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Little, Big by John Crowley
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Little, Big (edition 2006)

by John Crowley

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,902821,988 (4.11)2 / 187
Member:Tuirgin
Title:Little, Big
Authors:John Crowley
Info:William Morrow Paperbacks (2006), Paperback, 538 pages
Collections:Your library, Favorites, Recommendations
Rating:*****
Tags:speculative fiction, _paperback, families, faeries, memory, fiction, urban fantasy, fantasy

Work details

Little, Big by John Crowley (Author)

  1. 60
    From the Dust Returned by Ray Bradbury (isabelx)
    isabelx: Otherworldly extended families.
  2. 30
    The Gormenghast Novels : Titus Groan / Gormenghast / Titus Alone by Mervyn Peake (chrisharpe)
  3. 30
    Lolly Willowes, or The Loving Huntsman by Sylvia Townsend Warner (chrisharpe)
  4. 53
    The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly (antqueen)
  5. 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.
  6. 10
    Arcady by Michael Williams (Sakerfalcon)
    Sakerfalcon: Literate, sometimes obscure, fantasies that centre around an extended family and their home. Atmospheric and mysterious.
  7. 32
    The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (ktbarnes)
  8. 10
    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.
  9. 32
    Among Others by Jo Walton (LamontCranston)
    LamontCranston: Similar style and approach to the world of faerie
  10. 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.
  11. 00
    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)
  12. 11
    Lanark by Alasdair Gray (chrisharpe)
  13. 11
    Not Wanted on the Voyage by Timothy Findley (chrisharpe)
  14. 22
    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.
  15. 01
    The Wapshot Chronicle by John Cheever (fduwald)
    fduwald: Hier ist der Ursprung von Edgewood.
  16. 13
    Solstice Wood by Patricia A. McKillip (craso)
  17. 14
    The Magicians by Lev Grossman (rarm)
    rarm: Fairy tale worlds that reveal a hidden darkness.
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Showing 1-5 of 82 (next | show all)
Is there anything to this besides world-building and poetic language? Probably - but I don't have the patience to find out.
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
I'll dispense with plot summaries-no need to repeat everyone else.

I have not ventured into fantasyland since I read Tolkien way back when. I'm wasn't sure I could suspend belief for faeries although these faeries are very Greek in their manipulation of humans and definitely have their own agenda. Ultimately though I think the faery are a stand-in for any supernatural being and the central idea in this novel is the loss of childhood innocence and romantic nostalgia for a simpler time. There is a bittersweet elegiac atmosphere that pervades and infiltrates this novel and appeals to my sentimental nature ( even though I'm a bit ashamed of it)

One of the main characters, Smokey, is not a believer and a large question for me was whether his life was impoverished compared to Daily Alice and her family who feel they have a special relationship with these mystical beings. She feels "protected" by them because of her role/destiny in the Tale. Wouldn't we all like to feel this way?? I think this describes some of the appeal/solace of religion in general.



I'm ambivalent- first what I liked:

1. very evocative atmosphere with lots of finely detailed observations

2. some really interesting ideas/thought experiments: Sophies dream about packaging up useless, wasted and unhappy time that she didn't want to spend by folding it up to take up less room and Ariel Hawksquill's elaborate memory mansion to store and order memories( Tony Judt in his book [b:The Memory
Chalet|9413960|The Memory Chalet|Tony Judt|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1287995246s/9413960.jpg|14298070] also addresses this ancient idea)

and what I didn't like:

1. dialogue was wooden- Both Smokey and George Mouse say "well...." a lot and are generally inarticulate enough to get on my nerves

2. Crowley needs to step away from the thesaurus- sometimes his obscure terminology is show-offy and distracting

3. Spoiler alert!

the ending was a lame rip-off of A Midsummer Night's Dream ( )
1 vote prairiegrl | Mar 17, 2015 |
Arguably the first urban fantasy novel.
  librarycatnip | Jan 12, 2015 |
Arguably the first urban fantasy novel.
  raselyem7 | Aug 30, 2014 |
Smoky Barnable marries Daily Alice Drinkwater, whose family owns a mysterious house called Edgewood. The story of their marriage and descendants is told with flashbacks to earlier generations as the family's part in the Tale becomes clear.

This is a wonderful fantasy novel which follows a completely different track to the usual sub-Tolkeinesque worlds. The ending is heartbreaking ( )
  Robertgreaves | Jul 26, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 82 (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
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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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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:31:45 -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)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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