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Guns, Germs, and Steel
Jared Diamond

Little, Big

Little, Big - John Crowley I'll dispense with plot summaries-no need to repeat everyone else.I have not ventured into fantasyland since I read Tolkien way back when. I'm wasn't sure I could suspend belief for faeries although these faeries are very Greek in their manipulation of humans and definitely have their own agenda. Ultimately though I think the faery are a stand-in for any supernatural being and the central idea in this novel is the loss of childhood innocence and romantic nostalgia for a simpler time. There is a bittersweet elegiac atmosphere that pervades and infiltrates this novel and appeals to my sentimental nature ( even though I'm a bit ashamed of it)One of the main characters, Smokey, is not a believer and a large question for me was whether his life was impoverished compared to Daily Alice and her family who feel they have a special relationship with these mystical beings. She feels "protected" by them because of her role/destiny in the Tale. Wouldn't we all like to feel this way?? I think this describes some of the appeal/solace of religion in general. I'm ambivalent- first what I liked:1. very evocative atmosphere with lots of finely detailed observations2. some really interesting ideas/thought experiments: Sophies dream about packaging up useless, wasted and unhappy time that she didn't want to spend by folding it up to take up less room and Ariel Hawksquill's elaborate memory mansion to store and order memories( Tony Judt in his book The Memory Chalet also addresses this ancient idea)and what I didn't like:1. dialogue was wooden- Both Smokey and George Mouse say "well...." a lot and are generally inarticulate enough to get on my nerves2. Crowley needs to step away from the thesaurus- sometimes his obscure terminology is show-offy and distracting 3. Spoiler alert! the ending was a lame rip-off of A Midsummer Night's Dream