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Little, Big: or, The Fairies' Parliament | [John Crowley]

Little, Big: or, The Fairies' Parliament

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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.

What the Critics Say

“A book that all by itself calls for a redefinition of fantasy.” (Ursula K. Le Guin)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.3 (64 )
5 star
 (21)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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3.5 (55 )
5 star
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Story
3.2 (56 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Jefferson Jonan-ku, Fukuoka-shi, Japan 04-19-12
    Jefferson Jonan-ku, Fukuoka-shi, Japan 04-19-12 Member Since 2010

    I love reading and listening to books, especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, historical, and classics.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1345
    ratings
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    15
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    "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.

    15 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    phyllis MIAMI, FL, United States 09-22-12
    phyllis MIAMI, FL, United States 09-22-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
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    1
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    "So disappointed with "hearing" my favorite book :("
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    no, i could not even get through to part 2 :(


    What other book might you compare Little, Big to and why?

    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...


    Have you listened to any of John Crowley’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    no, i have not


    Did Little, Big inspire you to do anything?

    it inspired me to pick up and read my hard copy book again -- and again


    Any additional comments?

    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...

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Belmont CHESTNUT HILL, MA, United States 03-02-13
    Belmont CHESTNUT HILL, MA, United States 03-02-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Indescribable"
    What made the experience of listening to Little, Big the most enjoyable?

    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.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    If you read this, you will understand why I can't answer this.


    Which character – as performed by John Crowley – was your favorite?

    The only character voice Is Violets father.....and appropriate.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    What a lowest-common-denominator question. As with any truly great book, the only answer is.... Yes.


    Any additional comments?

    Read this.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Div Arlington, MA, United States 07-02-13
    Div Arlington, MA, United States 07-02-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "understated but compelling telling"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jacquelyn Florida 01-18-12
    jacquelyn Florida 01-18-12 Member Since 2010

    Artist, Yogi, lover of strange books

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "My favorite book, read by the author."
    Would you consider the audio edition of Little, Big to be better than the print version?

    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.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Little, Big?

    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.


    Which character ??? as performed by John Crowley ??? was your favorite?

    I like all the characters too much to pick just one. I identify a lot with Daily Alice.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    This book gives me a feeling of wonder that I only remember from childhood.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Emily 06-14-14
    Emily 06-14-14 Member Since 2013
    ratings
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    "Couldn't finish it."
    Would you try another book from John Crowley and/or John Crowley?

    Maybe


    If you’ve listened to books by John Crowley before, how does this one compare?

    no


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of John Crowley?

    YES!!!


    What character would you cut from Little, Big?

    Dont know


    Any additional comments?

    I Think the story could have been great if it were narrated by someone that was not so monotoned. It needed some life. His voice and tone just grated on every fiber of my being. I couldn't finish the story.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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