The Tiny Wife by Andrew Kaufman
A robber charges into a bank with a loaded gun, but instead of taking any money he steals an item of sentimental value from each person. Once he has made his escape, strange things start to happen to the victims.
A tattoo comes to life, a husband turns into a snowman, a baby starts to shit money. And Stacey Hinterland discovers that she’s shrinking, a little every day, and there is seemingly nothing that she or her husband can do to reverse the process.
Can Stacey and the other victims find a solution before it is too late?
When I first saw The Tiny Wife, there’s no doubt I admired its compact cuteness but I have to admit, even I turned my nose up slightly when I saw that it was £10! I couldn’t quite fathom who would spend so much money on such a tiny book. So when I found an abandoned copy of it in the staff room, I quickly jumped at the chance to read it, and I have to say I am very glad I did, and now I’m here to eat my words and tell you why you should spend a whole £10 on this tiny, weenie book! For one, it looks beautiful – the cover is wonderfully designed and the text itself is interspersed with lovely illustrations by Tom Percival. It’s the kind of book I’d love to give as a gift to someone, just to put a smile on their face.
This is a lovely modern fable that will is not only genuinely funny but also incredibly heart-warming. The initial idea of a thief who doesn’t rob money from a bank, but instead takes the one item that means the most to each person there, is a genius idea and one that has made me slightly jealous of Kaufman’s wonderful imagination. But the thief doesn’t just take these items, he also takes 51% of each of their souls, and it is up to them to find a way to grow it back, or die. The whole 88-page tale is narrated by the tiny wife’s husband, as he slowly watches his wife shrink a little more each day, feeling utterly helpless as there is seemingly nothing either can do to prevent it. Meanwhile, his wife attends a support group, where all the other people from the bank meet to discuss what has happened to them since the incident at the bank, and most importantly to see who else has managed to survive. Slowly, each member is picked off one by one – whether it be by a lion who has come to life straight out of a tattoo, or by realising you’re now made out of candy.
There are so many whimsical ideas packed into this tiny novella. You may devour it within an afternoon, but the story and its endearing characters will stay with you many weeks later. To make a novella like this work, you have to make an impact and I honestly can’t fault Kaufman for that. It’s a small book with a big heart and plenty to say, and I assure you it’s worth every penny.
The Tiny Wife is out now, published by The Friday Project, an imprint of HarperCollins.