REVIEW: Little, Big by John Crowley
SYNOPSIS: (from the back cover) little, big tells the epic story of Smoky Barnable – an anonymous young man who meets and falls in love with Daily Alice Drinkwater, and goes to live with her in Edgewood, a place not found on any map. In an impossible mansion full of her relatives, who all seem to have ties to another world not far away, Smoky fathers a family and tried to learn what tale he has found himself in – and how it is to end.
PROS: Magical prose, memorable characters.
CONS: The book did not have conflict (or at least not MUCH conflict), but rather meanders through telling various family members’ stories.
BOTTOM LINE: One of the best urban fantasy novels I’ve read. Probably the best love story I’ve ever read.
I found this book while at a Borders waiting for another author to sign a different book I’d bought. I still haven’t read that book, but have just finished little, big.
The Synopsis from the back cover leads you to believe that the story centers around Smoky Barnable, an ‘outsider’ that marries Daily Alice and moves to the house at Edgewood. While that is how the story opens, little, big is so much broader than that, telling the interleaving stories of all the Drinkwaters, throughout the generations. Each character is richly detailed, and I found myself wanting to learn more about the entire family.
The magic in the book (i.e. what makes it a fantasy, and not just ordinary fiction) is used subtly and in very interesting fashion.
I have only one real complaint with the book, but it bears mentioning – there’s not really much confict. The only real antagonist in the book, Russel Eigenblick (what an great name, like most of the other names in the story) plays only a minor part, and what happens to him at the end left me scratching my head. In fact, the end of the story left me scratching my head in other ways (head lice?) Someone else needs to read this so we can talk about it!
little, big reminds me a lot of Ray Bradbury’s From the Dust Returned in which supernatural beings gather at an old house for a family reunion. Like From the Dust, little, big doesn’t really tell one story, but instead tells the story of each family member (actually From the Dust is a collection of short stories.) Also, in both books the house is really the ‘glue’ that holds (or brings) the families together. (BTW – I also highly recommend that book.)
Overall a very ‘nice’ story. To be read for the journey, and not the destination.
Filed under: Book Review
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