Little, Big by John Crowley

Buy it at Amazon.com

The 150-word Review: I haven’t read many fantasy novels, but if there are more “fantasy” authors like John Crowley out there, I’ve been shamefully deprived. Crowely’s magnificent novel, “Little, Big” destroyed all of my misconceptions about the fantasy genre with a subtle mastery few have the talent to match. Without exaggerating, this is one of the best books I’ve ever read.

Marrying into a close-knit family can be a perplexing endeavor. Success requires a willingness to immerse oneself within its lore, its superstitions, and its convolutions. When Smokey Barnable leaves the City to wed the elegantly mysterious Alice Drinkwater, he discovers he must also enter a world that lies just at the edges of his perception. “Little, Big” is story about four generations of the Drinkwater family and their home, Edgewood, which, as with many families, encompasses a word in itself, only in theirs: “the farther in you go the bigger it gets.

Having this book on your shelf will impress: fans of A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Simonides of Ceos, Giordano Bruno, and Gottfried Leibniz; genealogy buffs; unibrow fetishizers; Frederick Barbarossa; Lewis Carroll; and anyone into universal retreating infidibuli.

This book will go great with: a tall drink of water.

Set the mood with: Good Vibrations by the Beach Boys

Clavinism (stuff that will not make you look cool in a bar): Actually Norm, Ariel Hawksquill’s Cosmo-Opticon is a unique version of an orrery or a model of the planets and their motions.

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