Little, Big by John Crowley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This will be an easy review for a glorious book of Fae, story, and four generations of an interesting family.
To say it's lyrical misses the point of the theme, that the deeper you look, the bigger it gets. It's true for this novel as it is true for any one of us. A surface glance might get you caught in a fae's trap, such as a kingfisher for a gas station, but when you get caught in the web of love, children, changelings, careers, more love, story, story, and more story, whole vistas open up before us.
And then there are the doors to the fae. We may be kings of a kingdom on the tips of our fingers or be lost in our imaginations... larger than worlds and worlds, never to wake again. Or we can forever hunt for the door to that imagination made real or we could be lost in fever dreams and lose the very idea of love and family.
Either way, we are all megalomaniacs and the meekest of the meek. The magic is real and the most difficult doors can't be crossed and other doors are larger than whole forests and we'll never see them.
And then, of course, there's the fun plot surrounding a deck of special Tarot cards, sleeping emperors, the takeover of America, and talking animals. :)
Honestly, it's hard not to see the deliberate passing of this particular torch to some of my favorite authors. Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell comes to mind. Both are extremely rich and deep and expertly crafted tales of the fae. And let's not forget Valente's Fairyland series which deliberately picks up the flavor and even some of the naming conventions and outright themes from this book!
None are lessened by this comparison. Indeed, they all compliment each other. I'm in love.
I admit to avoiding this book. It was on my radar for 30 years, and yet I just thought it wasn't for me.
How wrong I was! It was absolutely gorgeous!
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