From little beginnings: the extraordinary story of a bloodstained, diminutive crumb of a servant girl who would go on to become the world’s most famous wax sculptor.
Edward Carey has created an extraordinary wonder of a novel based on the life of Madame Tussaud, from orphaned servant girl to the luxury of the Palais de Versailles, from surviving Robespierre’s Terror to the wealth, status and security of Baker Street. Beautifully illustrated by the author, Little is both an unconventional love story and an affecting and exuberant novel spanning an enormous stretch of momentous history, inspired by Marie Tussaud’s own version of events...
Born in Alsace in 1761, the diminutive Anne Marie Grosholtz is quickly nicknamed “Little”. Orphaned at the age of six, she starts out in the household of Dr Philippe Curtius in Berne, Switzerland, who teaches her the art of wax modelling and brings her to pre-revolutionary France. From there, her life takes turn after turn: she becomes art tutor to King Louis XVI’s sister Madame Elisabeth at Versailles, before narrowly escaping execution during the French Revolution, and being forced to cast waxworks of the heads of those who weren’t so lucky… Finally, she is able to move to London, to set up her world-famous waxworks museum.
Edward Carey was born in Norfolk, England. He is a novelist, visual artist and has also written and directed a number of plays for the National Theatre of Romania and the Vilnius Small State Theatre, Lithuania. In England his plays and adaptations have been performed at the Young Vic Studio, the Battersea Arts Centre, and the Royal Opera House Studio. He is the author of the novels Observatory Mansions, Alva and Irva, and the acclaimed YA series The Iremonger Trilogy, which has been published in thirteen countries and has been optioned for film adaptation. After university, Edward worked at Madame Tussaud in London, preventing people from touching the waxworks, and it was there that he learnt the incredible story of the museum’s founder. Edward lives in Austin, Texas in the United States, and teaches at the University of Austin. He is available for interview and to write features.
FURTHER PRAISE FOR LITTLE
‘Little is an amazing achievement. Devote yourself to its first few pages and you will be sentenced to finishing it. I was thrilled not just by the story and the human grotesquerie of it, but by the narrative gallop and the prose, so often quietly startling in the application of a solitary mot juste. A compulsively readable novel, so canny and weird and surfeited with the reality of human capacity and ingenuity that I am stymied for comparison. Dickens and David Lynch? Defoe meets Margaret Atwood? Judge for yourself’ Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked
‘What a bizarrely brilliant book. An absorbing, moving and darkly humorous reimagining of the life of Marie Grosholtz, the little servant girl who would become Madame Tussaud’
Anna Mazzola, author of The Unseeing
‘It’s hard to imagine a better subject for Edward Carey’s particular genius than the life of Madame Tussaud’ Charles Lambert, author of The Children’s Home
‘An extravagant tall tale about someone very small in a history that still looks so very large, Little is bawdy, tragic, mesmerizing, hilarious. If you’ve forgotten why you’d even read a novel, Edward Carey is here to set you straight, with this rare novel bursting with the pleasures of a yarn or five, and the telling of them’ Alexander Chee, author of The Queen of the Night
PRAISE FOR THE AUTHOR
‘Delightful, eccentric, heartfelt, surprising, philosophical’ Eleanor Catton, author of The Luminaries
‘Read it by gas lamp, with a glass of absinthe at your wrist and a fireplace poker by your knee’ Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked
‘Conveyed with so much sympathy and acute observation that it is hard not to be beguiled’ The Times
‘Edward Carey is one of the strangest writers we are privileged to have in this country’ Observer
‘He has forebears in the illuminated dreams of Borges and Calvino’ New York Times
‘Astonishing and inventive [Edward Carey] calls out to be read’ Sunday Times
‘Carey writes with such persuasive authority, and we are inclined to believe him’ New York Times Review of Books
‘If this were music, Carey would be Eric Satie. If it were film, he would be Tim Burton’ Newsday
‘A story wondrous fine, full of terrors and marvels’ Kirkus
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