June Book Club: Little, Big

The Charlotte Geeks Book Club meets on the second Tuesday of each month. We read a mix of fantasy and sci-fi novels.

The Charlotte Geeks Book Club meets on the second Tuesday of each month from 7-8  pm at Park Road Books in the Park Rd shopping center.  Our illustrious leader and supreme book-chooser, Nathan, alternates the book choices between the fantasy and sci-fi genres.  We have a friendly discussion of the novel’s plot points, characters, and themes (that mostly sometimes stays on topic), and then head next door for drinks, dinner and further discourse at Sir Edmond Halley’s.  Order the ostrich meatloaf if you’re feeling adventurous. 🙂

June Selection: Little, Big by John Crowley

The anonymous Smoky Barnable is instructed to travel on foot from the city to the mysterious Edgewood, that cannot be found on any map, in order to marry Daily Alice Drinkwater. Upon arrival, Smoky finds that he is to become a part of a story that encompasses multiple generations of his newly acquired family and will live in a house that is many houses which may (or may not) be the key to another world.



The book is 500ish pages, but it feels like three times that length, and the story is fairly vague. Things kind of happen or maybe they don’t happen because the characters (and the reader) are never really sure what is what. The fantasy aspects are few and far between with the reader only rarely getting a glimpse into the other world.  You barely get to know any of the characters or understand their reasoning/motivation, and the plot is pretty much nonexistent until the last bit of the book. Also, there are a few aspects that left me feeling a bit icky including a pedo-uncle that likes to photograph his young family members naked, and a drug-addled character basically raping his sleeping cousin.

On the bright side, the prose is beautiful, and a few of the passages are almost like a song. The story weaves back and forth through the different generations and time periods in an interesting way that actually keeps you reading and wanting more. The descriptions of the house, the city, and the wood paint a lovely and vivid picture that I can watch like a movie in my head, and a few of the characters were genuinely likable.

Is it a good book or a bad book? I honestly don’t know. Did I like it? Um, sort of…but I wouldn’t really recommend it to anyone. I would say read Jonathan Strange & Mr Norell instead.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iE1nsOoTJos&w=560&h=315]


Park Road Books

Would you like to join us next month? You can RSVP here on the Meetup site.

Don’t forget to grab your copy of this month’s selection from Park Road Books for a 20% discount!