DOLLMAKER: The Eyelight and the Shadow by Kathryn Lasky

DOLLMAKER: The Eyelight and the Shadow

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In the environs of Boston, a young woman named Carole Bowling makes lifelike, limited-edition dolls for collectors--and this is chiefly an evocation of that sensibility. (It has little to do, that is, with either the making of dolls generally or a child's conception of a doll.) Carole, we're told, came to her vocation by working ""as a switchboard operator for [a] collector's answering-service."" She was surrounded by dolls: ""The expressions were exquisite--some with bemused half-smiles, the paperweight eyes slightly troubled, some flirty with glass-blown or painted eyes, some sober or tentative with enigmatic smiles, eyes staring out of another century, seeming almost to sense the future."" The child who gets past a sentence like that--if such there be--will eventually find Carole painstakingly modeling the face of her six-year-old son Matthew. . . to achieve an exact, proportionate likeness. (Earlier we have heard also about ""that child-light that is the soul of a real child's eye."") When she has her clay model, she makes a single mold and casts three or four heads with which to make two or three dolls (the figures are given differently at different points). ""This will make the dolls original, rare, and unreplicable in quality."" On the last page we see, indistinguishable from Matthew, a Matty doll. It's all slightly creepy--and very rarefied.

Pub Date: Oct. 30th, 1982
Publisher: Scribners