A richly imaginative novel inspired by the true story of Oscar Kokoschka and his life-sized doll - Winner of the European Prize for Literature
"Afonso Cruz is one of the strongest voices in contemporary Portuguese literature" Antonio Saez Delgado, El Pais
When Oskar Kokoschka's affair with Alma Mahler ended, the Austrian painter commissioned a life-sized doll in her image. Rather than keep his peccadillo secret, Kokoschka paraded with the doll through the town. But one day he grows tired of it, smashes a bottle of red wine over its head and throws it out. Years later it comes to play a role in the fate of a group of citizens who survived the thousands of tons of bombs that fell on Dresden during the Second World War.
They include Isaac Dresner, a Jew who developed a limp in his left leg after he was burdened with the memory of his best friend being killed in front of him during the war; Bonifaz Vogel, a man who lives with a suspended conscience; Tsilia Kacev, an Orthodox Jew who is marked by the stigmata; and Zsigmond Varga, a millionaire whose dream is to find a method to weigh the human soul, measuring evil and sin with a hydraulic scale.
Based on a remarkable true story, and set during a tumultuous period in European history, Kokoschka's Doll is an imaginative and playful novel combining philosophical musings, wistful tales of lost love and accomplished writing rich with imagery.
What truly distinguishes Cruz is how he can combine philosophical thinking with surprising writing, rich with imagery. - Time Out.
Highly recommended for its imaginative, playful character, though it tells many tales of sad love. - Publico.