Orphan Marie is apprenticed to Dr. Curtius, a reclusive anatomist who flees to Paris to escape his debts, bringing ‘Little’ Marie with him. Together, they build a successful business making wax heads of famous citizens and before long, Marie’s reputation leads her to Versailles to tutor a princess in sculpture. However, on her return home, she finds the streets consumed by riots and chaos, and no head is safe from the revolutionary mob. I was absorbed by this unique and original novel.
- Recommended by Emma Shannon, Dubray Rathmines
'A startlingly original novel' -- Times, BOOK OF THE YEAR
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...
'Don't miss this eccentric charmer' @MargaretAtwood 'Absolutely brilliant' Susan Hill 'Rich and engrossing, there is an extraordinary potency to Carey's material ... A visceral, vivid and moving novel' GUARDIAN
'In this gloriously gruesome imagining of the girlhood of Marie Tussaud, mistress of wax, fleas will bite, rats will run and heads will roll and roll and roll. Guts'n'gore galore: I bloody loved it' SPECTATOR 'A tale as moving as it is macabre' MAIL ON SUNDAY 'One of the most original historical novels of the year... Macabre, funny, touching and oddly life-affirming, Little is a remarkable achievement' SUNDAY TIMES 'Beautifully published... poignant... absorbing' LITERARY REVIEW 'Clever and intriguing' DAILY MAIL 'Marie's story is fascinating in itself, but Carey's talent makes her journey a thing of wonder' NEW YORK TIMES
'By turns witty, ghoulish, poignant and curiously life-affirming, Little is a historical novel unlike any other' BBC HISTORY MAGAZINE
'It is Carey's uniquely inventive style that makes this novel so completely, wickedly, addictive' BIG ISSUE 'Edward Carey is one of the strangest writers we are privileged to have in this country' OBSERVER 'Carey creates an indelible character in Little, sprinkles idiosyncratic drawings throughout and folds his narrative in cunning ways...' BBC 'Full of rich historical detail and beautiful illustrations ... a rare treat of a novel that will stay with you long after you turn the final page' HEAT 'Compulsively readable: so canny and weird and surfeited with the reality of human capacity and ingenuity that I am stymied for comparison. Dickens and David Lynch? Defoe meets Atwood? Judge for yourself...' Gregory Maguire, author of WICKED