About the book

British Fantasy Award winner Chaz Brenchley is well known for lyrical and elegantly written stories and novels. Now he has crafted a deeply personal ghost story of dead twins and mad mothers, of Moleskine notebooks and teen friendships, of chess games and rambunctious dogs and the fine line between life and death.

Horror works best when it's about things that are actually worth being afraid of. English writer Chaz Brenchley, who tells a bizarre coming-of-age story in his lovely short novel BEING SMALL, knows how to give some heft and gravity to the anxieties of everyday life... Brenchley's tone is quiet, contemplative -- but it's intensely dramatic, in the way adolescent problems tend to be, in teenagers' inward eyes. 'It might be war,' Michael announces, 'where only the strong survive.' Brenchley makes this tooth-and-claw battle thrilling." - Terrence Rafferty, The New York Times, 10/24/14
Read the whole review.

Michael's shadow twin — Small — was his fetus in fetu before being removed and preserved in a specimen jar at the medical school. Michael and his single mother keep the rest of the world at bay while they hold the spirit of Small close — she homeschools Michael, moves house every six months, and at restaurants she asks for a table for three, "but there'll only be the two of us eating."

When Michael turns sixteen, he meets a household of men caring for Quin, dying of AIDS. Michael is drawn ever more deeply out of his lifelong conversation with his mother and Small and into the far more tangible world he finds at the house down the street with Quin, Kit, Gerard, and the others ...

...  and discovers some unexpected things about himself in the process.

Praise and reviews

“Brenchley worms his way into the heads and hearts of his characters and tells their terrible, tragic truths... an assured and accomplished story-teller at the peak of his powers.”

VAL McDERMID, Tangled Web

“The prose is impeccable...”

ELIZABETH BEAR, Realms of Fantasy

“... a lean novel with heavy themes, lyrical narration about harsh reality... Brenchley’s haunting characters feel like real people making real choices...”

MINDY KLASKY, bestselling author of the Glasswright series

“... a powerful, moving book that will haunt me a long, long time.”

JAIME LEE MOYER, award-winning author of Delia’s Shadow

Being Small is brilliantly creepy, too true to life to be full-blown horror, but deeply disturbing none the less... Highly recommended!”

KATHARINE KERR, author of The Deverry Cycle