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Posts tagged 'Magical Realism'

The Motion of Puppets by Keith Donohue

DonohuePuppets“Never enter a toyshop after moonlight.” Such is the advice of the main character in The Motion of Puppets. Having read and enjoyed this strange and fascinating book, I will heed that advice from now on!

Main character Kay Harper, a gymnast, has the opportunity of a lifetime – a gig as an acrobat with the Cirque in Quebec for the summer – what fun! Her lovely newlywed husband, Theo, a translator of French to English, is with her, and he often walks Kay safely home after her show gets out late at night. But when Kay walks home alone, she usually stops to gaze into the puppet-filled window of a toy shop. Puppets of all kinds--marionettes, stick puppets, finger puppets, old, new, and remade--fascinate her. One in particular, a little puppet man who’s under a dome of glass, holds particular interest, and she wishes he could come alive and talk to her.

One night, after a circus performance, and a night out with the cast, Kay disappears. She fails to return to the apartment she and Theo share, and she fails to report to work the next day.  Where could this young wife have gone? Theo thinks it has something to do with her fascination with the puppets – but how could that be? When the puppets disappear and the toy shop closes, he is convinced there is cause and effect – but how can he find the puppets, and presumably, his wife Kay.

Be prepared to suspend belief as you read this well-written book, and allow yourself to join Theo as he searches for his lost wife.  There are elements of fantasy in this book, which reminded me very much of fairy tales I read as a child. I don’t normally read anything remotely resembling fantasy, but have to say that I enjoyed this book very much, and am still thinking about it. I’ll never think of puppets the same way again, and nor will you after reading The Motion of Puppets

Nancy Picks  Mystery  Magical Realism  Horror  Fantasy


Bill Broun's Night of the Animals

BrounLondon, 2052. The UK is an extreme surveillance state governed by Henry IX, a.k.a. “Harry9.” Inequality and substance abuse are rampant (the drug of choice is Flôt, a legal hallucinogen with ruinous withdrawal effects). The natural world has withered away and most of the world's remaining “natural” animals (i.e., not genetic clones) are confined to zoos. To add to unpleasantness, the sighting of the Urga-Rampos comet is causing cultists to come out of the woodwork. They're conducting mass ritualistic suicide, and they're bent on taking animals with them.

Enter Cuthbert “Cutty” Handley—a homeless “Flôt sot” of some 90 years (lifespan extending medicine and artificial organs are one positive of this future). As a child, Cutty's brother Drystan disappeared while playing in the woods one day. Drystan may or may not have become a sort of “Christ of the Otters,” as evidenced by the large mustelid Cutty saw in his brother's stead. Since then, Cutty may or may not have gained the ability to communicate with animals. His grandmother called this gift “The Wonderments.” His primary care provider, Dr. Bajwa, calls it a sign of mental illness. Either way, Cutty has taken it upon himself to free the animals from the London Zoo—especially the otters—as an act of atonement, and as a way of seeking closure with his long lost brother.

At the risk of sounding cliché, this book is unlike anything I have ever read. The story works together speculative fiction, magical realism, and world religions (Christian, Sufi, and Sikh faiths play important roles in the characters' lives). The writing is an interesting patchwork of “fading and emerging” dialects, slang, and jargon, with footnotes to help us out when needed. I would recommend this book to fans of science fiction, offbeat literature, and animal lovers. I’m definitely interested in seeing what first time author Broun does next.


SciFi  Magical Realism  Jake's Picks  Fantasy  Dystopia  Contemporary


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