I’ve had Little, Big on my reading list for sooo long, and it definitely sounded like something I could love — a house bordering on the otherworld, rich writing, a whole tangle of family and connections to the otherworld that isn’t understood by all characters, and indeed is revealed slowly to the reader as well… For a while, I was captivated, definitely. Crowley’s writing is lovely, made me almost smell the rooms of the house, the dew-damp ground outside, etc, etc.
In the end, it reminded me a little of my experience with Tam Lin, in that I was waiting for things to happen, waiting for the story to move. Unlike Tam Lin, by the time it did, though, I’d stopped hanging on. I wasn’t interested in the characters anymore — who was sleeping with whom and who was the father of whose child, or even what each character was interested in and what they believed about their part in the story. Smokey Barnable reminded me of Neil Gaiman’s Shadow in American Gods; a nebulous figure to whom the story happens (except Smoky isn’t nearly as central as Shadow).
In the end, I got too lost in the words to enjoy the plot; honestly, I’d find it hard to tell you what the plot of most of the book was (though more plot appeared later on). A lot of it seemed to be just about coexisting with the otherworld, without much reaching across the boundaries, without much conflict or drive. It felt like short episodes of life from a family saga which just happened to include an otherworldly link. It just didn’t keep my interest, despite the high recommendations from friends (and the fact that it’s one of the Fantasy Masterworks series).