The Dollmaker by Nina Allan

The Dollmaker

Nina Allan

This book is a wonderful hodgepodge; literary fiction mixed with fantasy fairytale, sprinkled with historical, gothic and romance fiction too. The diverse writing can make it challenging to read, but it’s worth just sinking into the book as much as you can and allowing the experience to wash over you. Some of the interior short stories are chillingly brilliant, and whilst there are moments of humour, much of it is haunting and unsettling.

Extract

Her left eye was perfectly normal. On the right side of her face, where the other eye should have been, there was just a pinkish, wrinkled hollow, like a thumb print in Plasticine.
Other than that, I thought she was pretty. She had delicate, birdlike hands and a sweet, soft smile. Her chestnut-coloured hair was like a perfumed cloud. I stared at the monstrous concavity on the right side of her face and wondered what it might feel like to touch it: whether it would be soft, like her cheek, or whether I would be able to feel a phantom eye moving about beneath the skin, slimy and gelatinous and cold.

Parallels
  • Uprooted by Naomi Novak
  • The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden