From Publishers Weekly
Carrington MacDuffie brings Baker's sprawling debut title to life with a thorough attention to detail and excellent ability to convey the rustic local color of rural upstate New York without falling into stock caricatures. Protagonist Truly Plaice—whose size and stature isolate her from daily social life in the provincial community—never loses her grit and determination in spite of all the heartache she endures. MacDuffie's talent shines in her portrayal of Truly's childhood friend Amelia Dyerson, whose mute interactions with the outside world belie her scrappy survival skills and emotional depth. MacDuffie also brings skill and insight to the male figures, particularly Truly's menacing brother-in-law, Doctor Bob-Bob Morgan. The transitions make for a sometimes challenging listening experience, but MacDuffie does justice to the ambitious project. A Grand Central hardcover (Reviews, Sept. 8). (Feb.)
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A gothic, macabre tale involving revenge, redemption, folk medicine, and magic, The Little Giant
garnered ample praise from critics, who were perhaps surprised that the story of a gargantuan woman captivated them so thoroughly. Although the first part, which focuses on the relationship between Truly and Serena Jane, contains elements of melodrama, it allows Baker to explore the contrast between all kinds of beauty and ugliness. Baker moves on to explore issues such as family, betrayal, love, and friendship (her attempts to tackle topics such as euthanasia, rape, and sexual orientation fall a little flat). A few critics also faulted Trudy's unrealistic first-person but omniscient narration, but this was a minor complaint in a compelling, emotional, and intelligent novel from an author to watch.
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