Little Nothing by Marissa Silver – Book Review

Title: Little Nothing

Author: Marissa Silver

Genre: Literary Fiction, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Subversive Fiction

Blurb from Goodreads

A provocative novel from New York Times bestselling author Marisa Silver, Little Nothing is the story of Pavla, a child scorned for her physical deformity, whose passion and salvation lie in her otherworldly ability to transform herself and the world around her.

In an unnamed country at the beginning of the last century, a child called Pavla is born to peasant parents. Her arrival, fervently anticipated and conceived in part by gypsy tonics and archaic prescriptions, stuns her parents and brings outrage and disgust from her community.

Pavla has been born a dwarf, beautiful in face, but as the years pass, she grows no further than the edge of her crib. When her parents turn to the treatments of a local doctor and freak sideshow proprietor, his terrifying cure opens the floodgates persecution for Pavla.

Little Nothing unfolds across a lifetime of unimaginable, magical transformation in and out of human form, as this outcast woman is hunted down and incarcerated for her desires, her body broken and her identity stripped away until her soul is strong enough to transcend all physical bounds.

My Review

I felt very conflicted after reading this book.

I had been really looking forward to it as I love the idea of a literary novel in the vein of a fairytale but also with a storyline that would provoke strong emotions and deep thought.

And there was much to admire I guess especially the darkness and quirky nature of the plot. I did like the fairytale symbolisms and there were some interesting twists that took place within the storyline of the book.

However, ultimately, the whole reading experience left me feeling somewhat hollow. I found myself to be extremely detached from the characters I was reading about and I wasn’t a fan of the author’s writing style.

I never fully connected to either Pavla or Danilo, the book’s main characters. Their true thoughts and feelings just always seemed to be out of my reach as the reader so I never fully came to root for either character.

I also did not care for Pavla’s transformations throughout the book. I found her changes to be purely physical rather than forming a part of a great character arc within a story. And I was particularly unsatisfied with Danilo’s reactions to what was happening and found his story arc to be incredibly lacking.

Overall this book really wasn’t to my taste. My biggest issue was the writing style as it failed to create enough emotional interest within the lives of these characters. This book is probably most suited to people who enjoy reading books with dark and/or subversive themes which really isn’t me.

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