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The Little People Paperback – December 1, 2000
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Christopher writes in a poetic, descriptive style, and this story unfolds slowly at first. A lot of time is taken to set up the characters, and the first part of the novel is frustratingly slow in a few places. But the book is not long, begins to pick up speed in the middle, and it practically races to its heart-pounding finale.
Concerning a group of miniature people discovered living in a remote old house in the southern Irish countryside (which has become a hotel run by the woman to whom the estate was willed), this story reveals itself as something different from what it seems at first. One might think of fairy tales and pixie dust, but this yarn is more sinister, and answers fewer questions than are asked. The story is actually plausible, if one does not look at the science too closely.
My one complaint is that the characters are overdrawn for a slight plot such as this, but I think I understand why Mr. Christopher did it this way. Explaining it would give away the ending, so I'll let it suffice to say that I would have liked a lot more action and just a little less psychoanalysis of the numerous characters. There could have been so much more to this work, I feel, but in its favor, it's an atmospheric chiller with some memorable passages that lingered in my mind for years. Expanded some, and handled the right way, THE LITTLE PEOPLE would make for a fascinating movie.
Unfortunately, that cover art sets a very difficult bar for fiction to rise to. Particularly when the book wants to be quiet horror instead of gonzo exploitation. The pacing is a bit off, but it’s an easy read. We’re presented with a batch of misanthropes that are isolated in a keep deep in Irish boglands. For such a compact volume, the depth of character is effective for something approaching a dozen characters. Part of the reason for this is because there’s not much plot to compete for space. Our monsters are not effectively used, as they mostly become mechanisms to explore the guilt and regret of every member of the merry band.
2.5 rounded up to 3