Title: The Motion of Puppets
Author: Keith Donohue
Length: 260 pages
Plot Basics: Circus performer Kay Harper loves the puppets she sees in the window of an abandoned toy shop in Quebec. Leaving the performance late one night and afraid she’s being followed, Kay sees the shop’s light on and ducks in for safety. And is gone.
She is no longer a person, but a puppet, spending her days in the back of the toy shop quite and coming to life with the other puppets at night.
Her husband, Theo, desperate to get her back sets off on his own wild quest to see if he can find her.
Banter Points: When Keith Donohue burst on the scene with his “Stolen Child” I was hooked. Unfortunately in the way of book readers, I forgot about him until I saw the listing for his new book in my weekly Wowbrary email. I instantly put it on hold and don’t regret that decision in the slightest. He writes weird things, but blends the weird with the real seemlessly.
The story themes on how much of life we go through as rote, as automatons, until we’re forced into new behaviors. Donohue, as expected, quietly asks which characters are the more human, the actual humans or the puppets.
And when the creepiness of the puppets verges on being too much, he pulls back and drops lines like “Love is the madness which allows us to believe in magic.”
Bummer Points: The plot took a while to really start humming. I wasn’t sure about this book until halfway through, which is quite the slow burn to me.
Word Nerd Recommendation: If you like books like Station Eleven that blend literary fiction with a touch of sci-fi, “The Motion of Puppets”