Little, Big

  • by John Crowley
  • Narrated by John Crowley
  • 24 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Edgewood - which is not found on any map - is many houses, all put inside each other or across each other. It’s filled with and surrounded by mystery and enchantment; the further in you go, the bigger it gets.
Smoky Barnable, who has fallen in love with Daily Alice Drinkwater, travels from the City on foot to Edgewood, her family home. There he finds himself on the magical border of an otherworld.
Crowley’s work has a special alchemy - mixing the world we know with an imagined world that seems more true and real. Winner of the World Fantasy Award, Little, Big is elegant, sensual, funny, and unforgettable. It is a story of fantastic love and heartrending loss, of impossible things and unshakable destinies, and of the great Tale that envelops us all. It is a wonder.
John Crowley is an American writer who has also worked in television and documentary films. His fantasy and science fiction have established him as a major voice in imaginative writing. His other novels include The Deep, Engine Summer, and Ægypt.

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What the Critics Say

“A book that all by itself calls for a redefinition of fantasy.” (Ursula K. Le Guin)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

The Farther in You Go, the Bigger it Gets

Little, Big is a sublime, earthy, artificial, moving, humorous, intimate, and epic novel. Its absorbing and intricate ???Tale??? relates the history of multiple generations of the Bramble/Drinkwater/Mouse clan from the late 19th century through the early 21st and their relations with ???Them??? (fairies or elementals) who perhaps inhabit an ???infundibular??? series of worlds nested inside our ???real" world that are nevertheless bigger than our world, with the innermost smallest center, ???There??? (Elsewhere or Faerie), being infinitely large inside. At the heart of the novel is the family???s countryside folly-house Edgewood, which, bigger inside than outside, is a perhaps a doorway to Elsewhere.

I really liked author John Crowley???s reading of his novel. Unlike virtuoso professional audiobook readers, he doesn???t change his voice much to distinguish between characters (male and female, old and young, British or American, educated and uneducated, fairy and human, and so on), but he does express their different thoughts and feelings and personalities so as to tell a compelling story. And his voice is appealing, a little nasal, a little gravelly, a little high, and full of lots of humor, compassion, and wisdom, just right for his Tale.

I???m unsure, though, why a woman reads the numeric chapter titles as well as their many sub-section headings (bold font in the book). Her voice is too much like a TV commercial voice, and I wish Crowley himself had read the titles of books, chapters, and sub-chapters.

Looking at the mediocre customer ratings for the audiobook, I believe that some listeners must have expected a faster paced, more exciting and movie-friendly fantasy, whereas Little, Big requires patience, because its rhythms are contemplative and speculative, gradually absorbing and deeply satisfying.

Little, Big evokes the tantalizing feeling that everything you desire might be just beside you, but if you look directly at it, you???ll miss it, or that the heart of fantasy and love is reachable only by paths that lead away from it. Daily Alice describing what it???s like to see the world from inside a rainbow, Smoky Barnable receiving heavy gifts from fairies he can???t believe in, Auberon whispering to Sylvie in a train station when she is and is not there, Ariel Hawsquill looking through the rooms of her memory mansion, George Mouse dealing with a wizened changeling, Lilac flying on the back of a stork around her sleeping mother and shouting ???Wake up!??? . . . . There is more magic (imagination, wonder, thought, feeling, and pleasure) on any given page of Little, Big than in most other fantasy novels and series. Crowley???s novel, like the Edgewood house, is a work of art, memory, and love, a doorway into Elsewhere.
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- Jefferson "I love reading and listening to books, especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, historical, and classics."

So disappointed with "hearing" my favorite book :(

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

no, i could not even get through to part 2 :(


What other book might you compare Little, Big to and why?

There is no other book like Little, Big, but I would say it is of the same ilk as The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, and other sweepting saga's with supernatural overtones...


Have you listened to any of John Crowley’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

no, i have not


Did Little, Big inspire you to do anything?

it inspired me to pick up and read my hard copy book again -- and again


Any additional comments?

i was sort of amazed that i found Crowley's reading of my most favorite, and his most famous novel, so tedious...when i first heard that it was available, i was so excited to have my most cherished saga/tale read to me...i joined audible immediately for this one book alone...making myself some hot chocolate and preparing my most comfortable place to recline, i readied myself for the chance of a lifetime --- NOT...i am so sorry to say that the first thing i was taken aback by was the author's voice...of course i did not judge the reading by voice alone, it was just the first thing that struck me...it was of a higher tone than expected, and his incredible way of depicting a scene or dialogue, in the translation to the read word, felt so thin, so deflated, so altered...Crowley seemed to be rushing his text, almost to the point of sounding memorized and doing a "practice session," which takes away some of the most delicate is something i have always relished about the book -- it's meandering, gentle, yet so emotive tone, which, with his reading, i found to be totally lacking...How could this be? It almost felt as though this was a "job" for him and the enthusiasm in punctuation seemed almost non-existent :( ... i was so left in a state of non-belief, as i assumed if anyone could read this book in the tone in which it was written, it would be John Crowley...I have read the book aloud to close friends during the 1/4 of a century since i was first turned on to it...Even I would emphasize some of the brilliant prose that took such skill when writing, the first few times i read it i found myself weeping from the sheer beauty of his written word...i guess not everyone possesses the necessary tools in all departments...perhaps some books should be left to the silence of our minds' ear...not certain if this one fits into the "unhearable" category, but do believe that Crowley does not do his masterpiece justice by electing to do the reading himself...

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- phyllis michele "phyllis michele greenhouse"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-09-2011
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.