It is quite unusual for me to drag myself out of my ‘literary’ mold and pick up a comicy number like Andrew Kaufman’s The Tiny Wife. Wolf Hall had been calling to me from the bookshelf for weeks (especially considering the release of Bring up the Bodies a few weeks ago) so, before taking the plunge, this quirky little number was the perfect thing to let my brain hang out just a weensy bit. The perfect story to dip into over a weekend at Relish HQ; weekends that are often much more devoted to drinking, talking books and playing with cats than actually getting much reading done 🙂 (I was also prompted by a tempting review via Simon at Stuck-in-a-Book.)
Kaufman has created a wonderful fable, a modern fairy tale and one that doesn’t stop at including all of the dark (and slightly twisted) elements present in your traditional Hansel and Gretels and Red Riding Hoods a la Brothers Grimm.
A peculiarly-dressed man robs a bank stealing not money, but items of sentimental value and the SOULS of the patrons; victims who are soon plunged into a haphazard, frightening world where tattoos come to life, women metamorphose into sweet treats and husbands turn into snowmen. Although its a bit shallow of me, I have to admit to being delighted at just how pretty this little book is when it appeared on my doorstep, complete with attractive silhouette-style illustrations throughout. However, this isn’t all fur coat and no knickers. Kaufman’s imaginative tale is so much fun and made me appreciate the book in the kind of way I did as a child, sitting in my local library and letting my imagination run riot.
This isn’t all fun and games, Kaufman doesn’t lose himself in the madness so much that he forgets to include elements that draw the story in a little deeper. Some of the characters’ demise, although fantastical, are really rather tragic and the focus on Stacey Hinterland, our ‘tiny wife’, her fear and relationship with her husband and young son really made this a very human and heartwarming tale.
Kaufman’s previous novella All my Friends are Superheroes is supposed to be even better than this little treat. Onto my wish list it goes…