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Little, Big

by John Crowley

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,6631012,430 (4.06)2 / 242
"Little, Big" tells the epic story of Smoky Barnable -- an anonymous young man who meets and falls in love with Daily Alice Drinkwater, and goes to live with her in Edgewood, a place not found on any map. In an impossible mansion full of her relatives, who all seem to have ties to another world not far away, Smoky fathers a family and tries to learn what tale he has found himself in -- and how it is to end.… (more)
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    Titus Alone / Gormenghast / Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake (chrisharpe)
  2. 51
    From the Dust Returned by Ray Bradbury (isabelx)
    isabelx: Otherworldly extended families.
  3. 51
    Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (kethorn23)
    kethorn23: The fairies in both these books operate behind the scenes, which preserves the sense of magic. The fairies in Little, Big are elusive even while they play a major role in the story. Likewise, in Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, the fairies are responsible for major parts of the story that affect the humans who are unaware of their existence.… (more)
  4. 40
    Lolly Willowes, or The Loving Huntsman by Sylvia Townsend Warner (chrisharpe)
  5. 52
    One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (britchey)
    britchey: Multi-generational epics about family, history, and destiny. Both books beautiful blend the ordinary with the fantastic.
  6. 20
    Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin (Marissa_Doyle)
    Marissa_Doyle: Winter's Tale is perhaps a little more muscular, but they both share a certain dreamy whimsicality that never descends into cuteness.
  7. 20
    The Children's Book by A. S. Byatt (Crypto-Willobie)
  8. 20
    Arcady by Michael Williams (Sakerfalcon)
    Sakerfalcon: Literate, sometimes obscure, fantasies that centre around an extended family and their home. Atmospheric and mysterious.
  9. 53
    The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly (antqueen)
  10. 20
    The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende (britchey)
    britchey: Both books follow one family for several generations, chronicling the incredible events that comprise their destinies.
  11. 21
    The Art of Memory by Frances A. Yates (paradoxosalpha)
    paradoxosalpha: A lively history exposing the tradition of theory behind the magic of Ariel Hawksquill.
  12. 11
    Not Wanted on the Voyage by Timothy Findley (chrisharpe)
  13. 00
    Moonwise by Greer Ilene Gilman (kethorn23)
  14. 00
    Cloud & Ashes: Three Winter's Tales by Greer Gilman (kethorn23)
  15. 00
    Grendel by John Gardner (sturlington)
  16. 33
    Among Others by Jo Walton (LamontCranston)
    LamontCranston: Similar style and approach to the world of faerie
  17. 11
    Lanark by Alasdair Gray (chrisharpe)
  18. 01
    The Wapshot Chronicle by John Cheever (fduwald)
    fduwald: Hier ist der Ursprung von Edgewood.
  19. 34
    The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (ktbarnes)
  20. 13
    Solstice Wood by Patricia A. McKillip (craso)

(see all 21 recommendations)

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» See also 242 mentions

English (100)  German (1)  All languages (101)
Showing 1-5 of 100 (next | show all)
This is not an easy book to read. It sneaks up on you. Image being in a
room and seeing something move out the corner of your eye. By the time you turn, it is too late. What ever you saw is gone. The events of the book are much like that. Things happen, words are said, and events too
queer and strange to be common place happen when you least expect it. Read this book on a hot summers day with a thunder storm coming and
be amazed at a world that may be not that far away. ( )
  Steve_Walker | Sep 13, 2020 |
Fantastic. I think I may need to read it again though. Which I don't see as a problem at all. ( )
  Cliff_F | Sep 11, 2020 |
This will be an easy review for a glorious book of Fae, story, and four generations of an interesting family.

To say it's lyrical misses the point of the theme, that the deeper you look, the bigger it gets. It's true for this novel as it is true for any one of us. A surface glance might get you caught in a fae's trap, such as a kingfisher for a gas station, but when you get caught in the web of love, children, changelings, careers, more love, story, story, and more story, whole vistas open up before us.

And then there are the doors to the fae. We may be kings of a kingdom on the tips of our fingers or be lost in our imaginations... larger than worlds and worlds, never to wake again. Or we can forever hunt for the door to that imagination made real or we could be lost in fever dreams and lose the very idea of love and family.

Either way, we are all megalomaniacs and the meekest of the meek. The magic is real and the most difficult doors can't be crossed and other doors are larger than whole forests and we'll never see them.

And then, of course, there's the fun plot surrounding a deck of special Tarot cards, sleeping emperors, the takeover of America, and talking animals. :)

Honestly, it's hard not to see the deliberate passing of this particular torch to some of my favorite authors. Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell comes to mind. Both are extremely rich and deep and expertly crafted tales of the fae. And let's not forget Valente's Fairyland series which deliberately picks up the flavor and even some of the naming conventions and outright themes from this book!

None are lessened by this comparison. Indeed, they all compliment each other. I'm in love.

I admit to avoiding this book. It was on my radar for 30 years, and yet I just thought it wasn't for me.

How wrong I was! It was absolutely gorgeous! ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
The author makes beautiful use of language in the descriptions, but that's the only positive thing I can say about this book. It's ridiculously slow and tedious. Like frozen treacle. Nothing happens. When something FINALLY does happen, nothing happens. The characters are flat, dull and just "hang around" waiting for things to happen, and then don't even react! My vegetables have more personality than this whole 500 page book stuffed full of characters! I wasn't inspired to like them or hate them or feel anything about them. Even the fairy critters (when they make an appearance) are boring. Maybe if you like "classics" you will like this, but it just didn't give me warm, fuzzy feeling, or any feelings other than relief that this book was finally done.

( )
1 vote ElentarriLT | Mar 24, 2020 |
Extraordinary. Magical. This book shows what fantasy can do. It is a fantasy that does not flee from the world but, through the contrast with reality, reveals it, like a flashlight shining into a dark room.

A sample:One by one the bulbs burned out, like long lives come to their expected ends. Then there was a dark house made once of time, made now of weather, and harder to find; impossible to find and not even as easy to dream of as when it was alight. Stories last longer; but only by becoming only stories. It was anyway all a long time ago; the world, we know now, is as it is and not different; if there was ever a time when there were passages, doors, the borders open and many crossing, that time is not now. The world is older than it was. Even the weather isn't as we remember it clearly once being; never lately does there come a summer day such as we remember, never clouds as white as that, never grass as odorous or shade as deep and full of promise as we remember they can be, as once upon a time they were. ( )
  ralphpalm | Nov 11, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 100 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Crowleyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Canty, TomCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carr, RichardCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fitzgerald, John AnsterCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gilbert, YvonneCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lippincott, Gary A.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Malczynski, ElizabethCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
A little later, remembering man's earthly origin, 'dust thou art and to dust thou shalt return,' they liked to fancy themselves bubbles of earth. When alone in the fields, with no one to see them, they would hop, skip and jump, touching the ground as lightly as possible and crying 'We are the bubbles of earth! Bubbles of earth! Bubbles of earth!'
- Flora Thompson,
Lark Rise
Dedication
For Lynda
who first knew it
with the author's love
First words
On a certain day in June, 19--, a young man was making his way on foot northward from the great City to a town or place called Edgewood, that he had been told of but had never visited.
Quotations
The things that make us happy make us wise.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Canonical DDC/MDS
"Little, Big" tells the epic story of Smoky Barnable -- an anonymous young man who meets and falls in love with Daily Alice Drinkwater, and goes to live with her in Edgewood, a place not found on any map. In an impossible mansion full of her relatives, who all seem to have ties to another world not far away, Smoky fathers a family and tries to learn what tale he has found himself in -- and how it is to end.

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