Dorothy Tse, Natascha Bruce
In the mountainous city of Nevers, there lives a professor of literature called Q. He has a dull marriage and a lacklustre career, but also a scrumptious collection of antique dolls locked away in his cupboard. And soon Q lands his crowning acquisition: a music box ballerina named Aliss who tantalizingly springs to life. Guided by his mysterious friend Owlish and inspired by an inexplicably familiar painting, Q embarks on an all-consuming love affair with Aliss, oblivious to the sinister forces encroaching on his city and the protests spreading across the university that have left his classrooms all but empty. Thrumming with secrets and shape-shifting geographies, Dorothy Tse’s extraordinary debut novel is a boldly inventive exploration of life under repressive conditions.
'Beguilingly eerie, richly textured, the pages of Owlish are drenched in strange beauty and menace. Like all the best fairy tales, it reveals the dark truths that we would rather not look at directly, and does so with a surreal and singular clarity.' - Sophie Mackintosh, author of Cursed Bread 'Dorothy Tse is a magnificent historian of unreal places. Her sage and serious characters are cast adrift in realities that are neither sage nor serious at all - and possibly impossible. Her parallel worlds and paradoxes brilliantly illuminate our own reality, with all its fictions masquerading as facts (and vice versa). Boundlessly creative, richly philosophical - I loved this book.' - Joanna Kavenna, author of Zed 'A magical and potent tale for these tyrannical times.' - NoViolet Bulawayo, author of Glory 'Tse joins the ranks of artists currently remaking the world, from Yoko Tawada to Cesar Aira.' - Joyelle McSweeney, author of Toxicon and Arachne 'Owlish is so delightfully creepy, wonderful and strange.' - Camilla Grudova, author of Children of Paradise 'A bold, brilliantly absorbing read. This clever, mercurial portrait of an alternate Hong Kong lingers long after the last page.' - Irenosen Okojie, author of Nudibranch
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