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by Edward Carey

Books of the Month Historical Fiction Modern and Contemporary Fiction

LoveReading View on Little

A truly fascinating and readable story that gathers thoughts, surprises feelings, and encourages hearts to fill. Opening in 1761, we meet Marie who tells of her life as a servant, a seemingly simple start collides with one of the most bizarre and violent times in French history. Edward Carey writes with true eloquence as Marie relives her story with a quiet and gentle resilience. Drawings sit alongside the words, sharing space, further exploring the passageways through her mind. There is true horror to be found, from the small and intimate to the huge and inconceivable, human nature, human needs, human wants spill from the page while we soak up Marie’s life. There is also magic waiting to be discovered, and as the ending approached and a particular realisation was made, I exclaimed out loud. This is a tale that is seeped in fact and is now calling for me to take a little wander into the history books and discover more about this time. Beautifully written, ‘Little’ is a unique novel sharing gruesome shivers and moments of touching heartache to create a perfect reading moment in time.

Visit our 'Women's Words - 60+ works of feminist-minded fiction' to explore our collection of feminist-minded fiction from around the world, and across centuries.

Liz Robinson

Little Synopsis

There is a space between life and death: it's called waxworks Born in Alsace in 1761, the unsightly, diminutive Marie Grosholtz is quickly nicknamed Little. Orphaned at the age of six, she finds employment in the household of reclusive anatomist, Dr Curtius. Her role soon surpasses that of mere servant as the eccentric doctor takes an interest in his newfound companion and begins to instruct her in the fine art of wax modelling. From the gutters of pre-revolutionary France to the luxury of the Palace of Versailles, from clutching the still-warm heads of Robespierre's Terror to finding something very like love, Little traces the improbable fortunes of a bloodstained crumb of a thing who went on to shape the world... 

Little Press Reviews

'Little is that rare thing - a unique novel with a unique and fully-realised voice, rich in deadpan wit and surgically precise observation. By turns tragic, bizarre and deeply moving Little introduces readers to a heroine like no other and a book that will truly last. It is an absolute delight.' A.L Kennedy

'Edward Carey writes wonderfully weird books about wonderfully weird things. This one imagines the life of Madame Tussaud--of wax museum fame--as a little girl. It's a hefty historical novel that promises to be a pageturner, too.' --Celeste Ng, author of Little Fires Everywhere

'Delightful, eccentric, heartfelt, surprising, philosophical.' Eleanor Catton, author of The Luminaries

'Wonderful' Max Porter, author of Grief is the Thing with Feathers

'What a bizarrely brilliant book. An absorbing, moving and darkly humorous reimagining of the life of Marie Groscholtz, the little servant girl who would become Madame Tussaud.' -- Anna Mazzola, author of The Unseeing

'An exquisitely disturbing treasure of a novel. Sensual, unassumingly poignant, hilarious, heartbreaking, cruel, joyous: Edward Carey's Little is a triumph and one of the most intoxicating novels I've read. I never wanted to leave Marie's side.' --Sarah Schmidt, author of See What I Have Done

'An extravagant tall tale about someone very small in a history that still looks so very large, Little is bawdy, tragic, mesmerizing, hilarious. If you've forgotten why you'd even read a novel, Edward Carey is here to set you straight.' --Alexander Chee, author of The Queen of the Night

'Exquisitely sensitive to all the warmth, vigour, humour, woe, and peculiarities of human nature, as if Carey had a dowsing rod capable of divining what hides within the human heart.' Kelly Link, author of Get in Trouble

'A delightfully strange portrait of a young orphan honing her eccentric craft amid the tumult of the French Revolution. Carey's flair for macabre whimsy has drawn comparisons to Tim Burton (take a look at the illustrations and you can see why). While death haunts this story, between vibrant characters and riveting historical detail, Little is a novel that teems with life.' --Time

'It is Carey's uniquely inventive style that makes this novel so completely, wickedly, addictive.' -- Big Issue

'One of the most inventive novels I've read in a long time. Little by Edward Carey is alive with the unexpected and that's before you even get to his disquieting illustrations.' -- The Pool

'In an age in which historical female figures have gained more posthumous recognition, Little is a perfectly weaved story of a woman who has captured the imagination of many, but has been written about by few. From Marie's perspective, the difficulties 18th-century women faced in order to achieve recognition or success are illuminated for the modern reader.' -- Culture Trip

'Sparkling, bizarre [and] several years in the making.' --Entertainment Weekly

'If this were music, Carey would be Eric Satie. If it were film, he would be Tim Burton' Newsday

'Conveyed with so much sympathy and acute observation that it is hard not to be beguiled' The Times

'The kind of book you want to shove into the hands of all your friends, just so you have someone to gush about it with.' Buzzfeed Books

'There is nothing ordinary about this book. Carey, with sumptuous turns of phrase, fashions a fantastical world that churns with vitality, especially his


a female Candide at once surreal and full of heart.' Publishers Weekly (starred)

'Carey channels the ghosts of Charles Dickens, Henry Fielding, and the Brothers Grimm to tell Marie's tale... A quirky, compelling story that deepens into a meditation on mortality and art.' Kirkus Reviews (starred)

'A wonderfully weird exploration of spectacles, from wax heads to revolutions, that will delight lovers of the macabre.' BookPage

'Lavishly illustrated with Marie's strange and compelling drawings, Edward Carey's Little is a boldly original reimagining of the life of the woman who would become the legendary Madame Tussaud.' Library Journal (Editor's Pick)

'An immensely creative epic...Mingling a sense of playfulness with macabre history, Carey depicts the excesses of wealth and violence during the French Revolution through the eyes of a talented woman who lived through it and survived...The unique perspective, witty narrative voice, and clever illustrations make for an irresistible read.' Booklist (starred review)

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781910709535
Publication date: 16/05/2019
Publisher: Aardvark Bureau an imprint of Gallic Books
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781910709399
Publication date: 01/10/2018
Publisher: Aardvark Bureau an imprint of Gallic Books
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781910709535
Publication date: 16th May 2019
Author: Edward Carey
Publisher: Aardvark Bureau an imprint of Gallic Books
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 400 pages
Genres: Books of the Month, Historical Fiction, Modern and Contemporary Fiction,
Collections: 60+ works of feminist-minded fiction - Women’s Words,
Categories: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),

About Edward Carey

Edward Carey was born in Norfolk, England. He is a novelist, visual artist and has also written and directed a number of plays for the National Theatre of Romania and the Vilnius Small State Theatre, Lithuania. In England his plays and adaptations have been performed at the Young Vic Studio, the Battersea Arts Centre, and the Royal Opera House Studio. He is the author of the novels Observatory Mansions, Alva and Irva, and the acclaimed YA series The Iremonger Trilogy, which has been published in thirteen countries and has been optioned for film adaptation. After university, Edward worked at Madame ...

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