The Wonders of the Little World

978-1-62288-252-6 Paperback
6 x 9 x 0 in
290 pp.
Pub Date: 01/31/2024


  • Paperback $25.00

 “A storyteller with remarkable gifts.” 

--Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.                                     


                The Wonders of the Little World is a compelling novel that, like a journey down the midway of a colorful carnival, is filled with mystery and magic, surprise and wonder.

       Estelle Esmeralda, a fortune teller in a suffocating, small-scale carnival, is unable to predict her own future, much less discover where her missing husband has gone.  With their precocious eleven-year-old daughter riding along, Estelle sets out on a road trip to search for Tony, a charismatic tightrope walker who disappeared suddenly on a quest to rectify his past.

         Interspersed between Estelle and Tony’s chapters are secret journal entries by the spunky Ariel, who fills the pages with creative observations about her life within the unique and sometimes puzzling confines of the carnival.

      The Wonders of the Little World will delight the reader like a free-wheeling thrill ride that leads straight to the heart.  With its unforgettable main characters trying to discover their place in the world, the story explores the thin lines between truth and lies, between who someone is and who they want to be.  Part road trip across 1960s America, part love story, and part illumination of a family struggling to heal itself, this novel immerses the reader into a world that is not only entertaining but also moving and, ultimately, enlightening.


Bill Meissner's prose is simultaneously a subtle and high-wire act, and his story-telling talents are on full display in The Wonders of the Little World

. This new novel is both haunting and lovely as Meissner brings this gallery of irresistible, compassionately rendered carnival characters to life. And to a way of life: unique, nomadic, and most of all, emotionally riveting at every stop along the way.

                                                                                                                                       -- Jack Driscoll, author of 20 Stories: New & Selected         

Bill Meissner is such a beautiful writer. I admire his voice, his eye for detail, and his gentle humor, and The Wonders of the Little World might be his best novel yet. I was hooked from page one, and ready to follow Ariel, Estelle, and Tony wherever the road might take them. There’s wonder and magic in these pages.

                                                                                                                     -- Shannon Olson, author of Welcome to My Planet: Where English is Sometimes Spoken 

Regarding Meissner’s previous novel, National Book Award winner Tim O’Brien stated, “Meissner has the storyteller’s gift for creating living characters, living speech, living emotions, living drama. He knows the workings of the human heart.”




Published by Stephen F. Austin University Press