The Tiny Wife by Andrew Kaufman
|The Tiny Wife by Andrew Kaufman
|Category: Literary Fiction
|Reviewer: Ruth Ng
|Summary: A funny, imaginative, slightly strange novella. Worth a look if you don't mind something a bit unusual!
|Date: September 2011
|Publisher: The Friday Project
It all begins with a bank robbery. Only this isn't your typical sort of bank robbery since the robber demands not money but instead each person in the bank must give him the item of most sentimental value that they have with them. These range from photographs and a key through to a calculator...and on taking these items he says he is also taking fifty percent of their souls, and it is up to the victims to find the way to get their souls back, or to die trying.
You're already aware, from the premise, that this is no ordinary story. However, as the book progresses it gets stranger and stranger. The victims all find that bizarre things begin to happen in their lives. One woman, for example, finds God under her sofa whilst looking for the remote control. Although he looks very much as you'd expect God to look, long white beard and so forth, he's rather dirty from being under the sofa so she washes him in the washing machine. She doesn't realise that she left a tissue in one of her pockets though, so God gets covered in bits of tissue fluff! He's upset by this and leaves, and the woman finds herself forever looking for God afterwards although even though she never finds him, it's enough for her that she's looking. Another woman has a tattoo of a lion on her ankle and then after the robbery one day it turns into a real lion. She spends the rest of the book running away from the lion, who hunts her down wherever she goes.
The main character in the story, however, is Stacey who discovers that after the bank robbery she is shrinking. Each day she is a little smaller, struggling to understand what is happening to her and why. It reaches the point where she can ride around in her husband's pocket to direct him in the supermarket to what he should buy, or hang from her toddler son's arm whilst he runs around the room with her! Even whilst the story is surreal, there were still the realities of Stacey's marriage being cleverly, lightly portrayed and I found myself feeling very worried about what would happen to her.
I love that a book so surreal, so odd, and also so short has been published! This is definitely not mainstream fiction. It could be seen as a collection of short stories, woven into one novella as some of the victim's tales could stand alone without the need for any back story. However the book as a whole is cleverly done, and I was happy with the way it concluded, which doesn't always happen when I read a short story. There are illustrations scattered throughout which I'm used to with all the bedtime stories I read at the moment but is rather unusual in a 'grown-up book'. Still, it all adds to the whimsical feel you get from the story.
The writing is charming, and I was so intrigued by this little book that I read it all in one sitting. The characters and situations are funny, and although I sense it would frustrate some readers who like things to be much more sensible and realistic I thought it was a fabulous little story and well worth a look for anyone who likes to see something new in fiction and appreciates an unusual tale.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
Further reading suggestion: For another short book with pictures for grown ups try The Gloomster by Ludwig Bechstein, Axel Sceffler and Julia Donaldson
You can read more book reviews or buy The Tiny Wife by Andrew Kaufman at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Tiny Wife by Andrew Kaufman at Amazon.com.
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