Little Nothing by Marisa Silver
(Originally published in the Caldwell Perspective, December 2016, page 10: https://issuu.com/chanteledicehensel/docs/december_2916_caldwell_perspective)
At the turn of the last century in an unnamed Old World European country, Pavla is born, the result of years of trying and a bit of help from the local medicine woman, to aging parents. As a little person, she doesn’t fit in to the small village where differences are shunned and her parents worry both for her future and their own social standing. They feel as if her dwarfism was their punishment for partaking of gypsy tonics to conceive her in the first place; a karmic payback from Mother Nature.
This is the premise of Little Nothing, but don’t expect a narrative about a young lady learning to be strong and finding her way in her isolated village. Instead, Silver takes the reader down a path of magical realism that hearkens back to the fairy tales of old. With circuses and wolves, charming clock towers and ancient hospitals, the book quickly takes on a mythical aura, drawing readers into a story of pain and loss, rebirth and renewal. Silver winds a web of story that one can’t help put be caught up in, never sure what to expect from Pavla’s future transformations.
“She believes her parents do not love her less, only that before, she had a child’s notion of love that did not include the small treacheries of delusion and fear and shame.”
― Marisa Silver, Little Nothing