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Big Fish Paperback – 1 Sep 2003

4.1 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Paperback, 1 Sep 2003
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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books; New edition edition (1 Sept. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743478436
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743478434
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 13 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,387,004 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Both comic and poignant." --"The New York Times" ""

"Refreshing, original . . . Wallace mixes the mundane and the mythical. His chapters have the transformative quality of fable and fairy tale." --"Publishers Weekly", starred review ""

"A charming whopper of a tale." --"The San Diego Union-Tribune"

"A comic novel about death, about the mysteries of parents and the redemptive power of storytelling." --"USA Today" ""

"An audacious, highly original debut novel . . . An imaginative, and moving, record of a son's love for a charming, unknowable father." --"Kirkus Reviews"

A charming whopper of a tale. "The San Diego Union-Tribune" Both comic and poignant. "The New York Times" Refreshing, original . . . Wallace mixes the mundane and the mythical. His chapters have the transformative quality of fable and fairy tale. "Publishers Weekly," starred review

A comic novel about death, about the mysteries of parents and the redemptive power of storytelling. "USA Today"

An audacious, highly original debut novel . . . An imaginative, and moving, record of a son s love for a charming, unknowable father. "Kirkus Reviews"" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

William Bloom’s father, Edward, is dying. In his prime he was an extraordinary man: animals loved him, people loved him, women loved him; he was an inspired salesman – a visionary, in fact; and he knew more jokes than any man alive.

Or at least, that’s what he’s told his son. But Edward wasn’t really around that much and now, watching his father die, William grows increasingly desperate to know him before it’s all too late. In a wonderful sleight of hand, William re-creates his elusive father’s life in a series of legends and myths inspired by the few facts he knows. Through these tales, William begins to understand Edward Bloom’s great feats – and his great failings – managing to reckon with the father he’s about to lose. And find a way to say goodbye.

A highly original, funny, poignant debut, Big Fish teaches us about the art of joke telling, the transformative power of storytelling, and one way of moving from life to death. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 31 Jan. 2004
Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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By A Customer on 17 Jan. 1999
Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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