The Little Animals

Sarah Tolmie. Aqueduct, $20 trade paper (378p) ISBN 978-1-61976-161-2
Tolmie (The Stone Boatmen) intricately weaves together the best of historical and weird fiction in this delicate tale of science and miracles. In 17th-century Delft, Holland, draper and scientist Antonie Leeuwenhoek is on the verge of a breakthrough discovery: that various substances are teeming with living “animalcules” that can only be seen by microscope. He is determined to prove his theories correct, though few people believe him. When he visits the Delft marketplace, he comes across a nameless, homeless goose-herding girl who says that she is followed by a cacophony of tiny voices. Leeuwenhoek strikes up an uneasy alliance with the girl, as he is certain the voices are those of the animalcules. Leeuwenhoek and the goose girl’s investigations into the worlds of the animalcules destabilize the realms of religion, art, and science. Tolmie balances careful characterization with rich historical detail, subtle humor, and energetic prose. Her central characters are suffused with color, and her prose captures the joys and uncertainties of life-changing discoveries. This delightful novel is not to be missed. (May)
Reviewed on : 03/18/2019
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
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