to the kitchen door, shaken, as though, unaware, she had found herself walking out on ice.” 1 likes
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