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January 16, 2001

i just shelve his books under "brilliant"

James Hynes tries to answer the question "What stands between John Crowley and a serious literary reputation?"

Hynes confesses:

I’ve read Little, Big four times now, and wept shamelessly each time over those last, extraordinary fifty pages, and over the years have purchased and given away fifteen copies of it (when I could find it–it is inconsistently in print). When "You’ll love this" isn’t recommendation enough, I have proceeded to claim (as I’m claiming here) that Little, Big is an Important American Novel that bears comparison to such works as One Hundred Years of Solitude and Nabokov’s Ada.

This sounds so familiar. Little, Big is one of my favorite books and whenever I stumble on a copy, I buy it in the hopes that I can give it to a friend who'll grow to love the book as much as I do.

Hynes tackles the genre question, it's one that science fiction fans talk about a lot:

Still, Crowley’s career is an object lesson for any writer who wants to write serious fiction outside the lines, as it were: once you enter the labyrinth of genre, it may be impossible to find your way out again. It’s all right, apparently, for a writer with an established literary reputation to venture into science fiction [ . . . ] but God forbid someone should try to create literature with the tools of the genre writer.

Anyway. Before I quote the whole article, go read it yourself. It's good stuff whether you're already a fan of Crowley's or not (though it's worth noting that the story contains spoilers for some of Crowley's books).

And here's a link to his latest book: Daemonomania.

Posted by Laurel Krahn at 11:53 AM

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