Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Little, Big

    In her review of John Crowley's Little, Big, Roz Kaveney writes, "In Crowley's novel, magic stands for what is done in the story but also for what the author is doing in the book. Magic is something that happens as you blink your eye or turn your back..." 
    Little, Big is the story of Smoky Barnable, an anonymous man who travels to a place called Edgewood (not found on any map) to marry Daily Alice Drinkwater. It is the history of a family and their relationship to the all but unseen faerie world surrounding them. It is the history of a country and spans over a century. It is about "...the reconciliation of faerie and humanity; of the passion, power, and wit of a world of sensuality, magic, and danger with the requirements of a kind and ordinary life." It is a Tale that story unfolds with deft precision and dense prose as Crowley works his magic.  "Every detail of this complex narrative has its relevance to the whole; every detail is planned or rapidly improvised around by the folk of faerie, who whisk continually half-seen round the corners of the plot and whose intrigues turn out to be as complex, ambiguous, and intricate as those of the author."
    Little, Big is one of the most perfect pieces of fantasy fiction that I have ever read. "Magical" seems a descriptive too often used to have any impact and yet "magical" is the word that keeps coming to mind. Ursula LeGuin warns that "Persons who enter this book are advised that they will leave it a different size than when they came in."


  1. Now that you're done, I'm so ready to talk about this book.

  2. Man, I bought this book over a year ago and couldn't get past the first chapter. I enjoy fantasy novels in general, so maybe I should give this one another chance. Did you find it more engrossing as you read along?