978-0-06-019316-4 / 9780060193164

In the Little World: A True Story of Dwarfs, Love, and Trouble





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About the book:

Dr. Kopits takes me into an examining room and leans against the stainless steel bench and asks me what I'm writing about this time. When I tell him what I saw in Australia, he immediately starts to nod. "This is a great subject," he says. Then he stops, as if caught by the subject himself.

I wait.

After a moment, he continues. "What you are looking into is the abyss. This takes you to the very heart of a human being, to the deepest aspect of the soul.

He gives me one of his solemn looks. "Because the thing is, you have to confront yourself."

(from In the Little World)

In 1997, almost by accident, John H. Richardson found himself sharing a hotel with more than a thousand dwarfs. Over the course of a single week, he witnessed love and anger, fear and bravery, arrogance and humility, even a bizarre romantic deception -- the entire spectrum of human emotion in one concentrated dose. But at the end of the week, he discovered that leaving the "Little World" wasn't as simple as checking out of a hotel. In fact, his journey would last a full two years.

At a time when bigger often seems synonymous with better, and physical beauty serves as currency, the world of dwarfs usually passes beneath our notice. Now, in this groundbreaking work, awardwinning author John H. Richardson brings the Little World into focus.

He introduces us to characters like a saintly but obsessed doctor and a mother who sacrifices her family to save her dwarf daughter. He follows two dwarf lovers from first meeting through the struggle to overcome their fear and shame and find the confidence to love each other. He becomes personally involved in a tangled and often confrontational friendship with a female dwarf. Through these stories and musings ranging from classic theories of beauty to the history of the disability movement to postmodern theories of difference, Richardson presents a world that is a skewed reflection of our own -- and offers us a glimpse into the essential human condition.

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