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3.9 out of 5 stars
50
3.9 out of 5 stars
The Tiny Wife
Format: Paperback|Change
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 17 April 2012
The Tiny Wife is a thing of beauty, 80 pages of carefully wrought words enhanced by sharp, silhouette illustrations. Not a single word is wasted in this contemporary fable with echoes of Hans Christian Anderson, the Brothers Grimm and even a little pinch of Italo Calvino.

Our story opens in contemporary Toronto where a thief carries out a bank robbery with a difference - he asks each customer for the object which is of most sentimental value to them. It transpires that they have also handed over part of their soul and each victim experiences rather unpleasant side-effects. The narrator's wife, Stacey, starts shrinking with the worry that she will disappear forever, one woman's husband turns into a snowman, a lion tattoo on a woman's ankle comes to life, another woman turns into candy.

Somehow, these characters who seem to have stepped straight out of a travelling sideshow or Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected, retain a whimsical, magical air which lifts them out of the truly macabre. Each reader will take something different from this box of delights, even a moral lesson not to take others for granted if you wish to be educated! A quirky, idiosyncratic read for those who like a little touch of magic in their everyday lives.
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on 13 February 2012
I read this tiny book yesterday; in fact The Tiny Wife by Andrew Kaufman is so tiny that I read it all during a session on the exercise bike at the gym. And it was so enigmatic that I read it a second time when I was pedaling again today. Although the book opens with a real situation - an armed man (in a purple hat) walks into a bank, fires into the ceiling and tells everyone to lie on the floor - before long it's apparent that if Kaufman was an artist he would be Salvador Dali rather than Rembrandt; the book becomes a series of fables after each hostage hands the robber the most precious item they have with them and subsequently weird and sometimes wonderful things happen to them. The fate of Stacey, the wife of the title who starts to shrink, is the central theme of the book but half a dozen or more small parables are cleverly interwoven into it - the author has crammed a great deal into eighteen short chapters. The book could be open to several interpretations and I'm sure that this was the author's intention but I was left (quite appropriately on the eve of Valentine's day) with an overriding message of the importance of love. This is a book that you'll either love or hate and you may take some time to decide which but, after the second reading, I'm in the love camp.

Please see my profile for my interpretation of star ratings.
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on 3 August 2017
not my thing
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on 4 July 2017
Fantastic fun. Wild and bizarre, but also very heartwarming. Full of imagination and great storytelling. I would highly recommend it.
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on 23 August 2013
I thought this book was about a small woman and big husband but it wasn't. It was a bit magical in a weird sort of way.
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on 28 April 2017
Lovely book!
Really surreal, I loved it.
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on 7 November 2011
"The robbery was not without consequences. The consequences were the point of the robbery."

When a man in a purple hat walks into the bank with a loaded gun, it's not money he's after but an item of sentimental value from each victim. In the days following this odd robbery, weird things start happening. A tattoo comes alive, a woman discovers she's made of candy and our narrator's wife starts slowly shrinking.

The Tiny Wife is a tiny book, really more of a novella but it's a wonderful, surreal little fable. It manages to be both whimsical and macabre at the same time with an underlying message about taking your life for granted. Not only that, but it's illustrated too, in a shadow puppet style.
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VINE VOICEon 6 September 2011
During a bank robbery the thief asks those present to hand over their most precious possession, and in return he takes a portion of their soul. In the pages that follow those involved find their lives take a bizarre turn: a woman finds her husband has become a snowman; a baby defecates money; a tattoo of a lion comes to life and pursues its owner; and the "tiny wife" of the title is a woman who starts to shrink, gradually at first, then in bigger steps. Will she eventually disappear?

This wonderful book is undeniably short - 88 pages in a small, "Ladybird" book-sized hardback with simple but effective line drawings - and could easily be read in an hour or so, but you'll want to savour the brilliantly surreal story. Filled with moments of hilarity and incredible sadness this tiny book is an absolute gem, and for me is up there with Kaufman's classic debut "All My Friends Are Superheroes". Granted, the whole shrinking idea has been done before in the likes of "The Incredible Shrinking Man" and a book I remember as a child ("The Vanishment of Thomas Tull" - would love to read that one again!) but the bizarre plot in this book is entirely unique, as is Kaufman's priceless sense of humour and the emotion he wrings from such a short tale.

My favourite book of 2011 so far, and unreservedly recommended.
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on 17 July 2013
I think this novella is one of the most quirky things I’ve read in a long time. It’s naturally a quick read, it’s 80 pages long, but the author fits so much story into them that I found myself thinking about it long after I’d finished reading. I’m still not entirely sure I’ve absorbed it all, I think this is going to be one of those books that is a real pleasure to return to and read again and find a whole new layer each time.

The book is narrated by Stacey’s husband, he begins by telling the story of the robbery that sets off the story. He wasn’t there, he’s very clear on this, he’s simply repeating the story as he’s heard it. The robbery in itself is pretty strange – the idea of stealing items that have sentimental rather than material value makes for an interesting robbery indeed.

The ways the characters were affected after the robbery are all very imaginative, after the first couple are described I found myself wondering what would come next. Some of the end results made me feel really sad.

I think this book is probably going to be one that polarises opinions. I can see how some people will absolutely love it and how it’ll leave other people cold. I can’t say that at the moment I fall entire either camp, I liked it but didn’t love it, but I think over time and with more thinking I’ll end up in the love camp.
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on 5 August 2013
Subtle and imaginative, this short book is a magical tale of how we are each responsible for our own pain and suffering. Thirteen bank customers get an item of sentimental value stolen by a bizarre and rather likeable thief. He sets them a deadline to recover that stolen piece of their souls ... or else they'll die.

The main character is the narrator's wife, who starts to shrink and shrink. We also find out what happens to the other 12 in the bank and, in doing so, we're gently taught that it's only when we find the courage to face our deepest fears behind the illusions of our lives that we can find happiness.

Approachable, entertaining and very funny, this is a terrific book to read.
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