The DollmakerNina Allan
EWA CHAPLIN WASN'T AFRAID TO MAKE DOLLS THAT WEREN'T COMFORTING. SHE SEEMED TO KNOW THAT DOLLS ARE PEOPLE, JUST LIKE US.
THE BEWITCHING NEW NOVEL FROM THE AWARD-WINNING GUARDIAN FRESH VOICES AUTHOR
'A fantastic book' Andrew O'Hagan
'Wholly original - worthy of a modern Grimm' Andrew Caldecott, author of Rotherweird
'A masterful and multi-layered haunted toyshop of a novel' Tony White, author of The Fountain in the Forest
Stitch by perfect stitch, Andrew Garvie makes exquisite dolls in the finest antique style. Like him, they are diminutive, but graceful, unique and with surprising depths. Perhaps that's why he answers the enigmatic personal ad in his collector's magazine.
Letter by letter, Bramber Winters reveals more of her strange, sheltered life in an institution on Bodmin Moor, and the terrible events that put her there as a child. Andrew knows what it is to be trapped; and as they knit closer together, he weaves a curious plan to rescue her.
On his journey through the old towns of England he reads the fairytales of Ewa Chaplin - potent, eldritch stories which, like her lifelike dolls, pluck at the edges of reality and thread their way into his mind. When Andrew and Bramber meet at last, they will have a choice - to remain alone with their painful pasts or break free and, unlike their dolls, come to life.
A love story of two very real, unusual people, The Dollmaker is also a novel rich with wonders: Andrew's quest and Bramber's letters unspool around the dark fables that give our familiar world an uncanny edge. It is this touch of magic that, like the blink of a doll's eyes, tricks our own...
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Nina Allan was born in Whitechapel, London, grew up in the Midlands and West Sussex, and studied Russian literature at the University of Exeter and Corpus Christi College, Oxford. She wrote her first short story at the age of six. Recurring obsessions include old clocks and rare insects, forgotten manuscripts and abandoned houses. Writers who have inspired and continue to inspire her include among many others Vladimir Nabokov, Iris Murdoch, Joyce Carol Oates, Paul Auster, J. G Ballard, Roberto Bolano, M. John Harrison and of course Christopher Priest, her partner and first reader. They live and work in the historic seaside town of Hastings, East Sussex.
Nina's stories have appeared regularly in premier British