Michael lives with mother and his dead brother Small.
They were twins, Michael and Small, until Michael absorbed Small into his stomach before being born. Small was removed to allow Michael to thrive, but that does not mean he has gone away.
Small is accounted for at meals, on birthdays. He is Michael’s main playmate, chess opponent and extra space to store memories and knowledge. Small has been twinned throughout his personality and circumstances since Michael was born. But when Michael makes his first friend he starts to drift away from his dead twin. On his 16th birthday and with a chance meeting with a dog and its owners, Michael starts to change.
But Small cannot change. He is dead. And he is not accepting of changes with and distance from his twin.
‘Being Small’ is one of the most human things I have ever read. From Michael, who always wants to be bigger and cannot handle being called small and his nomadic and very specifically mad mother, to the household of adults and the ill man that is the center of their lives it is a stunning look at the struggles that fill growing up, dealing with loss, trying to survive. It is rich with humanity, all the terrible tragedy and utter joy that makes up the human experience.
‘Being Small‘ is a coming of age story thick with ghosts. It is a look at identity, at learning, at human relationships, at coping. And it is beautifully written. Highly recommended.