Edgewood - which is not found on any map - is many houses, all put inside each other or across each other. It's filled with and surrounded by mystery and enchantment; the further in you go, the bigger it gets.
Smoky Barnable, who has fallen in love with Daily Alice Drinkwater, travels from the City on foot to Edgewood, her family home. There he finds himself on the magical border of an otherworld.
Crowley's work has a special alchemy - mixing the world we know with an imagined world that seems more true and real. Winner of the World Fantasy Award, Little, Big is elegant, sensual, funny, and unforgettable. It is a story of fantastic love and heartrending loss, of impossible things and unshakable destinies, and of the great Tale that envelops us all. It is a wonder.
John Crowley is an American writer who has also worked in television and documentary films. His fantasy and science fiction have established him as a major voice in imaginative writing. His other novels include The Deep, Engine Summer, and Ægypt.
©1981 2010 by John Crowley; Edition 2010 by Ron Drummond (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"A book that all by itself calls for a redefinition of fantasy." (Ursula K. Le Guin)
jumped from character and events without enough detail to follow what part each playedI had to keep replaying to clarify who was who
ending was there one again lack of storyline
nothing jumps out
yes this would improve and clarify the story probably by identifying or eliminating some unnecessary characters
Special effects could be incredible
I usually love fantasy books but struggled with this one
I returned the book as I could not understand what was being presented. it seemed to jump from place to place.
No, I have enjoyed similar novels but just could not get to grips with this.
I had hoped for a story of mystery and magic but seemed only to get bits and pieces of information that made no sense to me.
"So disappointed with "hearing" my favorite book :("
no, i could not even get through to part 2 :(
There is no other book like Little, Big, but I would say it is of the same ilk as The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, and other sweepting saga's with supernatural overtones...
no, i have not
it inspired me to pick up and read my hard copy book again -- and again
i was sort of amazed that i found Crowley's reading of my most favorite, and his most famous novel, so tedious...when i first heard that it was available, i was so excited to have my most cherished saga/tale read to me...i joined audible immediately for this one book alone...making myself some hot chocolate and preparing my most comfortable place to recline, i readied myself for the chance of a lifetime --- NOT...i am so sorry to say that the first thing i was taken aback by was the author's voice...of course i did not judge the reading by voice alone, it was just the first thing that struck me...it was of a higher tone than expected, and his incredible way of depicting a scene or dialogue, in the translation to the read word, felt so thin, so deflated, so altered...Crowley seemed to be rushing his text, almost to the point of sounding memorized and doing a "practice session," which takes away some of the most delicate is something i have always relished about the book -- it's meandering, gentle, yet so emotive tone, which, with his reading, i found to be totally lacking...How could this be? It almost felt as though this was a "job" for him and the enthusiasm in punctuation seemed almost non-existent :( ... i was so left in a state of non-belief, as i assumed if anyone could read this book in the tone in which it was written, it would be John Crowley...I have read the book aloud to close friends during the 1/4 of a century since i was first turned on to it...Even I would emphasize some of the brilliant prose that took such skill when writing, the first few times i read it i found myself weeping from the sheer beauty of his written word...i guess not everyone possesses the necessary tools in all departments...perhaps some books should be left to the silence of our minds' ear...not certain if this one fits into the "unhearable" category, but do believe that Crowley does not do his masterpiece justice by electing to do the reading himself...
The writing style of this book is the next best thing to it's story. Good to hear it read by the author: a whole new dimension.
If you read this, you will understand why I can't answer this.
The only character voice Is Violets father.....and appropriate.
What a lowest-common-denominator question. As with any truly great book, the only answer is.... Yes.
"The Farther in You Go, the Bigger it Gets"
Little, Big is a sublime, earthy, artificial, moving, humorous, intimate, and epic novel. Its absorbing and intricate ???Tale??? relates the history of multiple generations of the Bramble/Drinkwater/Mouse clan from the late 19th century through the early 21st and their relations with ???Them??? (fairies or elementals) who perhaps inhabit an ???infundibular??? series of worlds nested inside our ???real" world that are nevertheless bigger than our world, with the innermost smallest center, ???There??? (Elsewhere or Faerie), being infinitely large inside. At the heart of the novel is the family???s countryside folly-house Edgewood, which, bigger inside than outside, is a perhaps a doorway to Elsewhere.
I really liked author John Crowley???s reading of his novel. Unlike virtuoso professional audiobook readers, he doesn???t change his voice much to distinguish between characters (male and female, old and young, British or American, educated and uneducated, fairy and human, and so on), but he does express their different thoughts and feelings and personalities so as to tell a compelling story. And his voice is appealing, a little nasal, a little gravelly, a little high, and full of lots of humor, compassion, and wisdom, just right for his Tale.
I???m unsure, though, why a woman reads the numeric chapter titles as well as their many sub-section headings (bold font in the book). Her voice is too much like a TV commercial voice, and I wish Crowley himself had read the titles of books, chapters, and sub-chapters.
Looking at the mediocre customer ratings for the audiobook, I believe that some listeners must have expected a faster paced, more exciting and movie-friendly fantasy, whereas Little, Big requires patience, because its rhythms are contemplative and speculative, gradually absorbing and deeply satisfying.
Little, Big evokes the tantalizing feeling that everything you desire might be just beside you, but if you look directly at it, you???ll miss it, or that the heart of fantasy and love is reachable only by paths that lead away from it. Daily Alice describing what it???s like to see the world from inside a rainbow, Smoky Barnable receiving heavy gifts from fairies he can???t believe in, Auberon whispering to Sylvie in a train station when she is and is not there, Ariel Hawsquill looking through the rooms of her memory mansion, George Mouse dealing with a wizened changeling, Lilac flying on the back of a stork around her sleeping mother and shouting ???Wake up!??? . . . . There is more magic (imagination, wonder, thought, feeling, and pleasure) on any given page of Little, Big than in most other fantasy novels and series. Crowley???s novel, like the Edgewood house, is a work of art, memory, and love, a doorway into Elsewhere.
"understated but compelling telling"
The author's narration is very calm and understated, but it suits the story well. Unfortunately a second narrator introduces each chapter in an annoying and thoroughly inappropriate sultry woman's voice.
The story itself is fairly complicated, and keeping track of the many characters would have been easier with the help of the genealogical chart which supposedly comes with the print version. Given the number of subplots explored, I was very surprised that by the end of the book, what seems to be the central plot is actually never explained to the reader; we only glimpse it indirectly. Still, for a book about an otherworldly subject, I suppose it only makes sense that we don't get all the answers, and the journey was very enjoyable.
"My favorite book, read by the author."
The audible version is better than the print because you can drive, work-out, and clean your house while listening. Because this is my favorite book it has been very cool to have it read to me by the author, with the inflection and pauses he intended.
When Violet the child stolen by the fairies is flying by her own sleeping mother( that she hasn't seen in years) on the back of a stork and reaches out to touch her mother's hair.
This sentence will obviously make no sense to someone who has not read the book.
I like all the characters too much to pick just one. I identify a lot with Daily Alice.
This book gives me a feeling of wonder that I only remember from childhood.
This book is a classic, if you love fantasy or strange tales you must read this book in your lifetime. I quote this book often and there is a web site dedicated to quotes from this book.
"Nothing happens in the novel. Literally, nothing."
With GREAT trepidation.
Not a single one.
Nothing happens in this novel. Literally, nothing.
I’ve been pondering how to begin this review from about halfway through the novel. I’ll preface this by saying that I am a lover of literature, a collector of books and I appreciate the genre immensely. I don’t usually write reviews because literature, like film, is a highly personal experience and generally not to be judged. “Little, Big” by John Crowley had been constantly appearing as a recommended book for me in every single digital app and application that has any knowledge of my tastes and preferences for several years. 66% of reviewers have given this novel 5 Stars. The book has been compared to “The Book of Lost Things” and “Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.”
All of that said, it is completely beyond my comprehension how anyone who has raved about this book could possibly have gotten past the second chapter. To compare it to any of those wonderful novels is an insult to those authors.
There is a big difference between someone who is a beautiful wordsmith, and someone who can tell a beautiful story. “Little, Big” is filled with beautiful prose and words that are wonderfully chained together in long, magical paragraphs that describe absolutely nothing and fail to convey any consistency of storytelling. Either Mr. Crowley wrote the entire novel in a drug-induced haze, or he pulled out every half-written story fragment and college essay and decided to try to mash it all together to see if he could get away with seeming intellectual. Quite honestly, there were moments that I was certain that this was a first novel from someone who literally had pulled every thought they ever had out and tried to weave it altogether while conveying random philosophical thoughts on life.
My problem as a reader is that I don’t give up on books. Ever. I feel as though I am somehow doing the world some kind of hidden injustice if I don’t finish a book. This book was sheer torture. In fact, I’ve heard tell that it’s been used at Guantanamo Bay as an inhumane method of enhanced interrogation. About halfway through the novel I skipped to the back just to see how much longer this grueling Hell would last. When I discovered the biography and found that the novel was written by the same person who wrote “The Deep” I just about fell out of my chair. It has to be some kind of cruel joke.
The characters in “Little, Big” are uninteresting and not particularly likable. In fact the self-description of the person that you are lead to believe is a central character in the story is such that he is invisible to anyone around him until he meets the woman he falls in love with. Unfortunately for him, and for Mr. Crowley, he remains uninteresting and all but invisible in the book. Characters are introduced and forgotten. Story lines are begun and go nowhere. There are half-hearted feeble attempts to try to weave some of them back in at some other place in the book because it seems that Mr. Crowley suddenly remembered that he had mentioned it somewhere once before.
Mr. Crowley somehow even manages to make scenes of incest, drug use and infidelity seem completely uninteresting, forgettable and mind numbing.
I write this review solely in the hope that someone reads it and I spare them the nightmare that I have endured… that they take those hours that would otherwise have been better spent watching paint dry, and do something productive with their life… like watching paint dry.
"The sort of novel that reminds you of why you like novels"
This is one of the best books I've ever read. The last time I read it was 20 years ago. Crowley's reading was perfect.
"not for everyone...."
... but for those for whom it is, it is beautiful. If it seems slow to you at first, consider that this book, like the house at Edgewood, is made of time
"Too Beautiful for Words"
Shirley's quiet, almost monotone voice coaxes out the deeper earnings of his beautiful, lyrical prose.
"Fairie Speculative Physics"
The title really sums it up: Little, Big. Things that are little and big at the same time. The Little People. A world that is bigger on the inside. Really, you should just read it.
This is a difficult book to read because the author writes with such subtly and poetry. Every little word has bigger, slightly unseen dimensions. Like other poetries, it improves when it is read outload. The reader does a great job sustaining the sense of wonder that animates the story. I regularly rewind to hear beautiful passages read again.
It is a strange American Gothic novel, an almost-historical fiction, or a kind of American Fairie story. Kissing cousins with Neil Gaiman's American Gods.
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