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The Little Book

Narrated by: Jeff Woodman
Length: 15 hrs
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4 out of 5 stars (78 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A marvelous debut novel about love and basketball, time travel and rock 'n' roll. Thirty years in the writing, Selden Edwards' dazzling first novel is an irresistible triumph of the imagination. 

Wheeler Burden - banking heir, philosopher, student of history, legend's son, rock idol, writer, lover, recluse, half-Jew, and Harvard baseball hero - one day finds himself wandering not in his hometown of San Francisco in 1988 but in a city and time he knows mysteriously well: Vienna, 1897. Before long, Wheeler acquires a mentor in Sigmund Freud, a bitter rival, a powerful crush on a luminous young woman, and encounters everyone from an eight-year-old Adolf Hitler to Mark Twain, as well as the young members of his own family. 

Solving the riddle of Wheeler's dislocation in time will ultimately reveal nothing short of one eccentric family's unrivaled impact upon the course of human history.

Edwards brilliantly weaves romance, art, sci-fi, history, and culture in this unforgettable debut novel. A great YA listen for those looking for a true adventure! 

©2008 Selden Edwards (P)2008 Penguin

Critic Reviews

"A soaring thing of joy whose only purpose - and I mean this as a compliment - is to delight and entertain." (Maureen Corrigan, Fresh Air)

"Delightfully mad...a thrilling adventure." (San Francisco Chronicle)

"The product of a writer in full command of his gifts." (Louisville Courier-Journal)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Delightful

I've been puzzled by the one review from Jon saying the writing is the "worst." I found this book delightful, tightly written, with a little history, a little romance, and a delightful family saga. One of the best things is that the language is absolutely appropriate to the time/place. In Fin de Siecle Vienna the language reminds me of my grandmother who was 20 years old in the same era in Chicago. The language from the WWII years comes right from my parents who were 20-something then. And the language from 70's and 80's San Francisco, comes out of my own experience. What attention to detail! This is the first time that I have started a book over immediately after finishing it and am discovering the many clues to the conclusion throughout the book! Don't be discouraged by Jon's review.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Beautiful

This is a beautiful, lushly descriptive book in the European style of storytelling. There are twists and turns aplenty - unique enough to keep me absorbed until the end. The narrator seemed uninterested at first, but warms up to the story and characters as he reads, acting more as the story progresses. Characters have depth and the story is rich like full-fat ice cream. I very much enjoyed the story, characters and performance.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting, but not entirely successful

This book was recommended to me by several people whose judgement I trust. However, I found it to be alternately interesting and annoying. Interesting in the time travel concept and the historical setting; annoying because several aspects of the story simply don't ring true. The author goes on and on about how fascinating this teacher is, and how all his students worship him, but never shows why exactly the boys admire him so sincerely. And the main character is portrayed as a godlike character...he doesn't come across as remotely believable or human, he just appears to be there to serve the author's plot purposes.

Also, the narrator uses an oddly toned and stilted voice when reading lines from the female main character...kind of breathy and contrived. I wish he'd kept to a more normal voice rather than trying to sound "feminine".

If you like historical fiction, you might enjoy this more than I did.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Melissa
  • CENTER POINT, AL, United States
  • 07-30-18

Love time travel books?

If you love time travel books, then this book is for you.

I have listened to this book at least 5 times. I love the way the book keeps you vested in the story going back and forth with the characters. Be warned....you will need to take notes the first time you listen in order to keep the grandfather, father, and son straight in order of times they have come from.

Set at the end of the 1890’s in Vienna, the listener will also be transported to a time where so much was changing and so many influential people actually were.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Eve Neuhaus
  • San Luis Obispo, CA, United States
  • 01-10-10

Good book, not such a good reading

As the child of Viennese parents, I enjoyed this playful story but I cringed every time the narrator slaughtered another Viennese German word. I can't believe he didn't even bother to look up the pronunciation of Wien! I found this recording almost unbearable to listen to.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Jon
  • Kehei, HI, USA
  • 03-15-09

WARNING

This has to be some of the worst writing I've had the misfortune to run across in years.

0 of 14 people found this review helpful