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Little Nothing, Marisa Silver, Blue Rider Press, 2016, 333 pp
This is the third novel I have read by Marisa Silver and it is amazing, definitely a contender for my top 25 of the year.
Pavla is born a dwarf in an unnamed Eastern European country on the cusp of the Industrial Revolution. Her small village is steeped in superstition. At first her mother, who has at last had a child, cannot accept what she views as a freak. But both parents come to love this late life child, so that even though Pavla is tormented by the kids at school who call her Little Nothing, she has a loving family.
Eventually that love takes a weird turn as the aging parents worry about Pavla's future after they are no longer there to protect her. They begin taking her to doctors, one of whom claims that if he stretches the girl, she will grow. Thus ends the good part of the little person's life and thus enters horror.
At that point the novel takes a weird turn and becomes a dark folk tale. I will not say more except that there is a fractured love story, that Pavla is an admirable character of many levels, and that in Marisa Silver's hands the story takes you to places you will not expect but you will believe.
This is a novel about transformation, about how people deal with trouble and are changed by it. It is hard to put down and if you can suspend your disbelief it will bring you gifts.
(Little Nothing is available in various formats by order from Once Upon A Time Bookstore.)