An enchanting, atmospheric new novel from New York Times-bestselling author Marisa Silver
In an unnamed country at the beginning of the last century, a peasant couple longs for a child. In despair they turn to gypsy tonics and archaic prescriptions, and one cold wintery night, the couple’s wish comes true. But the silence that follows the birth forewarns of darker days to come. Strangers look on askance and fall speechless in the child’s presence, and villagers protectively hush their children as they pass on narrow market lanes. Pavla is no ordinary child, but then this is no ordinary tale.
Woven throughout is the story of Danilo, a young man who sees beauty where others see ugliness, and who is obsessed only with protecting Pavla. Drawing from a rich tapestry of fables, fairy tales and folklore, Little Nothing is a fantastically inventive, suspenseful allegory, and one of the most quixotic and constantly surprising love stories you will read this year.
‘There are obvious shades of Angela Carter to this metamorphosis story, though Silver handles the subject matter very much in her own way, writing rich prose in the realist tradition and striving to make her characters as three-dimensional as possible, exploiting the allegorical possibilities of folk tales while challenging their accepted conventions.’
‘In Little Nothing, Marisa Silver doesn’t waver…she delivers a tale as mysterious as anything the Grimm Brothers might have collected…Little Nothing celebrates not only the unruly and lost parts of all our lives but also the possibility of their reordering and comprehension.’
– Los Angeles Times
‘Marisa Silver’s fantastically inventive new novel counters expectations at every turn….The novel’s open ending lingers unsettlingly in the mind….Silver manages to transform the fairy tale without losing its power.’
– Washington Post
‘A parable and a full-fledged, richly told story, with clearly drawn characters who beckon us to come along with them on their journeys…Silver shows us her capacity for fleet-footed writing.’
– Huffington Post
‘A beautifully told, heart-rending, can’t-put-it-down read…her language is simply stunning.’
– Minneapolis Star-Tribune
‘Wild, witty and mesmerizing…Marisa Silver writes beautiful, seductive prose that always manages to be both wise and fleet; her inventive, romantic novel is compassionate and moving in wonderfully surprising ways.’
– Dana Spiotta, author of Innocents and Others
‘Little Nothing is a magnificent something, an inventive, unexpected story…I can’t imagine what else anyone would want from a work of art.’
– Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, author of The Nest
‘By turns haunting, fanciful, and poignant, Little Nothing is the latest example of why Marisa Silver is one of our finest, most protean storytellers.’
– Boris Fishman, author of A Replacement Life
‘An emotionally suspenseful allegory, the novel reveals how the world’s expectations can torque a woman’s identity and leave a ferocious ache behind. The novel twisted me up inside. I loved it.’
– Lauren Groff, author of Fates and Furies
‘Little Nothing is the key to its own box, which opens and opens, transcending the limits of the very tale one thought one was reading…This book is a beautifully realized riddle.’
– Rachel Kushner, author of The Flamethrowers
'Silver has created a gorgeously rendered, imaginative, magical yarn.'
'Star-crossed lovers...Pavla serves to remind readers of the moral of the story, that a good soul can find transcendence in the face of unbearable odds. And in Danilo readers will recognize their own longing for transcendence and meaning as he transforms himself through pain and sorrow into a man of courage and ingenuity.'
– Publishers Weekly
‘Marisa Silver’s beguiling new novel Little Nothing is a powerful exploration of the relationship between our changeable bodies and our just as malleable identities…Silver’s storytelling skills are finely matched to her themes…meditative passages bloom with life.’
– New York Times Book Review
‘Following one woman’s transformation, Little Nothing reimagines the boundaries between mother and child, human and non-human, possible and impossible. Lyrical, raw, and urgent, this exquisite novel will take you to the outermost edges of heart and mind.’
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