The Little Shadows

The Little Shadows Here is the eagerly anticipated new novel from a brilliant writer whose last book Good to a Fault was shortlisted for the prestigious Giller Prize and won the Commonwealth Prize for Canada and the C

  • Title: The Little Shadows
  • Author: Marina Endicott
  • ISBN: 9780385668910
  • Page: 499
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Here is the eagerly anticipated new novel from a brilliant writer whose last book, Good to a Fault, was shortlisted for the prestigious Giller Prize and won the Commonwealth Prize for Canada and the Caribbean.The Little Shadows revolves around three sisters in the world of vaudeville before and during the First World War We follow the lives of all three in turn Aurora, tHere is the eagerly anticipated new novel from a brilliant writer whose last book, Good to a Fault, was shortlisted for the prestigious Giller Prize and won the Commonwealth Prize for Canada and the Caribbean.The Little Shadows revolves around three sisters in the world of vaudeville before and during the First World War We follow the lives of all three in turn Aurora, the eldest and most beautiful, who is sixteen when the book opens thoughtful Clover, a year younger and the youngest sister, joyous headstrong sprite Bella, who is thirteen The girls, overseen by their fond but barely coping Mama, are forced to make their living as a singing act after the untimely death of their father They begin with little besides youth and hope, but Marina Endicott s genius is to show how the three girls slowly and steadily evolve into true artists even as they navigate their way to adulthood among a cast of extraordinary characters some of them charming charlatans, some of them unpredictable eccentrics, and some of them just ordinary seeming humans with magical gifts.Using her gorgeous prose and extraordinary insight, Endicott lures us onto the brightly lit stage and then into the little shadows that lurk behind the curtain, and reveals how the art of vaudeville in all its variety, madness, melodrama, hilarity and sorrow echoes the art of life itself.

    One thought on “The Little Shadows”

    1. Oh. My. God. It actually took me 2 weeks to read this book. It was my own private hell. This is the story of 3 Canadian sisters' travels through early 1900's vaudeville. The author must have done extensive research on vaudeville acts pre WWI and she describes each and every one of them, ad nauseum. An editor would have been greatly appreciated and this 520+ page book should have been half the length. However once you strip away all the description of the acts the story of the 3 sisters has been [...]

    2. What a wonderful story!It began Canada, to a cold, snowy day in 1912.Flora Avery took her three daughters – Aurora, Clover and Bella – to an audition. She had been a vaudeville star, before her marriage to a school-teacher, and now she wanted the same for her girls.I wondered if she was a pushy, show business mother, but she wasn’t. She was a widow, struggling to cope, and doing the best she could for her girls.Vaudeville was hugely popular in those days, when cinema was in its infancy and [...]

    3. The Little Shadows is a beautifully written coming-of-age tale of three sisters at the beginning of the twentieth century. At a time when moving pictures were in their infancy and television was the stuff of science fiction, vaudeville was one of the few forms of entertainment available and was hugely popular. So, when their father dies, Flora, the girls' mother decides to have them audition as a song-and-dance routine. They are not particularly talented but, thanks mainly to the eldest sister's [...]

    4. Vaudeville is a wonderous art form that has sadly long left our world. A world were stage entertainment is king and is a life that Flora wants to get her three young daughters Aurora, Clover and Belle into and will fight to the bone to have them be successful. Flora a former Vaudeville performer herself is struggling to keep the family afloat after the death of her son to pneumonia and the suicide death of her husband and now she is down to her last $20. After numerous humilating failed audition [...]

    5. The Little Shadows by Marina Endicott is a historical novel set in the years preceding and during World War I. It is the story of three sisters, teenagers as the story begins, who travel with their mother to support the family as a vaudeville act. The book is 527 pages long, but I was engaged in the story immediately. I loved the way the author switched back and forth between the sisters (especially) and the mother (occasionally). It took a while for the characters to grow on me, but I enjoyed a [...]

    6. Extremely mixed feelings about this one. It is probably quite good, but I just couldn't get into it. I ended up reading a multitude of books while reading this one, which is a sign that a book is not doing something for me.That said, one of the reasons why I didn't like it was because I LOVED "Good to a fault." I find that sometimes when I love, love, love one book by an author, it makes it more difficult for me to love other books by them. (See Lynn Coady's "The Antagonist" due to "Mean Boy" lo [...]

    7. I have been looking forward to this novel since it came out and I first read its blurb, and despite requesting several review copies, I had to wait until it was given to me as a birthday present back in June. What I found when I opened its pages was a marvellous novel. I am so interested in vaudeville, and this story is such a great one. I love the way in which the story is split up into sections pertaining to the theatre – ‘Ouverture’, ‘Act 1/Act 2’, ‘Intermission’, ‘Act 3/Act 4 [...]

    8. Damn that is one good book.The ending had me weeping. It was perfect.The story of three sisters, their mother and the people of their lives. vaudeville.I love how smoothly she moves from girl to girl. I watch it, these last few days with Elephant Shoes (a novella I’m working on) in mind.I’m not sure I understand all the little titles for the scenes/chapters or the structure as a whole - though I’m betting it is intensely “built” along those lines. I might have to study it to really app [...]

    9. What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the nightthe breath of a buffalo in the wintertimethe little shadow which runs across the grassand loses itself in the sunset.~Crowfoot The Little Shadows opens in 1912 as Flora – recent widow and former vaudeville star, down to her last twenty dollars – ushers her three teenage daughters to an audition at the Empress Theatre in Fort Macleod. Having been trained in song and dance by their mother for their entire lives, the girls believe themselve [...]

    10. First I would like to say kudos to Marina Endicott for receiving some very prestigious nominations being first long listed for the Giller and now in the running for the Governor General. These are very important awards and clearly many people have seen something praiseworthy in her characters and writing. Unfortunately, I was supremely disappointed in this novel. The characters lacked depth and diversity; the sisters were uninspiring and their relationship with each other rather flat; the mother [...]

    11. Let me begin by saying that my estimation of this book suffers from two biases. First is the fact that I read Good to a Fault earlier this year and loved its exploration of the complexity of modern life, its depth of characterization, and its choice of a messy and somewhat ambiguous ending. Second is that I am growing weary of historical fiction and annoyed by the fact that almost every major Canadian publisher has released a 'big name author' work of historical fiction this fall - Vanderhaeghe, [...]

    12. Vaudeville was a popular form of entertainment that featured a variety of acts beginning in the late 19th century. Marina Endicott’s The Little Shadows is set just before and during the years of World War I. It is a form of entertainment that I have never read about before, so I was intrigued to discover what it was all about. The author drew influence from Buster Keaton and the Pantages theaters. It was evident that the acts enjoyed at these shows were quite different than what is standard in [...]

    13. A very enjoyable book. Captivated and enchanted as I was with Marina Endicott's earlier book, "Good to a Fault", I was excited to read The Little Shadows. Set in 1912-17 in western Canada and focused on the Vaudeville phenomenon of that time, This story revolves around the experiences and relationships of four women: Flora a new widow and former Vaudeville performer, and her three teenage daughters: Aurora, Clover and Bella. Switching seamlessly back and forth through the different Points of Vie [...]

    14. Basically enjoyed this book - slow, gentle read with a lot of descriptive lovely language. Enjoyed the references to familiar geographical locations and once I got going it was a good compelling story. The strength of the bond of these four women and how they took care of each other and survived in a challenging social time was interesting. Wish that we were able to give "half" measures in our ratings as I would rate this a 3.5.Found the concept of live vaudeville in the 1900s in Western Canada [...]

    15. I so wanted to love this book. Really. I'm actually giving it 2 1/2 stars. I saw the author at a Chapters event and was truly excited for this book. The main reason for the low rating is that it took me almost 3 weeks to get through this book. I normally read about one book a week. I was still half way through the book and was never really drawn into the story, or lack of I thought.

    16. I couldn't finish this bbok, it just dragged on a bit. I don't actually know what the plot was supposed to be, if there even was one. I did enjoy the language used in the book but other than that it was all a bit boring.

    17. A moving tale of vaudeville in the early 1900's. Three talented sisters trying to make a name for themselves and their mother after the death of their father. All the difficulties, struggles, disappointments, heartaches and tragedies of the life they chose to lead but also the friendships, and thrills when everything went right.

    18. After their father's death, the three Avery sisters, along with their mother's guidance, perform on the vaudeville circuit around the time of the First World War.While this tale gives an interesting insight into the lives of travelling performers as well as the development of the sisters' careers, there was often more detail than necessary into the acts of other minor characters.

    19. Did not engage me until about the middle of the book. It was a fascinating history of vaudeville. But I didn't love the characters right away and found the book jumped around at the beginning.Took me a long time to finish .

    20. Like having teeth pulled. Tediously dreary account. The author seems determined to cram the book with everything she ever read about vaudeville.

    21. Ugh. Way too slow with too many off-shoots . Thought I would get engaged as I am familiar with the places mentioned , but

    22. It was a struggle to get through the first part of this book, but as the characters grew and their stories emerged I found it was worth the effort.

    23. Having been impressed by Good to a Fault I was delighted to discover The Little Shadows on my doorstep one afternoon (Courtesy Allen & Unwin Australia}. The premise was particularity inviting, promising a backstage glimpse at the life of vaudeville performers in the beginning on 1900's. Marina Endicott lifts the curtain to reveal Aurora, Clover, Belle and their mother auditioning to join a vaudeville house. The Avery sisters are young and pretty with sweet voices and their mother, once a per [...]

    24. The year is 1912 and after the death of their father and baby brother the three Avery sisters, Aurora, Clover and Bella hit the road with their mother to start their career as vaudeville stars.Flora Avery, the girls’ mother, worked in vaudeville before she married their father and gratefully uses contacts from the old days to get her girls started. But, it is by no means plain sailing. The world of vaudeville is highly competitive and knows no mercy. If you don’t entertain the audience you a [...]

    25. I love historical fiction, and this book does exactly what historical fiction should do, both entertains and educates. The fact that it takes place largely in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Montana, in places I have visited, makes it even more appealing to me. I was hooked right from the opening chapter, which takes place at the Empress Theatre in Fort Macleod, which is still standing and which I visited last summer. And it explores the world of vaudeville, about which I have always been curious but [...]

    26. I started out not enjoying it very much, but got caught up in the sisters' lives and what a glorius ending. It reminds me how important an ending can be, especially one that is memorable: "Wait!" she cried. "Wait for me!"And maybe there is just not enough novels of Canadian historical significanceW Magazine review:I have been known to mock the Governor General’s fiction jury when it appears to worry more about its mandate than about the quality of the work. Because the GGs want to honour the r [...]

    27. ****Please note I won this book as a Giveaway*******I feel somewhat bad for only rating this book as okay. I feel guilty that it took me so long to finish reading it, especially after winning it as a giveaway. I thought this book would be more fun than it was, being about the vaudeville era.The main disappointment was the plodding pace of the book. I put this down after barely a hundred pages to read other things. It dragged on, and didn't really catch my interest until somewhere around page 35 [...]

    28. After immensely enjoying Good to a Fault some years ago, I came to The Little Shadows with big expectations. I was not disappointed to again find myself in the gifted hands of one of Canada’s great writing talents. The Little Shadows is literary historical fiction at its best. Many beautifully written passages reminded me why Marina Endicott’s books have found themselves on the Governor General’s Literary Award and Giller Prize short-lists.The Little Shadows tells the story of the three Av [...]

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