|Submitted by bluecarp |
(Feb 17, 2002)
It is heartbreaking to me that this most gifted of writers is not better known. And it's even more painful to find no other reviews (as of this writing) of John Crowley's work. "Little, Big" is his masterpiece and is hands down my favorite book of all time. In short, the book is about an American family's relationship with fairies, but to describe it that way is to say that the Lord of the Rings is about a furry-footed creature on a dangerous journey to destroy a magic ring by dropping it into a fiery mountain.
The book opens with a man, Smokey Barnable, walking to his wedding because that's one of the conditions placed upon him by his bride's family; he leaves the City behind and travels by foot into the forests and hills upstate, eventually coming to a place called Edgewood and a remarkable, many-sided "folly house" built by an architect at the turn of the century whose wife seems to have a mysterious connection with Faerie. This description barely scratches the surface, but hopefully it will tempt you to seek out this book.
I've heard Crowley described as a writer's writer, and some have called him the next Cormac McCarthy, but I think he's better (more lyrical, less violent, and no cowboys, thank goodness!)...and if you appreciate the fantasy/historical fiction genre, then Crowley is for you. Much of his work is peppered with influences from other cultures and other eras, and sometimes the narrative can be tricky to follow, but the reader is rewarded by intense imagery and stunning prose. As one who "would like to write someday," each time I pick up a book by Crowley, I absolutely ache because there's no way I could even come close to being this good. The man is simply brilliant.
It's a lengthy book, so if you would prefer to try something shorter of Crowley's, read "Great Work of Time." If you like that novella, you'll love "Little, Big."