John Crowley’s Little, Big

We’ve been having a discussion in the Pub on which house in fantasy and science-fiction appeals to us. Lots of them got mentioned from, as one staffer noted, ‘The old, rambling building that houses the College of Shadows in Schweitzer’s Mask of the Sorcerer. Constantly shifting, new rooms appearing or disappearing, and a library that holds not only every book written, but every book that could have been written, whether it was or not’ to, as another staffer noted ‘Evenmere, or The High House as it’s also called, in Stoddard’s Evenmere series is my favorite as it contains the entire universe within its walls! Charles de Lint’s Tamson House in the novel of the same name is my other fav house.’

But the clear winner was Edgewood which is the house in John Crowley’s Little, Big novel; the novel won the World Fantasy Award in 1982; and a twenty-fifth anniversary edition is in the works which will possibly be out in the time for thirtieth anniversary which is this year proving you can’t rush book publishers or writers!

As one staffer said, ‘Edgewood has multiple faces, each with a different personality, depending on how you approach it, and it’s insides are both labyrinthine and mysterious as well as staid old New England country house. It’s the home of the Drinkwaters, who are a big clan whose family tree is labyrinthine and mysterious as well as staid, and whose ancestors aren’t so much gone and forgotten as transformed, alive in the hills in a different way. It’s beautifully written, and one of the seminal books of my youth.’

Ursula Le Guin said of Little, Big that it is ‘One of the best novels ever done about the Fairies – whom we never see in anything we can trust to be their true forms, and whose motives and morality are genuinely Not Ours. they mean us no ill… They mean us no good either.’

You can find the first chapter here, and you can read our review this away. Details on the twenty-fifth anniversary edition are here.

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