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Little, Big Paperback – August 1, 1981


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Paperback, August 1, 1981
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--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 538 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Books (Mm); 1st edition (August 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553012665
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553012668
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (186 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,614,441 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

''A book that all by itself calls for a redefinition of fantasy.'' --Ursula K. Le Guin

''Crowley is generous, obsessed, fascinating, gripping. Really, I think Crowley is so good that he has left everybody else in the dust.'' --Peter Straub, award-winning horror fiction author

Ambitious, dazzling, strangely moving, a marvelous magic-realist family chronicle.'' --Washington Post

''John Crowley writes sentences of such coruscating magnificence that the rest of the English language has fallen in love with them. I once knew an adverbial clause who was so infatuated with the linguistic beauty of Little, Big that the poor creature pined away into a comma.'' --James Morrow, World Fantasy Award-winning author

''One of my favorite works of modern fantasy, Little, Big, is an amazing tale told in an amazing way. Reading it I felt as if I were watching a high-wire artist: one slip and he would fall into the dreadful net of Twee. Yet Crowley never slips, not upon a single word, and the book grows more powerful with every page.'' --Katharine Kerr, bestselling author

Ambitious, dazzling, strangely moving, a marvelous magic-realist family chronicle.'' --Washington Post

''John Crowley writes sentences of such coruscating magnificence that the rest of the English language has fallen in love with them. I once knew an adverbial clause who was so infatuated with the linguistic beauty of Little, Big that the poor creature pined away into a comma.'' --James Morrow, World Fantasy Award-winning author

''One of my favorite works of modern fantasy, Little, Big, is an amazing tale told in an amazing way. Reading it I felt as if I were watching a high-wire artist: one slip and he would fall into the dreadful net of Twee. Yet Crowley never slips, not upon a single word, and the book grows more powerful with every page.'' --Katharine Kerr, bestselling author

Ambitious, dazzling, strangely moving, a marvelous magic-realist family chronicle.'' --Washington Post

''John Crowley writes sentences of such coruscating magnificence that the rest of the English language has fallen in love with them. I once knew an adverbial clause who was so infatuated with the linguistic beauty of Little, Big that the poor creature pined away into a comma.'' --James Morrow, World Fantasy Award-winning author

''One of my favorite works of modern fantasy, Little, Big, is an amazing tale told in an amazing way. Reading it I felt as if I were watching a high-wire artist: one slip and he would fall into the dreadful net of Twee. Yet Crowley never slips, not upon a single word, and the book grows more powerful with every page.'' --Katharine Kerr, bestselling author --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

About the Author

JOHN CROWLEY is an American writer who has also worked in television and documentary films. He is a recipient of the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Letters Award for Literature. His fantasy and science fiction have established him as a major voice in imaginative writing. His other novels include The Deep, Engine Summer, and Aegypt. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

More About the Author

John Crowley was born in the appropriately liminal town of Presque Isle, Maine, in 1942, his father 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 to make movies, and did find work in documentary films, an occupation he still pursues. He published his first novel (The Deep) in 1975, and his 14th volume of fiction (Lord Byron's Novel: The Evening Land) in 2005. Since 1993 he has taught creative writing at Yale University. In 1992 he received the Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. He finds it more gratifying that almost all his work is still in print.

Customer Reviews

When I first started reading this book, I couldn't get past the first couple of pages.
Jennifer Martin
It is a fantasy, but the characters are simultaneously so human and fantastical, that it makes the whole story seem real to me.
"sidheshell"
Indeed, it's a remarkable achievement and is one of the most beautifully written books I've ever read.
Kat Hooper

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

195 of 204 people found the following review helpful By Chris D. on March 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
It took me a few attempts to get rolling with "Little, Big". There is no real action to speak of and not a lot of dialogue - the story just sort of meanders along. Still, my perseverance was well-rewarded...and how! John Crowley's writing has an elegance and beauty that is simply incomparable. I could throw out any number of adjectives - lyrical, sensual, dense, profound, heartbreaking, haunting...in short, an amazing achievement. I have re-read it many times since, and each time I notice new details and depths. As the key concept of the book states, "the further in you go the bigger it gets". It is by no means a light, casual read, and will not appeal to all readers.

The complex story is hard to describe or explain very well (I've tried a number of times to do so). The book opens with a young man named Smokey Barnable making his way on foot from the City to a place called Edgewood, where he is going to marry Daily Alice Drinkwater. From this charming beginning, "Little, Big" goes on to trace the history of the Drinkwater family, whose story is quite literally a Fairy Tale that they only vaguely understand themselves (although they know that they are in it) and of Edgewood, an amazing house "of four floors, seven chimneys, three hundred and sixty-five stairs, (and) fifty-two doors", which is a doorway to the Fairies. "Little, Big" jumps back and forth across five Drinkwater generations as the meaning of the Tale and their place and purpose in it becomes clearer, while Smoky (and later his son Auberon) struggle with their disbelief.

It may not sound like much (and there really is a lot more to it than my extremely brief synopsis), but John Crowley's superb and gorgeous writing just sweeps you along.
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92 of 99 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 15, 2000
Format: Paperback
You don't have to like science fiction or fantasy to love Little, Big. Anyone who appreciates beautifully crafted writing and books that touch the deepest part of soul should find what their looking for here. John Crowley is one of the most wonderful writers in existence and Little, Big is certainly his best effort to date. His wonderful (and wondrous) books do unfold without a lot of John Grisham action, so if that's your idea of great literature, Little, Big probably wouldn't be for you.
About half of this gorgeous story takes place in New York City, although Crowley never actually calls it that, he just writes, "the City," while the other half takes place at Edgewood (you will find as you read that none of the names in this book are chosen at random, each has a special significance that eventually becomes crystal clear). Edgewood is an unsurpassingly complicated house, built around the turn of the century, by an architect whose wife could see...faeries.
Although we never meet the faeries directly in this novel, their presence is felt through almost all of the book. They are the faeries of A Midsummer Night's Dream, embodying the qualities of mischievousness, whimsy, capriciousness and untrustworthiness. The faeries are also an odd mix of power and vulnerability, but their spirit is in decline. Much of what happens in Little, Big happens because the faeries must rejuvenate the old with the new. Far from being a simple tale of magic or fantasy, this a highly complex one; Little, Big is a mammoth work of more than 600 pages in length.
The story begins with Smoky Barnable, an ordinary man who marries into an extraordinary family (the architect's great-granddaughter).
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101 of 110 people found the following review helpful By Michael Battaglia on May 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
Wow. That's all I can really say about this. I'm not sure what more I can say that would make you go out and seek this book down at all costs (the other reviewers here already having done a fine job of kindling that desire hopefully) but every little bit helps and maybe some publisher will read all these and realize that this book deserves to be in print. So . . . deep breath, where to start? I could say that this easily ranks among the best books I've ever read but that tells you nothing. So why do I love it so? The story in essence is a tale (or Tale) of one family's (one large family) association with fairies. But this isn't a typical fantasy novel. For one thing the focus is entirely on the family, the story lunges backwards and forwards in time and the family tree in the beginning is given there for a reason . . . pay attention to it. There's isn't much action but frankly you don't miss it, the action that is there is implied, Crowley shows us the mold and lets our imagination fill the spaces in, the way the best writers do. And ah, the language. If only every fantasy novel could capture the elegance and sheer range of his words. Whether he's being funny or serious or sensual or touching or whatever, there are passages you just want to read outloud. And you will be moved, he'll make you feel joy, despair and everything in between. George Mouse's retelling of his encounter with Sophie's baby has to be one of the most riveting pieces of literature I've ever read. But the overall tone is gentle, images of spring and winter with spring not far ahead (or behind) fill every corner. The fairies' influence is everywhere but they're rarely seen, which is absolutely great.Read more ›
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