“I have been a huge fan of Andrew Kaufman since the very first book I picked up for him "The Waterproof Bible". Since then, I've been on a constant hunt for his books, every bookstore I enter, I go straight to the K section hoping to find his name. Unfortunately, his books don't seem to be very...”see full review » see other reviews »
“I have been a huge fan of Andrew Kaufman since the very first book I picked up for him "The Waterproof Bible". Since then, I've been on a constant hunt for his books, every bookstore I enter, I go straight to the K section hoping to find his name. Unfortunately, his books don't seem to be very popular over here. I found All My Friends are Superheroes at a book fair, and I devoured that in one sitting, until a few months ago anyway when I found both The Tiny Wife and Born Weird in one of the bookstores I frequent. I rushed to buy them without even reading the synopsis.
Given its size - which fits the title very well - I decided to start with The Tiny Wife first, another of his books that I devoured in one sitting. Kaufman has a knack for writing magical realism novels, and I do love a little bit of magic in my books.
The tale begins with a bank robbery, unlike any robbery you'll ever hear about. This one involves a flamboyantly dressed thief, wearing a purple-feathered hat, who walks in demanding not money but the most sentimental, precious object from all those present during the robbery. After he receives what he wants, he informs them all that he has just taken 51% of their souls, and they must fight to get it back, or else they will die. Those involved begin to experience the most bizarre happenings, some worse than others. A woman finds her husband has turned into a snowman, and he melts into nothingness, a woman's tattoo of a lion comes to life chasing her for days, a baby literally excretes money, and a wife with a husband and child, who has given her calculator to the thief as her most prized possession, begins to shrink in precise increments.
Her husband is the narrator of this wonderfully told, 88 page, novella. The wife, who loved to calculate every single thing in her life, now finds herself calculating how long she has before she shrinks into nothing, ceasing to exist. We discover that she has been facing problems with her husband for quite a while, and has forgotten how to be happy. As she becomes smaller and smaller, her own infant becomes a hazard to her and she finds she has to depend on her husband more than any other time in her life, as he carries her weight around (literally).
Short, it may be, but the lessons learned from this story are deep and true. We learn what happened to the other victims, as well as the Tiny Wife, and we find out in the end who succeeded in making their soul whole again and who didn't.
My favourite part of the book is a conversation that occurs between the husband and the thief:
Thief: "Perhaps one of the hardest things about having kids is realizing that you love someone more than your wife. That it's possible to love someone more than you love your wife. What's even worse is that it's a love you don't have to work at. It's just there. It just sits there, indestructible, getting stronger and stronger. While the love for your wife, the one you do have to work at, and work so very hard at, gets nothing. Gets neglected, left to fend for itself. Like a houseplant forgotten on a windowsill."
When you decide to read this book, I highly recommend you put a good hour or two aside with your favourite beverage, because you won't be getting up until you've finished reading it.”
“Subtle and imaginative, this short book is a magical tale of how we are each responsible for our own pain and suffering. Thirteen bank customers get an item of sentimental value stolen by a bizarre and rather likeable thief. He sets them a deadline to recover that stolen piece of their souls ... or else they'll die.
The main character is the narrator's wife, who starts to shrink and shrink. We also find out what happens to the other 12 in the bank and, in doing so, we're gently taught that it's only when we find the courage to face our deepest fears behind the illusions of our lives that we can find happiness.
Approachable, entertaining and very funny, this is a terrific book to read.
THIS REVIEW IS FOR THE KINDLE EDITION”
“A lovely, inventive, odd and bittersweet little modern fable. It all starts with a bank robbery where the assailant takes an item of sentimental value from each of the 13 customers and employees and makes an impassioned speech about souls. Following the robbery the victims all have strange, incomprehensible changes in their lives, which range from bizarre but unobtrusive or even positive happenings, to events more deadly. One of the finest crafted and imaginative tales I've ever encountered, with delightful silhouetted illustrations scattered throughout adding an extra fairy-tale facet to the story.”BookPolygamist wrote this review Tuesday, April 30, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Perfect little read with a great message. Thanks goes to Words of A Reader for introducing me to this little gem.”Tia Faciane wrote this review Saturday, February 2, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This was a Christmas present. It's very short and has the crazy, absurdist feel of a story like Gogol's "The Nose" but translated to Canada where the protagonists are a Gen-X couple and their toddler son. It's very funny and the stories within the main narrative were very imagionative. I'd definitely recommend it if you want some light reading and don't mind paying hardback prices for what is basically only an hour's worth of book! ”Colin Lusk wrote this review Tuesday, January 22, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This is a tiny gem of a book! At only 88 pages, interspersed with some interesting illustrations and a story that's weird but whimsical and utterly entertaining, it's unlike anything I've ever read before! Again books like this make me wonder about literature we classify as classics and nominate for awards!! I'm more convinced now coz some of the best writing I've ever read is neither...but man is it good!
The story begins with a robbery and continues on to consequences, but in the telling, it reads like what I can best describe as part fairy-tale, part parable. It deals with deep issues like losing a loved one, murder, facing our fears etc in a way that most of us will find intriguing and dare I say entertaining?! Yup! My favorite is the title story...the story of the 'Tiny Wife'...brilliant and imaginative...hard to believe a woman's point of view could be so evocatively described by a man!
A must read people...it'll only take an hour but I guarantee it'll stay with you a lot longer :) Enjoy!”
“This book has all the whimsy of a fable while being macabre, tragic, comic, provocative, confusing and thought-provoking. Here is the premise and if it does not intrigue you, I don't know what will - An armed robber enters a bank but instead of stealing money he takes from each person inside, the thing that holds the most sentimental value for them, also taking with him 51% of their souls. The events that follow are strange and bizarre and very real – One woman turns into candy, another finds God under her sofa, a man gets buried under his family history and the title character starts shrinking.
Andrew Kaufman gives it whimsy and humour without losing the reader to either. A masterful balance is struck between the funny, fantastical events and the dramatic, often fatal consequences each character must contend with. Quite Brilliant, actually.”
“Kaufman is a damn genius. I don't know how his brain comes up with the ideas it does, but they're all beautiful, mad and above all, totally seem like they could happen. Amazing little book.”Michael wrote this review Sunday, January 15, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No