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4.1 out of 5 stars17
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 31 January 2004
I can safely say that no-one will have read a book like "Big Fish" before.I picked it up to read prior to seeing the movie (can never read the book after seeing the movie!),& for 2 days it captivated me totally.
It is a magical story,deeply sentimental,very funny & thought provoking.
You will meet some remarkable characters & be transported to places you have never dreamt exist....even on paper.
The book is written in a simple style,which is almost like a childrens book.The chapters are short & easy to read,but leave you eager to catch up with what happens next.
I could not put it down & am now dying to see the movie,which I am sure will be great.Tim Burton is just the man to bring a story like this to life!
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on 11 March 2016
"I've been thirsty my whole life"

Greek myth dragged through Southern swampy fairytales. The sadness of a missed fatherhood..memories disappearing like smoke. He was always too busy building faraway cities or jumping from burning ships or running through trees hung in Spanish moss. In a choice between the legend and the real, always print the legend.

Some arresting images like Nabokov filtered through Faulkner: "As he wandered into town the people there ran out to meet him and to stare at his handsome hands", death foretold in the reflection of a glass eye..a drowned town in the lake where former residents still smile and wave.

We can all be the big fish in our own imaginations. We can be the one that got away. We can be facing down the hungry giant who lives in the darkness at the edge of town..or holding silent power over rain. Heroically biblical Jesus allegories and Sisyphus toiling. Tall tales from a long surreal life, and the town of Specter a shadowy Brigadoon through the mist of memory.

The boy carries the dying father to the water..he can float on now..scales shimmering in the afternoon..silver tears in the dying light.

"If a man can be said to be loved by his son, then that man can be considered great"
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on 17 January 1999
Anyone who's watched a parent die -- particularly when it's a long death -- knows how transforming this experience can be. Few writers have tackled the subject head-on, and I've never seen it treated quite this way: through a series of tall tales and humorous death-bed scenes. The final images of the book are especially beautiful.
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on 4 December 2003
Wholly original, Big Fish is possibly the most charming book you will read this year (hey, perhaps any year). Bursting with energy, avoiding mawkish sentiment, full of generous characterisation, Wallace has created a truly magical tale.
While Tim Burton is now directing a film version, originally Spielberg was attached, which should give you a fairly obvious pointer as to the tone and settings of the book.
The character of Edward Bloom is a mix of Willy Loman (albeit successful), and the protagonist from Moon Palace by Paul Auster, Marco Stanley Fogg (albeit with a deep rooted sense of family and belonging). His tales make the centre of the story, and it's easy to keep reading and reading due to the short chapters and the wonderfully understated yet totally absorbing nature of each adventure.
Highly recommended, a great read and, if you live in London, the perfect distraction to heinous journeys on the Tube.
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on 17 November 1998
BIG FISH is fantastic. I read it a few weeks ago, and it has totally stayed with me. I can't get it out of my mind, and keep picking it up and start rereading it at random, just to be back in its magical world. It's funny, witty, sad, and in the end incredibly moving. It's about learning to come to terms with your parents, with a son writing about his father as myth, a superhuman who seemed like he would live forever (and in a way, he does), and it's really remarkable that so short and light a book could be so incredibly powerful. BIG FISH should become a classic. Whatever you do, don't miss it.
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on 1 July 2004
Perhaps it is unfair to make comparisions with the film. I'm usually the kind of guy who will read a book after seeing the film as I often find the book to contain a great deal more detail. However I was extremely dissapointed with Big Fish especially after loving the film and hearing many good reviews of the book.
In my mind the book was repetitive and disjointed, lacking the emotion of its on-screen counterpart. Being an optimistic kinda person I believe it is important not to merely critise the book but marvel at Tim Burton's ability to realise it's (very well) hidden potential and turn this apathetic book into a cinematic delight. I hoped I never have to recommend anyone to watch the film instead.
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on 7 April 2014
I watched this because of my interest in the Broadway Stage Musical based on it. I can only say that it its (and I'm NOT a Tim Burton fan!) one of the most beautiful stories I have ever seen on film. Characters and storyline are endearing and gripping, the thought that we as parents pass the best of us onto our children is key to the film and is told beautifully. Finney, McGregor, De Vito et al are perfectly cast. Buy it and watch it over and over again. If I could give 6 stars I would.
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on 19 April 2009
I saw the film and couldn't wait to read the book... rushed out, bought it, ran a bath.....

Started reading and was instantly disapointed with lack of energy in the book that the film was full of.

It just seemed totally disjointed, chapters barely a page long, very repetitive and at times depressing. This is the only book where I have enjoyed the film more. After reading about his fathers death, for the 3rd time, I really couldn't wait for the final chapter. Not one part of the book seemed to flow into the next, it is more like a series of childish short stories trying to cover a more meaningful and deep theme. Unfortunately it fails miserably.

If you enjoyed the film, leave the book alone. If you fancy the book, watch the film instead.
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on 23 October 2004
I made the mistake of reading Big Fish after I had seen and fallen in love with the movie. Although I'm sure I would have loved the book had I not seen the film, I was disappointed by many things. The book holds none of the magic and brilliance that fill the movie. The father in the book is not the same as the father on the screen, and anyone who has seen the film would be disappointed by the difference in his character and actions.
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on 28 September 2012
When I picked up Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination my boyfriend picked up Big Fish but he didn't like it so he passed it on to me. I can kind of see where he is coming from, he thought it was just to fanciful *(says the guy who mainly reads fantasy books!). I suppose the way it was presented was like a biography but really most of the stories couldn't be true (except for maybe the naked woman and the snake, cause, you know, naked women are always at risk from snakes...). Actually though I quite enjoyed the stories, although I found it easier to see them as short stories in their own right rather than as a longer narative. I enjoyed it well enough although it wasn't really some great story. It was pretty humourous but it didn't really seem to have that much of a point really.

I prefered the film.
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