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  • 9781910709566_FC
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Publication date
4th October 2018


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Based on the incredible life story of the world’s most famous wax sculptor, Marie Tussaud.
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“There is a space between life and death: it’s called waxworks”

The wry, macabre, unforgettable tale of an ambitious orphan in Revolutionary Paris, befriended by royalty and radicals alike, who transforms herself into the legendary Madame Tussaud.

In 1761, a tiny, odd-looking girl named Marie is born in a village in Alsace. After the death of her parents, she is apprenticed to an eccentric wax sculptor and whisked off to the seamy streets of Paris, where they meet a domineering widow and her quiet, pale son. Together, they convert an abandoned monkey house into an exhibition hall for wax heads, and the spectacle becomes a sensation. As word of her artistic talent spreads, Marie is called to Versailles, where she tutors a princess and saves Marie Antoinette in childbirth. But outside the palace walls, Paris is roiling: The revolutionary mob is demanding heads, and . . . at the wax museum, heads are what they do.

Edward Carey’s Little is a wonder – the incredible story of a ‘blood-stained crumb of a girl’ who went on to shape the world.

‘Don’t miss this eccentric charmer!’ — @Margaret Atwood
‘Edward Carey’s Little is one of the most original historical novels of the year. (…) Inspired, vivid and macabre, Little is a remarkable achievement’ — Sunday Times
‘A visceral, vivid and moving novel about finding and honouring one’s talent’ — The Guardian
‘Compelling… Carey’s story is cinematic in scope and fairy tale-like in its attention to coincidence – and to the fateful cycle of pride and fall.’ TLS
‘Carey creates a quirky, indelible character in “Little”, sprinkles idiosyncratic drawings throughout and folds his narrative in cunning ways…’ — BBC Culture 
‘Clever and intriguing’ — Daily Mail
‘A startlingly original novel’ — The Times, Book of the Year
‘A gripping novel of shy wit and darkly humorous occurrences and is mesmerising in its virtuosity. On top of which the author’s own illustrations are wonderfully bizarre, as indeed is the story he tells.’ The Irish Independent, Top Books of 2018
‘A tale as moving as it is macabre’ Mail on Sunday
‘Beautifully published… poignant… absorbing’ Literary Review
‘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
‘You will weep, you will applaud, you will wonder if your nerves can take it, but most of all you will shudder. 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.’ — The Spectator
‘It is Carey’s uniquely inventive style that makes this novel so completely, wickedly, addictive.’ — Big Issue
‘One of the most inventive novels I’ve read in a long time. Little by Edward Carey is alive with the unexpected and that’s before you even get to his disquieting illustrations.’ — The Pool 
Little has echoes of Patrick Suskind’s Perfume, of Dickens, and of Alice in Wonderland in the eccentric ways of the palace. With an irresistible cast of grotesques and a delicious lightness of touch it delivers a great and peculiar vision of Paris crashing over the rapids.’ Strong Words Magazine
‘In an age in which historical female figures have gained more posthumous recognition, Little is a perfectly weaved story of a woman who has captured the imagination of many, but has been written about by few. From Marie’s perspective, the difficulties 18th-century women faced in order to achieve recognition or success are illuminated for the modern reader.’ – Culture Trip
‘Reading this novel is thought provoking and so much fun, truly invigorating. I feel energised by the experience, you will be too.’ — Nudge
‘A wonderfully weird exploration of spectacles, from wax heads to revolutions, that will delight lovers of the macabre.’ — BookPage
‘Lavishly illustrated with Marie’s strange and compelling drawings, Edward Carey’s Little is a boldly original reimagining of the life of the woman who would become the legendary Madame Tussaud.’ —Library Journal, Fall Editors’ Pick
‘Carey channels the ghosts of Charles Dickens, Henry Fielding, and the Brothers Grimm to tell Marie’s tale, populating it with grotesques and horrors worthy of Madame Tussaud’s celebrated wax museum… A quirky, compelling story that deepens into a meditation on mortality and art.’ —Kirkus Reviews (starred)
‘There is nothing ordinary about this book, in which everything animate and inanimate lives, breathes, and remembers. Carey, with sumptuous turns of phrase, fashions a fantastical world that churns with vitality, especially his “Little,” a female Candide at once surreal and full of heart.’  —Publisher’s Weekly(starred)
‘An immensely creative epic…Mingling a sense of playfulness with macabre history, Carey depicts the excesses of wealth and violence during the French Revolution through the eyes of a talented woman who lived through it and survived…The unique perspective, witty narrative voice, and clever illustrations make for an irresistible read.’ —Booklist (starred)
‘The kind of book you want to shove into the hands of all your friends, just so you have someone to gush about it with.’ – Buzzfeed ‘Best Books of Fall’, Arianna Rebolini
‘This historical novel about the wax-sculptor who would become the world-renowned Madame Tussaud looks uncannily like a real-life classic.’ – Washington Post ‘Books to read this Fall’, Ron Charles
Little is an amazing achievement. Devote yourself to its first few pages and you will be sentenced to finishing it. I was thrilled not just by the story and the human grotesquerie of it, but by the narrative gallop and the prose, so often quietly startling in the application of a solitary mot juste. A compulsively readable novel, 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 Margaret Atwood? Judge for yourself.’ —Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked
Little is that rare thing – a unique novel with a unique and fully-realised voice, rich in deadpan wit and surgically precise observation. By turns tragic, bizarre and deeply moving Little introduces readers to a heroine like no other and a book that will truly last. It is an absolute delight.’ — A.L Kennedy
‘Wonderful’ Max Porter, author of Grief is the Thing with Feathers
‘What a bizarrely brilliant book. An absorbing, moving and darkly humorous reimagining of the life of Marie Groscholtz, the little servant girl who would become Madame Tussaud.’ — Anna Mazzola, author of The Unseeing
‘Exquisitely sensitive to all the warmth, vigour, humour, woe, and peculiarities of human nature, as if Carey had a dowsing rod capable of divining what hides within the human heart’ Kelly Link, author of Get in Trouble
‘An extravagant tall tale about someone very small in a history that still looks so very large, Little is bawdy, tragic, mesmerizing, hilarious. If you’ve forgotten why you’d even read a novel, Edward Carey is here to set you straight, with this rare novel bursting with the pleasures of a yarn or five, and the telling of them.’ —Alexander Chee, author of The Queen of the Night
‘An exquisitely disturbing treasure of a novel. Sensual, unassumingly poignant, hilarious, heartbreaking, cruel, joyous: Edward Carey’s Little is a triumph and one of the most intoxicating novels I’ve read. I never wanted to leave Marie’s side.’ —Sarah Schmidt, author of See What I Have Done
“An extravagant tall tale about someone very small in a history that still looks so very large, Little is bawdy, tragic, mesmerizing, hilarious. If you’ve forgotten why you’d even read a novel, Edward Carey is here to set you straight, with this rare novel bursting with the pleasures of a yarn or five, and the telling of them.” —Alexander Chee, author of The Queen of the Night
‘It’s hard to imagine a better subject for Edward Carey’s particular genius than the life of Madame Tussaud’ Charles Lambert, author of The Children’s Home
Bonus Material 
Little reviewed in The Guardian
Little in The Big Issue
Little in the Daily Mail
‘Little’ in The Spectator
13 Facts You Did Not Know About ‘Little’
Edward Carey on Madame Tussaud – The Guardian
Listen to Edward talking about characters and illustrations
Praise for Edward Carey
‘Delightful, eccentric, heartfelt, surprising, philosophical’ Eleanor Catton, author of The Luminaries
‘Iremonger torques and tempers our memories of Dickensian London into a singularly jaunty and creepy tale of agreeable misfits. Read it by gas lamp, with a glass of absinthe at your wrist and a fireplace poker by your knee.’ — Gregory Maguire, author of WICKED
‘Conveyed with so much sympathy and acute observation that it is hard not to be beguiled’ The Times
‘Carey writes with such persuasive authority, and we are inclined to believe him’ New York Times Review of Books
‘Edward Carey is one of the strangest writers we are privileged to have in this country’ Observer
‘A story wondrous fine, full of terrors and marvels.’ Kirkus, Starred Review
‘Edward Carey is an enormously talented writer’ Publishers Weekly
‘If this were music, Carey would be Eric Satie. If it were film, he would be Tim Burton’ Newsday

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