Ursula Scavenius, Jennifer Russell
In the four stories that make up The Dolls, characters are plagued by unexplained illnesses and oblique, human-made disasters and environmental losses. A big sister descends into the family basement. Another sister refuses her younger brother. A third sister with memory loss is on the run, seeking shelter at Notpla. A fourth set of siblings travel to Hungary with their late mother in a coffin. They each have a different version of their mother’s story.
Drawing on the likes of August Strindberg, Franz Kafka, Andrej Kurkov, Knut Hamsun, T.S. Eliot, Bela Tarr, and Hieronymus Bosch, Scavenius’s universe is chilling and excruciatingly seductive. In it, nothing can be said to be true anymore. After all, anything can be propaganda today.
"Here is a writer of extremely unusual imaginative powers. I found myself completely entranced. This is one of the most extraordinary pieces of writing I've ever read." - BBC Radio 4; "These are artful, singular stories which, with rigorous inventiveness of language and technique, vividly evoke the calamities that form our nightmares." - The Irish Times; "Fiercely anti-establishment and addictively macabre. The translation is appropriately atmospheric: Jennifer Russell has done a marvellous job of weaving the narrative seamlessly between an almost dreamlike lyricism and a grisly reality." - Translating Women; "A dilute wash of watercolour exposes the terrifying images and themes underneath... Emerging from Scavenius' world, we recognise the cruelty and threat and bewilderment as not only the domain of the world she's writing from, but also a powerful and poetic compression of where we live." - Exacting Clam; "Ursula Scavenius is one of the most exciting Danish short story writers at work today. The Dolls, in Jennifer Russell's magnificent translation, is a literary page-turner: haunting, mesmerizing, and unforgettable in all its grotesque glory." - Katrine Ogaard Jensen
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