Blue Rider Press
Publication Date: September 13, 2016
Date Read: September 5, 2016
Source: First to Read
A stunning, provocative new novel from New York Times bestselling author Marisa Silver, Little Nothing is the story of Pavla, a child scorned for her physical deformity, whose passion and salvation lie in her otherworldly ability to transform herself and the world around her.
In an unnamed country at the beginning of the last century, a child called Pavla is born to peasant parents. Her arrival, fervently anticipated and conceived in part by gypsy tonics and archaic prescriptions, stuns her parents and brings outrage and disgust from her community. Pavla has been born a dwarf, beautiful in face, but as the years pass, she grows no further than the edge of her crib. When her parents turn to the treatments of a local doctor and freak sideshow proprietor, his terrifying cure opens the floodgates persecution for Pavla. Little Nothing unfolds across a lifetime of unimaginable, magical transformation in and out of human form, as this outcast woman is hunted down and incarcerated for her desires, her body broken and her identity stripped away until her soul is strong enough to transcend all physical bounds. Woven throughout is the journey of Danilo, the young man entranced by Pavla, obsessed only with protecting her. Part allegory about the shifting nature of being, part subversive fairy tale of love in all its uncanny guises, Little Nothing spans the beginning of a new century, the disintegration of ancient superstitions and the adoption of industry and invention. With a cast of remarkable characters, a wholly shocking and original story, and extraordinary, page-turning prose, Silver delivers a novel of sheer electricity.
What a delightful story this book turned out to be! I am really not sure what made me request this book when I saw it offered on First to Read. The cover is okay but nothing amazing. I have never read any other books written by Marisa Silver. Something made me request this one and I am so glad that I did. I was sucked into the story and ended up reading almost all of it in a single day. When I wasn't reading this book, I was thinking about it. This story is a definite win for me.
I will say that this is a strange book. I like strange stories so it worked out well for me but I am not sure that everyone will enjoy all the aspects of this story as much as I did. This book is almost like a fairy tale for adults with a bit of magic sprinkled throughout. I was enchanted by all of the magical realism that made up this story.
I started reading this book just before going to bed which ended up being a huge mistake because I didn't want to put it down once I started. The way that this story begins was hard to get out of my mind. I was immediately in love with the style of writing found throughout the story. As I continued to read, I started to fall in love with the characters and that love grew throughout the story.
I would highly recommend this book to others. This is a story where you can expect the unexpected and suspend your knowledge of what is real for a while and just enjoy the journey. This is the first book by Marisa Silver that I have read but I will be looking for more of her work in the future.
I received an advance reader edition of this book from Blue Rider Press via First to Read for the purpose of providing an honest review.
About the Author
Marisa Silver is the author of the novel Mary Coin, a New York Times bestseller. She is also the author of The God of War (a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist), No Direction Home, and two story collections, Alone With You and Babe in Paradise (a New York Times Notable Book and Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year). Her first short story appeared in The New Yorker when she was featured in the magazine’s first “Debut Fiction” issue. Winner of the O. Henry Prize, Silver’s fiction has been included in The Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Prize Stories, and other anthologies. She lives in Los Angeles.