A Goodreads user
A Goodreads user asked:

I have been struggling with reading this book for two years now. I just don't get it. It has been rated as one of the best 'fantasy' book ever and even one of the best 'sci-fi' books ever (according to the Guardian). But 100 pages in and all you get is a fish that 'might' be able to talk out in a pond somewhere. What is the appeal? I finally gave up reading it. Why the rage?

To answer questions about Little, Big, please sign up.
Dan'l This is a family chronicle, like Joyce Carol Oates' _Bellefleur_. It is intentionally expansive, echoing the architecture of the house, Edgewood, in its intricately interwoven sprawl.

In fact, it is many stories, all tied up in the ongoing Tale. It's about people and relationships and the impossibility of sharing personal truths even - perhaps especially - with those one most loves.

The magic intrudes so oddly, and seamlessly, that the realism is able to persist undiminished. The joy of the book is in the familiar detail that allows these extraordinary characters to be instantly familiar, only growing moreso as the story unfolds.

This is not a book to read in a hurry to reach a resolution. The pleasure is in savoring each turn, each new scene unfolding as if turning an unexpected corner inside or outside Edgewood, and taking the time to let that sink in, to take one's bearings before moving on.
Arnab If that's all that you got out of reading the first 100 pages, then I suggest reading books with talking fish in them which get to the point quicker.
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Phillip Sawyer There is beauty at every step along the prose path of this tale but you will not epic battles or struggles between good and evil. Its like a photo that makes you look better than you are in real life, you stare and marvel at it and wished reality looked as good. The world of "Little, Big" slowly envelopes you and makes you wish that you could enter it or even better, be able to travel between there and your own reality. It setting is always just out of touch like the sweet sound of music in the distance that can never fully be heard.
Andr01d Little Big is a book that induces, best responds to, and is only comprehensible in an altered state of consciousness. In short, you really have to be in a certain state of mind to enjoy this book. This isn't a book that is supposed to be gripping, or follow a dynamic plot, or even be especially coherent. Don't just sit there and pick it up diligently every day at bedtime and expect to "get somewhere" like with other fantasy books. The best mode to enter the realm of Little Big is dream-like, trance-like, almost hallucinogenic; the state of mind that allows access to the fairy dimension. You must feel as though you are yourself inside the strange, ever-shifting house at Edgewood. If you have ever accessed such a state of mind (while awake) you will know just what I mean. It is at that moment that you should pick up the book and read.
Lois Matelan This book was beautifully and very carefully written, but after awhile, it just didn't involve me in its characters and their stories. I was disappointed, frustrated, and actually a little confused by its ending (which I deliberately do not call "resolution.") I think the author's conception was well-realized, but too bleak to be satisfying for me. The comments below about "altered state of consciousness" are apropos. At times, you contend with unreliable narrators. (Who can rely on the memories of a heavy drug user?) At times, you aren't sure yourself what is being described.
Ken I felt the same as you. I wasn't looking for swashbuckling action, but the plodding pace of the plot makes caring about the characters a very difficult enterprise indeed.
Carol Haha, I just read that part and I have been wondering the same thing! I am going to plod along and see where it goes.
Kristine Sprunger I tried reading it as a teen, and couldn't get into it. I tried reading it again in my late 20s or early 30s and STILL couldn't get into it. You are not alone, because I don't get it either. It may be the Bestest Story Ever in the History of Stories, but if the execution isn't there for you, it isn't.
Ron Google ‘magical realism’. Learning the characteristics of this genre really opened up the book for me. One of the best tips i learned was that characters emotional states are often described in material terms - a character might be described as suddenly taking off their clothes, in order to illustrate a need to reveal who they are, for example.

The movie ‘Big Fish’ reminded me of Little Big.

Good luck and happy reading!
Ruthie I persevered, it's worth it. When I finished I went online and read the Wiki Review of the book. It explained a lot. Then I went back to page 1 and started all over again. Now it makes more sense. I loved this book for the unique way it was written. I love the world of fairies, they can be so mysterious, so I guess that was my attraction to keep going. I hope you can be patient and just keep going.
Image for Little, Big
Rate this book
Clear rating

About Goodreads Q&A

Ask and answer questions about books!

You can pose questions to the Goodreads community with Reader Q&A, or ask your favorite author a question with Ask the Author.

See Featured Authors Answering Questions

Learn more