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Showing 1-10 of 81 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 234 reviews
on February 22, 2015
This is a book, that takes a good while to start rolling. It's the kind of book, that first third is spent simple setting the world and the style of the story telling. Not even the main characters really. I mean it kind of does, but what the story is really about, more or less is about the son of the family and how he fits into the universe that his family exist in. But for the first third of the book, its really about his father learning about the world. if this review seems to kind of not make any sense, but still kind of does, then you get the gist of the book.

I've read this book twice now, once as a bonus credit assignment from a literature class and most recently on audibles. Now when the book finally gets rolling it actually is kind of an exciting fantasy mystery thing with way too much abstract moments, but at it's heart its a story about family, and simply how they evolve from one another.

Do i recommend this book, Yes, but to a person that is a fantasy buff that also dibbles in spiritual fiction, or thought. It's not a story for people looking for a lord of the rings epic, but one that studies the characters that happen to live in a world that really close to ours but not.
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on July 21, 2013
I have loaned my hardcopy of this book to many friends with rather unsatisfying results. It is frequently returned with comments like it was just too weird, or could not get into it. For me it is poetry. I am reading it for the fourth time, slowly, with appreciation of each turn of phrase and circumstance. It is mysterious, magical, whimsical, funny, tragic, fascinating, unpredictable and totally enjoyable. It may be a bit like cilantro ... either you love it or it tastes like soap.
Following no chronological order in particular it is a journey into the lives of a most remarkable and some would say strange family. It is fantastical and far ranging in scope, including generations of lives that are influenced directly or indirectly by a deck of ancient cards ... cards that are other worldly and quite beyond an ordinary deck of tarot cards. But it is so much more ... it contains worlds within worlds.
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on May 9, 2015
I'm nearly speechless. How does one put words to wonder? How does one describe a story that is less action than it is a meandering through sensualities? This tale is more of an experience, than a book. It feels slow at first, but oh, does it ever reward you for your patience. Dive in, and allow yourself to be dizzied up in the beauty of this one; trust me, just close your eyes and leap. It will be worth your while.
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on October 21, 2015
A books book. A book among books! Whenever I hear someone say they just don't get this book or that it's boring I realize the truth of this book. Little, Big is a world that doesn't admit just anyone into it. You have to do some work, maybe difficult work, in order to gain entry. Some are either not up to the task or just denied for reasons no one can say. If you do love this book, consider yourself lucky because you are now able to live in a book world more fantastic than any other book world!
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on January 24, 2016
One of my all time favorite novels: brilliantly layered, richly lyrical, fresh, wildly fanciful and creative --and all the while solid in its underpinnings. Crowley's mastery and Cornellesque love of shadows within boxes within shadows within boxes, reaches a zenith with this effort.
How he is able to be almost manically whimsical (dare I call this a psychedelic novel?) while still producing a stunningly beautiful and grounded work of art, confounds! His skill has the reader leaping almost effortlessly between worlds. No wonder Bloom added it to his Western Canon. Best read along with Aegypt --which also zings and tantalizes. Patience and suspension of disbelief are required, but in this case your effort will be richly rewarded!
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on January 19, 2017
This is a great American novel that is not meant for everybody, which is why it's a great American novel that's mostly unknown. It's a fairy tale book not meant for little children. Who this book is meant for are those who want to experience the truth of a world like ours that just happens to be poked, prodded, and moved about by the Fey peoples of an alternate plane of existence. This is a novel about an extraordinary family across multiple generations--a family with foibles and flaws and beauty and strength, who struggle to understand the Why of their existence as they also alternately struggle against and work with the Little People (who may not be so little).

And so this novel asks a lot of big philosophical and metaphysical questions. The author, John Crowley, is not interested in pat answers. The questions are sometimes more important than the conclusions that follow. And sometimes, there are no conclusions explicitly stated. It's up to the reader to use some mental effort to figure out what's happening in the story. This is why I say that this novel is not for everyone. In today's reading culture, where even college-educated adults are only willing to read young adult novels, this book may be a challenge to some. For one thing, Crowley's prose is DENSE. What I mean by that is that he'll write sentences that are their own paragraphs. Sentences with numerous clauses that are separately by a multitude of commas, semi-colons, hyphens, long dashes, and parentheticals. And within these long sentence constructions, Crowley will pack in multiple disparate ideas that he is able to artfully connect with an overarching theme, philosophical thesis, or series of actions. And also, the sentences are beautiful, almost musical, in their prose. Here's an example (the hairy thing mentioned is a squirrel's tail; a love totem from the Fey):

"But they had kept their promise, oh they had, he was on the way to becoming an entire anthology of love, with footnotes (there were a pair of step-ins under his seat, he could not remember who had stepped out of them); only, as he drove from drugstore to church, from farmhouse to farmhouse, with the hairy thing flying from his windscreen, he came to know that it did not and had not ever contained his power over women: his power over women lay in their power over him."

Some people have compared this novel to Gabriel Garcia Marquez's book "One Hundred Years of Solitude". It's an apt comparison in that both novels are shining examples of the magic realism genre and great prose, and both are concerned with the rising and falling fortunes of remarkable multi-generational families. But Crowley's novel dives more deeply into the metaphysical. In his story, the universe is actually a multiverse with fantastical realms of existence nested within each other, yet paradoxically, the deeper ones are larger than the ones that contain them. And from this mind-expanding idea, Crowley is able to craft an epic narrative that takes the reader to some truly bizarre and beautiful settings. Some of the characters start to wake up to this and take advantage of this strange architecture of the universe.

The main characters here will speak and live and breathe and stumble and fall their way through this story. For all the magic-realism trappings of this story, the characters always feel like real people. And that is perhaps Crowley's great strength as an author. He never lets the metaphysical or phantasmagoric elements of the story cloud the essential humanity of the people who live inside that reality. I challenge anyone to read this novel from beginning to end and not fall in love with at least 3 of the main characters.
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on March 30, 2017
I have read this book many times since it was first published. I still don't understand the ending, but that doesn't diminish the pleasure I get from
joining this tale for awhile. Sometime I read the entire story but usually I just pick a spot and i'm back into what by now is a familiar story. There is no other book that I treat this way, and very few books that have given me as much joy as this one.
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on January 1, 2017
This book came at the right time for me. And I can only relate to it in a personal way. My stand is that I don't want to perform magic myself, but I want to enjoy it because I believe it's out there. And how marvelously it is suggested here.
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on September 13, 2016
"Little, Big" is very likely my favorite novel. It's the only book I've read three times, except possibly one or two of Cormac McCarthy's, although I think those I read only twice each. I was so happy to discover the audiobook, narrated by the author. This is the increasingly rare novel I can sink into again and again. Crowley's prose is truly wonderful, his ideas are fanciful and profound, his characters are so appealing: one just wants to live in the universe of "Little, Big." If you haven't read it (or if you have) give yourself a gift and read it (again, if that fits.)
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on July 17, 2015
I found 'Little, Big' on a list of books you can't put down. And it was true. So much work didn't get done for days in a row. It wasn't suspenseful the way a thriller or a mystery is, but more in the sense of not knowing what was going to happen next, and really wanting to know. I love books set in 'almost reality,' very like this one, just a little tweaked. And it was a very interesting alternate reality - maybe it's this one and we just don't know it! And the writing is lovely - very evocative without being self conscious or overblown. The one reason I don't give it 5 stars is that the ending didn't answer a basic question - why did this happen? If you can live with that, I highly recommend it.
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