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Keith Donohue

Fiction and Excerpts [1]
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Fiction and Excerpts [1]

Five Books About Living Dolls and Puppets

I hate puppets. Uncanny, scary, they are too much like us, especially when they have a life of their own. Dolls are just as bad. Ventriloquist dummies give me the creeps. Basically, any homunculus or simulacrum of the human unsettles and delights the soul.

Perhaps that’s a strange thing to admit, given that my new novel The Motion of Puppets is, in part, about a strange troupe of puppets that come to life every evening in the back of toy shop in Quebec. When I was a young boy, I saw an old “Merrie Melodies” cartoon that showed how the toys would have a party after midnight and return to their places before the next dawn. That cartoon was one of those fantasias that left a lifelong impression on me.

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Series: Five Books About…

The Motion of Puppets

In the Old City of Québec, Kay Harper falls in love with a puppet in the window of the Quatre Mains, a toy shop that is never open. She is spending her summer working as an acrobat with the cirque while her husband, Theo, is translating a biography of the pioneering photographer Eadweard Muybridge. Late one night, Kay fears someone is following her home. Surprised to see that the lights of the toy shop are on and the door is open, she takes shelter inside.

The next morning Theo wakes up to discover his wife is missing. Under police suspicion and frantic at her disappearance, he obsessively searches the streets of the Old City. Meanwhile, Kay has been transformed into a puppet, and is now a prisoner of the back room of the Quatre Mains, trapped with an odd assemblage of puppets from all over the world who can only come alive between the hours of midnight and dawn. The only way she can return to the human world is if Theo can find her and recognize her in her new form.

From the bestselling author of The Boy Who Drew Monsters and The Stolen Child comes a modern take on the Orpheus and Eurydice myth—Keith Donohue’s The Motion of Puppets, available October 4th from Picador.

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