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Publisher's Summary

An irresistible triumph of the imagination more than 30 years in the making, The Little Book is a breathtaking love story that spans generations, ranging from fin de siecle Vienna through the pivotal moments of the 20th century. The Little Book is the extraordinary tale of Wheeler Burden, California-exiled heir of the famous Boston banking Burdens, philosopher, student of history, legend's son, rock idol, writer, lover of women, recluse, half-Jew, and Harvard baseball hero. In 1988 he is 47, living in San Francisco. Suddenly he is - still his modern self - wandering in a city and time he knows mysteriously well: fin de siecle Vienna. It is 1897, precisely 91 years before his last memory and a half-century before his birth.
It's not long before Wheeler has acquired appropriate clothes, money, lodging, a group of young Viennese intellectuals as friends, a mentor in Sigmund Freud, a bitter rival, a powerful crush on a luminous young American woman, a passing acquaintance with local celebrity Mark Twain, and an incredible and surprising insight into the dashing young war-hero father he never knew.
But the truth at the center of Wheeler's dislocation in time remains a stubborn mystery that will take months of exploration and a lifetime of memories to unravel and that will, in the end, reveal nothing short of the eccentric Burden family's unrivaled impact on the very course of the coming century. The Little Book is a masterpiece of unequaled storytelling that announces Selden Edwards as one of the most dazzling, original, entertaining, and inventive novelists of our time.
©2008 Selden Edwards (P)2008 Penguin
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By B. Norwood on 05-07-09


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.

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13 of 13 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By A. Best on 10-25-11


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.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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