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Memoirs of a Midget

Memoirs of a Midget [Kindle Edition]

Walter de la Mare
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product Description


'Here is a great book.' New York Times'It sticks like a splinter in the mind.' Angela Carter'For centuries to come this book will inspire imaginative people.' Rebecca West'One of the strangest and most enchanting works of fiction ever written.' Alison Lurie --New York Times et al

Small things do come in big packages. Originally published in 1922 and just released in this new edition, Memoirs of a Midget is a faux memoir that details the life of the tiny Miss M., who ingratiates herself into high society only to find they view her merely as a curio. Resolving to claim her peculiarity as her own, she joins a traveling circus. In a mannered but limpid style, Walter de la Mare unravels his bizarre story with heart, finding a winning voice for his miniature creation. The book won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize upon publication, which put the author in the company of E.M. Forster and D.H. Lawrence, but in the literary world his stature has undeservedly remained, like that of his protagonist, diminutive. --Keith Staskiewicz Entertainment Weekly 24th November 2009

Product Description

Miss M., a pretty and diminutive young woman with a passion for shells, fossils, flints, butterflies and stuffed animals, struggles to deal with her isolation from the rest of society due to her size. She tells of her early life and her tempestuous twentieth year in which she witnesses death, infatuation, suicide and madness. An elegiac, misanthropic, sometimes perverse study of isolation, de la Mare's prize-winning classic is a dark and teasing riddle that seduces by its gentle charm and elegant prose. ‘One of the strangest and most enchanting works of fiction ever written.’ Alison Lurie ‘A great book.’ New York Times ‘For centuries to come this book will inspire imaginative people.’ Rebecca West ‘... a triumphant work of fiction: a portrait of a complex heroine who the reader will ultimately find quite as compelling as Jane [Eyre] or Cathy". You will be "charmed and amazed by this odd, creepy tale.’ Observer ‘It sticks like a splinter in the mind..’ Angela Carter

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 671 KB
  • Print Length: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Telegram Books (1 May 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00CW0G50A
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #375,191 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
At some 133,000 words this is the longest single piece Walter de la Mare produced. It is a mighty work, its close-woven psychological threads intensely complex, morally and spiritually provocative, and far more profound than it seems. Published early on, in 1922, it was quite popular but gradually faded away. The reprints that followed rode on the back of the poetry and stories at which Walter de la Mare was to excel, and he never attempted anything like `Memoirs of a Midget' again. If he had written no more after `Memoirs', I doubt that he would have any reputation left at all.

The midget is Miss M, reputedly born in Rutlandshire, England's smallest county, somewhen in the last half of the 19th century. Her memoirs fell into the hands of a Walter Dadus Pollacke and these start with her recollection of a family tradition: how she had crept into the kitchen cat's basket. As a consequence of this, she tells us, `the kitchen cat, too frequently meddled with, lugged off her kittens one by one to a dark cupboard', and then with the last one secured, `she was discovered in rapt contemplation of myself as if in debate whether it was her maternal duty to carry me off too. And there I was grinning up into her face.'

It is delightful. It starts well enough. And exactly how small is this Miss M who could grin up into a cat's face? Everyone who reads this book asks that question sooner or later. The cast is an extensive, dramatic concoction of the gothic and the weird, the abnormal, the inhibited, the shadowy, the repressed, and some who suggest they are not who they seem or no longer what they once were. All are class-bound. There's Fanny Bowater, with whom Miss M falls in love and who is everything Miss M is not.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gothic masterpiece 7 Jun 2010
Heard this serialised on Radio 4 many years ago and delighted to buy it at last. fantastic story wondeerfully written. Miss M lingers in the memory. Sadly society today is still addicted to the 'freak' show. So much is explored in this book; the nature of friendship, prejudice, love and the triumph of the spirit. You must read this!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Forgotten Classic? 20 April 2009
By Simon Savidge Reads TOP 1000 REVIEWER
`Memoirs of a Midget' is the life and times of Miss M, told by none other than Miss M herself. Born from two `non-midget' parents we follow her through her childhood and then through her early adult life and onwards after her parents both pass away. This indeed is mainly a book about how society deals with people who are different and looks at how Miss M is vilified by some, loved by others and isolated by many, written in the time it was it somehow doesn't seem to have aged at all and in some ways could have been written quite recently. For me the tell tale signs it was a much older book were of course the fact that technology wasn't up to date but there were other signs that it was a classic like the names of characters such Pollie Muggeridge or Lady Pollacke. There are many other wonderful characters with no actual name just a Mr or Mrs and then a wonderful surname like Bowater, Hubbins or Crimble.

All these characters were wonderful and added to the density and panorama of the book which has a huge scope and travels around Britain as it goes leading up to Miss M's arrival in London. My favourite character partly because she was so bolshie, lovely and then suddenly serpentine was Fanny Bowater (every great classic has a character somewhere in it called Fanny, honestly, you have a think) who in some parts actually stole the show (literally) completely from Miss M.

Miss M is a fascinating character though, for a while I got slightly annoyed I couldn't work out exactly how tall she was or wasn't as it made her hard to visualise but eventually I worked it out and from then on was completely swept along by her story. I found the tales of the people she met and how they reacted to her and the fact she was so different very moving, occasionally funny and always touching. If you like big great long adventures with one protagonist as they struggle through the highs and lows of their life then this book is definitely one for you to read, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.8 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well, I'll take my time to do this... 31 Jan 2009
By moviegoer - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
...though few enough people will ever read it, because this book languishes in undeserved obscurity. This novel is a fascinating look into a life which is unimaginable to most of us--this life of a tiny, delicate midget,
whose heart and soul are as large as she is small. This is not a book to be picked up for an idle afternoon's
reading (though it is not difficult to read), because it is truly like entering...well, a fairyland. If you are a
reader of high fiction, you will love it.

And, though I'm evidently the only person in the world who knows this, it would make a world-beating
animated film.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars short peoples unite! 1 Mar 2004
By "irishman8778" - Published on
I thought that this book was excellent! As a fellow short person, I could relate to the story wonderfully! I have felt the same feelings that she felt, it was almost like a mirror was held up to my life. Well except for the when the book took place I can't believe how awesome this book was! Now perhaps people will look at the midgets and think that they are real people too, not just disformed humans. you should read this book. It was the best book I ever read. I hope that everyone reads this book so that people everywhere can get to know the hardships that we face in our day to day lives. This book really educated my friends on how hard life can be. I can only hope that others will do the same thing.
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An engagingly told, wry yet witty read 6 Feb 2004
By Midwest Book Review - Published on
Memoirs Of A Midget by Walter de la Mare is a fictional memoir of Miss M, a diminutive young woman (exactly how diminutive is left up to the reader's interpretation!), who grows up in an orphanage and eventually falls in love with a full-sized woman even as she is courted by a male dwarf. The daily travails of Miss M, with the unique obstacles presented by her size difference, lead to her resolve to claim independence by offering herself as a spectacle in a circus. An engagingly told, wry yet witty read, Memoirs Of A Midget is a unique and inherently fascinating novel from beginning to end.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most enchanting and bizarre tale you'll ever encounter 26 July 2008
By J. Spector - Published on
De La Mare's little gem, Memoirs of a Midget has to be one of my favourite novels of all time; an uncanny situation, richly developed personalities and the ever present philisophical questions of identity, place and sexuality are all addressed in the most quizzical and charming ways. A must have for those who consider themselves lovers of fairytales as well as philosophers.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just got the corrected Kindle version (Dec, 2011). It's great! 11 Dec 2009
By whiterabbit - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase sent me the corrected, updated version of Memoirs of a Midget today (thank you, thank you!), and it works fine on my Kindle (at last)!

The book itself is a masterpiece, and I am so glad to have some Walter de la Mare works available for my Kindle now. His prose stories are generally hard to find, and unaccountably obscure. And it is a pity, because he was a unique, amazing writer and poet. His lyrical, haunting style is unmatched, and quite enchanting. His poetry is truly fine, but I really love his prose works best. They read like prose, but engage your imagination like poetry! The language is beautiful.
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