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Launch: The Doll’s Alphabet by Camilla Grudova
12 September @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Please join us to celebrate THE DOLL’S ALPHABET, published in February 2017 by Fitzcarraldo Editions, on the occasion of a rare visit by Camilla Grudova from Canada. There will be a short reading. There will be drinks. The event is free to attend.
Surreal, ambitious and exquisitely conceived, THE DOLL’S ALPHABET is a collection of stories in the tradition of Angela Carter and Margaret Atwood. Dolls, sewing machines, tinned foods, mirrors, malfunctioning bodies – many images recur in stories that are in turn child-like and naive, grotesque and very dark. In ‘Unstitching’, a feminist revolution takes place. In ‘Waxy’, a factory worker fights to keep hold of her Man in a society where it is frowned upon to be Manless. In ‘Agata’s Machine’, two schoolgirls conjure a Pierrot and an angel in a dank attic room. In ‘Notes from a Spider’, a half-man, half-spider finds love in a great European city. By constantly reinventing ways to engage with her obsessions and motifs, Camilla Grudova has come up with a method for storytelling that is highly imaginative, incredibly original, and absolutely discomfiting.
‘That I cannot say what all these stories are about is a testament to their worth. They have been haunting me for days now. They have their own, highly distinct flavour, and the inevitability of uncomfortable dreams.’
— Nick Lezard, GUARDIAN
‘If fairytales could dream, this nightmarish collection is what you might end up with. Grudova’s closest living counterpart could be Ben Marcus, with whom she shares a heavy debt to Kafka… But the atmosphere of her fantastical, semi-dystopian settings is so unique and persuasive that the day after finishing the book, I awoke from a dream to realize that it had taken place in Grudova’s universe. … The author’s surreal humour, often delivered via deadpan dream logic, recalls the startling short stories of Leonora Carrington. Both Carrington and Grudova excel at a certain well-placed, pedestrian literalism that works deliciously against the magical elements in their fiction.’
— Claire Lowdon, TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT
‘I haven’t read anything as strange or brilliant as this in a long time. I know it won’t be for everybody but it’s very risk taking and it’s easy to write what everybody else writes and that’s not what Camilla Grudova is doing. […] We need work like this in the world.’
— Sinead Gleeson, Arena RTE Radio 1
‘This doll’s eye view is a total delight and surveys a world awash with shadowy wit and exquisite collisions of beauty and the grotesque.’
— Helen Oyeyemi, author of BOY, SNOW, BIRD
‘Imagine a world in which the Brothers Grimm were two exquisite, black-eyed twin sisters in torn stockings and handstitched velvet dresses. Knowing, baroque, perfect, daring, clever, fastidious, Camilla Grudova is Angela Carter’s natural inheritor. Her style is effortlessly spare and wonderfully seductive. Read her! Love her! She is sincerely strange – a glittering literary gem in a landscape awash with paste and glue and artificial settings.’
— Nicola Barker, author of DARKMANS
‘Down to its most particular details, THE DOLL’S ALPHABET creates an individual world – a landscape I have never encountered before, which now feels like it was been waiting to be captured, and waiting to captivate, all along.’
— Sheila Heti, author of HOW SHOULD A PERSON BE
‘Marvellous. Grudova understands that the best writing has to pull off the hardest aesthetic trick – it has to be both memorable and fleeting.’
— Deborah Levy, author of HOT MILK
Camilla Grudova lives in Toronto. She holds a degree in Art History and German from McGill University, Montreal. Her fiction has appeared in THE WHITE REVIEW and GRANTA. She won a Shirley Jackson Award in the ‘Best Novelette’ category for ‘Waxy’ in 2017.