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Little, Big by John Crowley

Little, Big

by John Crowley

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,398912,322 (4.08)2 / 219
  1. 50
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  2. 51
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    isabelx: Otherworldly extended families.
  3. 40
    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. 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.
  5. 30
    Lolly Willowes, or The Loving Huntsman by Sylvia Townsend Warner (chrisharpe)
  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
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  8. 20
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  9. 53
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  10. 20
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    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
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  13. 00
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  15. 00
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  16. 33
    Among Others by Jo Walton (LamontCranston)
    LamontCranston: Similar style and approach to the world of faerie
  17. 11
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  18. 01
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    fduwald: Hier ist der Ursprung von Edgewood.
  19. 34
    The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (ktbarnes)
  20. 13
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(see all 21 recommendations)


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English (90)  German (1)  All languages (91)
Showing 1-5 of 90 (next | show all)
  whatsmacksaid | Sep 21, 2018 |
A man of New York City marries into a family from the country who have a remarkable relationship to the world of fairy. That other world is always present in the story's background, sometimes more explicitly, and yet John Crowley can do the literary equivalent of making things visible in the corner of your eye that disappear as soon as you look directly at them. I relate entirely to the male family members who try to catch those glimpses by every means, surrounded by the female members who seemingly always understand more than they're letting on or else are just wiser about not questioning. The language and style of this novel are fantastic. They force a slower read if you don't want to miss any hint of what's happening, or all of the fun allusions to Thorton W. Burgess, The Wind in the Willows, the House that Jack Built, Alice in Wonderland, etc., or those glimpses of fairies that might be more than just your imagination.

There's a strong resemblance here to Morgenstern's "The Night Circus" (mystery abounds, conflict is muted), Helprin's "Winter's Tale" (the city and the country, those who do and do not marvel at magic) and Clarke's "Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell" (opening doors between worlds, while deeper workings are afoot), in almost that sequential order. And yet it predates all of them, and wins in comparison with each. This felt like discovering some ancient predecessor dinosaur that is more impressive than all the dinosaurs I know, a clear antecedent that the others only imitate. Crowley here presents more plot than Morgenstern, more logic than Helprin, more mystery than Clarke.

I don't love everything about it - the pace is often slower than I preferred, conflicts too easily brushed aside - but I loved and appreciated a lot. It achieves what surely no author can purposely aim for but only succeed at by happy accident, that feeling so evasive since childhood and difficult for any adult reader to experience, the sensation that stepping through the looking glass is not so very impossible or far a journey after all. ( )
6 vote Cecrow | Feb 5, 2018 |
This was a slow, lazy, meandering and ambiguous, narrative, and i took my time with it. But there was no hurry, i never felt the urge to skim through. Beautifully written, it fills you with a sense of wonder and awe.

Like the One hundred years of solitude, this tale spans several generations of the Drinkwater family, who live in a kind of solitude, isolation and enchantment and who, are all part of a grand Tale. A slow, dreamlike, magical and haunting tale. There is a sense of discovery associated with it. Rather than following a contrived plot, the tale unfolds slowly.

Despite being about faeries, this novel is not about fairies (fairies and the magic are glimpsed only from the corner of your eyes). It is about humanity and all its failings, explored through many well drawn characters. It is full of big ideas regarding memories, families, religion, and cities that never take over or feel forced.

This is a warm rich novel full of love, that you will spend a lot of time reading and then a lot of time thinking about. Haunting. I wonder why this isn't considered as one of the classics of modern American literature. ( )
2 vote kasyapa | Oct 9, 2017 |
what a bizarre and brilliant book. ( )
  Abbey_Harlow | Oct 5, 2017 |
I gave up. It isn't awful, just not very compelling. I don't hate the characters; I simply don't care enough about any of them to continue spending time with them. ( )
  Kitty.Cunningham | Jul 19, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 90 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Crowley, JohnAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
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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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
For Lynda
who first knew it
with the author's love
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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.
The things that make us happy make us wise.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061120057, Paperback)

John Crowley's masterful Little, Big is the epic story of Smoky Barnable, an anonymous young man who travels by foot from the City to a place called Edgewood—not found on any map—to marry Daily Alice Drinkawater, as was prophesied. It is the story of four generations of a singular family, living in a house that is many houses on the magical border of an otherworld. 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:47 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

John Crowley's masterful "Little, Big" is the epic story of Smoky Barnable, an anonymous young man who travels by foot from the City to a place called Edgewood--not found on any map--to marry Daily Alice Drinkawater, as was prophesied. It is the story of four generations of a singular family, living in a house that is many houses on the magical border of an otherworld. 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.… (more)

» see all 4 descriptions

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