Little, Big

John Crowley
Little, Big Cover

Little, Big


This is a huge fairy tale, covering generations of characters and places. At one point Auberon asks "How do you keep all these people straight?" and I sympathize with him.

While the characters are fully fleshed and interesting, and the journeys are magical, there is a distinct lack of conflict. The main antagonist shows up quite late in the tale, and barely affects most of the characters. Women in this story are more attuned to the magic, with the men more or less plodding along. In this respect, it seems the male antagonist is also doomed from the start.

John Crowley has said "I wanted to write novels with the breadth and depth of the greatest realistic fiction," and this book does have some anchors in the real world. The "Big City" is not named, but late in the book the nearby rivers are, leaving it to be New York. The realism is further strained with the dystopia that our future has become.

In conclusion, I was not thrilled with this book. I liked a few aspects of it, but most felt too large for me. Someday I may reread it, and someday I may run across someone who finds it wonderful to compare notes. Until then, 2 stars is the most I can muster.