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MARISA SILVER discusses her new novel LITTLE NOTHING, with SARAH SHUN-LIEN BYNUM

Little Nothing (Blue Rider Press)

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 scorn from her community. Pavla has been born a dwarf, beautiful in face, but as the years pass, she grows no farther than the edge of her crib. When her parents turn to the treatments of a local charlatan, his terrifying cure opens the floodgates of persecution for Pavla.

Little Nothing unfolds across a lifetime of unimaginable, magical transformation in and out of human form, as an outcast girl becomes a hunted woman whose ultimate survival depends on the most startling transfiguration of them all. Woven throughout is the journey of Danilo, the young man entranced by Pavla, obsessed only with protecting her. Part allegory about the shifting nature of being, part subversive fairy tale of love in all its uncanny guises, Little Nothing spans the beginning of a new century, the disintegration of ancient superstitions, and the adoption of industry and invention. With a cast of remarkable characters, a wholly original story, and extraordinary, page-turning prose, Marisa Silver delivers a novel of sheer electricity.

Praise for Little Nothing

“Silver has created a gorgeously rendered, imaginative, magical yarn.” —Booklist

“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

“In Little Nothing, the wizardly Marisa Silver conjures a pitch-dark tale with empathy and humor. 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, a National Book Award Finalist

"Little Nothing is a magnificent something, an inventive, unexpected story that seamlessly blends fable and folklore into the lives of characters who remain heart-wrenchingly real. That Silver wrestles with nearly unanswerable questions – What does it mean to occupy a body? What does it mean to be human? How transformative is love? – and still produces an exhilarating page-turner is a testament to her biting, beautiful prose. In addition to being a joy to read, this book challenged and changed me, and I can’t imagine what else anyone would want from a work of art." —Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, author of The Nest

Marisa Silver is the author of the novel Mary Coin, a New York Times bestseller and winner of the Southern California Independent Bookseller’s Award. She is also the author of The God of War (a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist); No Direction Home; and two story collections, Alone with You and Babe in Paradise (a New York Times Notable Book and Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year). Silver’s fiction has won the O. Henry Award and been included in The Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Prize Stories, and other anthologies. She lives in Los Angeles.

Sarah Shun-lien Bynum is the author of two novels, Ms. Hempel Chronicles, a finalist for the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award, and Madeleine Is Sleeping, a finalist for the 2004 National Book Award and winner of the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize. Her fiction has appeared in many magazines and anthologies, including the New Yorker, Ploughshares, Tin House, the Georgia Review, and the Best American Short Stories 2004 and 2009. The recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award and an NEA Fellowship, she was named one of “20 Under 40” fiction writers by the New Yorker. She lives in Los Angeles with her family.

Marisa Silver photo by Kristina Loggia

Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum photo by Megan Cump

Event date: 
Wednesday, September 14, 2016 - 7:30pm
Event address: 
1818 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Little Nothing Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780399167928
Availability: Not in stock. Available To Order.
Published: Blue Rider Press - September 13th, 2016

Mary Coin Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780142180785
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Plume Books - February 25th, 2014

The God of War Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781416563174
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - April 14th, 2009

Babe in Paradise: Fiction Cover Image
$18.95
ISBN: 9780393323849
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - September 1st, 2002

Alone with You: Stories Cover Image
$13.00
ISBN: 9781416590309
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - April 5th, 2011

Ms. Hempel Chronicles Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9780547247755
Availability: Not in stock. Available To Order.
Published: Mariner Books - September 1st, 2009

Madeleine Is Sleeping Cover Image
$13.00
ISBN: 9780156032278
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P - November 1st, 2005