Little

A Novel
Narrated by: Jayne Entwistle
Length: 14 hrs and 14 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (224 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"An amazing achievement... A compulsively readable novel, so canny and weird and surfeited with the reality of human capacity and ingenuity that I am stymied for comparison. Dickens and David Lynch? Defoe meets Margaret Atwood? Judge for yourself." (Gregory Maguire, New York Times best-selling author of Wicked

The wry, macabre, unforgettable tale of an ambitious orphan in Revolutionary Paris, befriended by royalty and radicals, who transforms herself into the legendary Madame Tussaud.

In 1761, a tiny, odd-looking girl named Marie is born in a village in Switzerland. After the death of her parents, she is apprenticed to an eccentric wax sculptor and whisked off to the seamy streets of Paris, where they meet a domineering widow and her quiet, pale son. Together, they convert an abandoned monkey house into an exhibition hall for wax heads, and the spectacle becomes a sensation. 

As word of her artistic talent spreads, Marie is called to Versailles, where she tutors a princess and saves Marie Antoinette in childbirth. But outside the palace walls, Paris is roiling: The revolutionary mob is demanding heads, and...at the wax museum, heads are what they do.

In the tradition of Gregory Maguire's Wicked and Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus, Edward Carey's Little is a darkly endearing cavalcade of a novel - a story of art, class, determination, and how we hold on to what we love.

©2018 Edward Carey (P)2018 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"An amazing achievement.... A compulsively readable novel, so canny and weird and surfeited with the reality of human capacity and ingenuity that I am stymied for comparison. Dickens and David Lynch? Defoe meets Margaret Atwood? Judge for yourself." (Gregory Maguire, New York Times best-selling author of Wicked)

“Carey channels the ghosts of Charles Dickens, Henry Fielding, and the Brothers Grimm to tell Marie's tale, populating it with grotesques and horrors worthy of Madame Tussaud's celebrated wax museum.... A quirky, compelling story that deepens into a meditation on mortality and art.” (Kirkus Reviews, starred) 

“[A] marvelous, weird, and vividly imagined new novel...A fantastic winter tale, a big, patient read full of reversals of fortune and fabulous glimpses of a time not unlike our own when a new technology of likeness brought the giants of media and politics closer than ever, with its promises of a kind of immortality. Subtly, without calling attention to it, Carey has woven a beautiful parable about the power of that proximity. How we rage to bring the world above and around us down to our size, and yet when we do, the big questions remain: How and who to love? How to be decent? How to be fair?" (Boston Globe)

“An immensely creative epic...Mingling a sense of playfulness with macabre history, Carey depicts the excesses of wealth and violence during the French Revolution through the eyes of a talented woman who lived through it and survived.... The unique perspective, witty narrative voice, and clever illustrations make for an irresistible read.” (Booklist, starred) 

What listeners say about Little

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Little is a Treat

I very much enjoyed this somewhat strange and slightly dark book about the woman who came to be known as Madame Tussaud. There’s much to be enjoyed here by lovers of the French Revolution, but also readers who appreciate wax museums, taxidermy or bone rooms. There’s a wonderful quality to this book, like a room filled with long-forgotten and dusty treasures. It seems to invite you to brush away the cobwebs and come inside. Also, I feel that the narration is perfect for this book. I highly recommend it!

5 people found this helpful

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Extraordinary!

I am such a fan of Edward Carey, and this story made me into a full-fledged devotee. I usually have audiobooks on as background while I work, but with each new name that popped up I found myself Googling bits of the story. What a life and what an amazing way to tell it. Beautifully told and beautifully narrated.

2 people found this helpful

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Beautiful narration

This almost-fairytale like story is absolutely enhanced by Jayne Entwistle's lovely narration. The story and prose are good, but there were some sections that were overlong, needing a good trim by about 100 pages. The ending seemed to lose momentum. Still, an unusual story with a sympathetic main character.

1 person found this helpful

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Not what I expected...

I should have done some research about the author before downloading this audiobook because I am not a big fan of his writing style. To me the story was weird, filled with strange details and bizarre situations that made it hard to follow.
The narration though was excellent. I think Jayne Entwistle was the only reason why I was able to finish listening to the story.

3 people found this helpful

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good listen

enjoyed both the historical fiction and the narration. I love when a book sends me down a rabbit hole looking up actual history!

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narrator & story tops

This book was my husband's selection; I'm sorry to say I wasn't anticipating the read from the cover and brief summary. Once we started listening we were hooked - didn't miss a word of Marie's life journey.

We have been fans of Jayne Entwistle for several years - great performance! It was subtle, but I really like the way she matured her voice as Marie, childhood to woman.

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Grotesque and Beautiful

Just like the times she lived in, Marie's story fascinating and a bit horrifying too. It was interesting to read about a woman who's name I've heard mentioned for as long as I can remember. Sort of like the "Guiness Book of World Record", it's just always been there, but never given any consideration to its origin. First, what a time to live... really to survive. The French Revolution sounds horrible enough, but to experience it through the eyes of Little was something else. You just keep hoping her situation will improve, and then it doesn't, but she never gets down about it. In fact, there is something very charming about the way she handles life and all it throws at her. Then to hear how she became a successful artist. How she surpassed all those who belittled and devalued her. How she became Madam Tussad. What a cool story.

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Delightful

Lovely narration, smooth plot and characters and oh the details! I will reread/listen and recommend.

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Lost opportunity

Although the book started off wonderfully, it lost its most interesting dynamic as soon as the main character left Bern. The relationship between Curtius and Marie had so much potential for development and was a main strength of the story. What a shame that relationship and how it was to affect the artistic development of Marie was so quickly abandoned for characters that seemed to be an attempt to crank up the oddity factor another notch.

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Charming, endearing, dreamlike ...

Loved this book. The reader was perfectly chosen. I cannot imagine Little sounding like anyone else. The writing - the words that were chosen and the way they were used and combined - was charming, endearing, and dreamlike. And what a story. I would like to have met Little.