A Little, Big Read-Along; Care To Join In?


Peter Milton’s title page artwork for the upcoming 25th anniversary edition of John Crowley’s Little, Big.
Peter Milton’s title page artwork for the 25th anniversary edition of John Crowley’s Little, Big.

On a certain day in June, 19__, a young man was making his way on foot northward from the great City to a town or place called Edgewood, that he had been told of but had never visited.  His name was Smokey Barnable, and he was going to Edgewood to get married; the fact that he walked and didn’t ride was one of the conditions placed on his coming there at all.

So begins John Crowley’s book Little, Big. It is a book which won the World Fantasy Award in 1982 and celebrated its 25th anniversary this past February. The illustrations for that special edition were done by Peter Milton, the title page of which you can see at the top of this post.

John Crowley’s masterful Little, Big is the epic story of Smoky Barnable, an anonymous young man who travel by foot from the City to a place called Edgewood–not found on any map–to marry Daily Alice Drinkwater, as was prophesied. It is the story of four generations of a singular family, living in a house that is many houses on the magical border of an otherworld. It is a story of fantastic love and heartrending loss; of impossible things and unshakable destinies; and of the great Tale that envelops us all. It is a wonder. (back cover)

Little BigTom of Wuthering Expectations and Helen of a gallimaufry and I are planning on reading Little, Big by John Crowley this May.  With six “Books” inside, we could discuss Books 1-3 on May 16, and Books 4-6 on May 30. But, please don’t feel tied to that schedule. You could post as you read, or post not at all, whatever works for you. Everyone is so welcome to join us! Just leave a comment below if you wish to make it official, or simply dabble your toes in with us as we read along.

32 thoughts on “A Little, Big Read-Along; Care To Join In?”

  1. I have not read fantastic literature of any kind for a long time, but I bought this book a year or so ago and I think this might be a great way to read it. By May I might be able to find the time but the first date falls in the middle of a conference I am attending so I would probably post my thoughts on the first half before or after that weekend.


    1. Oh, hooray! I’m so glad you’ll join us! Please don’t be “worried” about dates; whenever you wish to post your thoughts would be wonderful. I do so love reading with others, and I’m so happy you’re willing to participate.


  2. Man, that 25th anniversary edition is going to be a beauty. I was so tempted, many years ago, to pre-order a copy, but I am not a book collector, so thrift prevailed. And the book is not even ready yet! It was not, originally, meant to be a 25th anniversary edition! It just took years to finish.

    My own copy is an unusually ugly one, a Quality Paperback Book Club edition bound with a couple of the earlier science fiction novels. The regular paperback is much more attractive.


    1. Mine is the edition which I’ve pictured at the bottom of the post. But, my goodness, I’m tempted to pre-order a trade edition (all that’s left now that the numbered ones are sold out) for $100 or so. Except, I’m not really a book collector either, and I don’t even know if I’ll adore this one. Though I suspect I might…

      I once spent a ridiculous amount on a limited Murakami, but I’m not sorry. He’s one of my favorite authors, and I own every book he’s written in one edition or another. Oh, for a signed copy of one!


        1. Thanks for responding, Caroline, I’ll go check it out. And, I do admire your Literature and War read-alongs. Some day, when I am not so concerned for my own son, I’d like to participate.


  3. Hi Bellezza,
    Caroline told me you’re hosting this read-along and since this is a book I’ve wanted to read for a long time, today I decided to join you. I’ll be reading this on my Kindle. Thanks for hosting this read-along. I’m really looking forward to it now.


    1. Trust Caroline to spread the news of read-alongs; she told me of Kushiel’s Dart which I’m trying. So glad that you’re willing to jump on board with Little, Big; welcome! I’m looking forward to the book, but even more, our discussion of it.


  4. Oh good, more people are joining in! I can’t wait. I might start reading it now! 🙂 (That might not be a bad idea, I am so bad at anything with even the loosest of timetables.) Thanks so much for organising this.


    1. I feel I should start, too, I’m itching to begin. We have a nice little group, for each participant I am grateful( it’s especially good to organize thugs when there’s an interest. xo


  5. I’d love to join in too. I read this back in the 1980s shortly after it first appeared in paperback. I’ve been meaning to re-read it for ages as I’ve forgotten it completely and know many regard it as one of the finest fantasy novels. So count me in – for starting at least – I’m terrible at keeping up with readalongs.


    1. Annabel, I’m thrilled you want to join us! It will be so helpful to have you and Helen give us insight as this will be reread for you both. Don’t worry about “keeping up”, just do as you please. Of course. xo


    1. We’d love to have you join us, Lory! I’m glad to hear that you’re another reader who loved the book. Fit it in as you can, whatever input you can add is wonderful.


  6. I’m going to try to join you too. I started this book last summer, on audio, and although I found a copy of the paperback, didn’t pursue it. This May I am again driving back and forth to Iowa, 12 hours each way, but since the narrator of the one I’d found has a droning voice, I’ll take the paperback along.


  7. I’m so glad you’re joining in. I can see where a drowning voice would be the worst, especially when driving, but if you read it from paper I’m sure you will find it as lyrical as I do. Maybe this is just a case of the right book at the right time, but I am crazy about this book right now.


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