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  • MacLehose Press
  • Maclehose Press

Kokoschka's Doll

Afonso Cruz

4 Reviews

Rated 0

Portugal, Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945), Fiction in translation

A richly imaginative novel inspired by the true story of Oscar Kokoschka and his life-sized doll - Winner of the European Prize for Literature

"A novel par excellence that is destined to become a classic' of almost byzantine splendour . . . At its best worthy of comparison with Gabriel Garcia Marquez" Catherine Taylor, Irish Times

"Afonso Cruz is one of the strongest voices in contemporary Portuguese literature" Antonio Saez Delgado, El Pais

At the age of forty-two, Bonifaz Vogel begins to hear a voice.

But it doesn't belong to the mice or the woodworm, as he first imagines. Nor is it the voice of God, as he comes to believe. It belongs to young Isaac Dresner, who takes refuge in the cellar of Vogel's bird shop on the run from the soldier who shot his best friend. Soon Vogel comes to rely on it for advice: he cannot make a sale without first bending down to confer with the floorboards.

Thus begins the story of two Dresden families, fractured and displaced by the devastating bombing of the city 1945, their fates not only intertwined, but bound also to that of a life-sized doll commissioned by the artist Oskar Kokoschka in the image of his lost lover.

Based on a curious true story, Kokoschka's Doll is an imaginative and playful novel that transports the reader to Dresden, Paris, Lagos and Marrakesh, introducing them to an unforgettable cast of characters along the way.

Translated from the Portuguese by Rahul Bery

Rahul Bery's translations from Portuguese and Spanish have been published in Granta, The White Review, Words Without Borders and the T.L.S. His first full-length translation, Rolling Fields by David Trueba, was published in 2020. From 2018 to 2019 he was translator-in-residence at the British Library.

With the support of the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union

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Praise for Kokoschka's Doll

  • 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.

  • A novel par excellence that is destined to become a classic' of almost byzantine splendour . . . At its best worthy of comparison with Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

  • - Irish Times.

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Afonso Cruz

Afonso Cruz was born in Figueira da Foz in 1971. He works as a director of animation movies, an illustrator, a musician and a writer. Cruz studied at the Antonio Arroio Arts High School in Lisbon, at the College of Fine Arts of Lisbon and at the Madeira Institute of Plastic Arts. His animation career includes several movies and series. In 2007, he recorded an album with his blues/roots band, The Soaked Lamb, for which he composed the original songs, wrote the lyrics, sang and played the guitar, the banjo, the harmonica and the ukulele. He started his career as a fiction writer in 2008 with the novel A Carne de Deus (The Flesh of God).

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