Nothing I'm about to say is intended to reflect disrespect for the mammoth achievements of Tolkien and the many others who have enriched our culture with their imaginations, but have you noticed that their characters lack a sexual dimension? Little, Big has any number of unexpected moments, but the sexual energy of its characters is one very big thing that distinguises this work from its predecessors. Don't expect anything explicit, but there is a good deal of eroticism in this book. Characters fall in love, get married, raise children, and occasionally stray from their vows. There's a wonderful honeymoon sequence that seques into an eerie moment when we come face to face with the ineffable mystery of a character whose need to please women led to as low a fall as can be imagined short of death. The literary quality of this book is consistently high, and it makes almost endless demands of its readers. Its characters seem fully-realized people and its plot is a convoluted swirl that gives up its many secrets reluctantly. I am tempted to evoke a comparison between Horatio Hornblower and Jack Aubrey, the latter being so much more human, like the characters in Little, Big.
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