Love pulls everybody’s strings.
The Harpers are new to Quebec: Kay works for the cirque, and Theo works at home, translating a biography of Eadweard Muybridge from French to English. Their hazy summer in the Old City takes a horrifying turn when Kay, drawn each day to a puppet store’s front window, is chased into the store late at night and, somehow, turned into a puppet. To Theo and the Quebec police, it seems she has disappeared, and in a way, she has: into the back room of the Quatre Mains, where she and the other puppets are only permitted to move from midnight to sunrise and where her humanity begins to fade away. Despite a lack of clues, Theo comes to believe he can find her and is willing to follow wherever the trail leads—even when it means believing his wife is no longer human. Unsurprisingly, a willingness to suspend disbelief is crucial to making it to the end of this story, and fans of Donohue’s earlier books (The Boy Who Drew Monsters, 2015, etc.) will enjoy this mixture of horror, magical realism, and mystery. The love story at the heart of the book keeps the two meandering storylines stitched together, though not gracefully. Devotees of Neil Gaiman and Steven Millhauser will appreciate Donohue’s willingness to get weird and to dig into ancient myth for inspiration; others may just be irritated.
A standard tale of suspense in a beautifully unusual setting.