by Craig Cliff - £8.99 Melville House UK (2019)
paperback ISBN 13: 9781911545293 | ISBN 10: 1911545299
A stunning historical debut novel of gothic proportions, telling the tale of a father’s obsession and the dark consequences.
“The skin was smooth and bright as porcelain, but looked as if it would give to the touch. What manner of wood had he used? What tools to exact such detail? What paints, tints or stains to flush her with life?”
So wonders the window dresser Colton Kemp when he sees the first mannequin of his new rival, a silent man the inhabitants of Marumaru simply call The Carpenter. Rocked by the sudden death of his wife in childbirth and left with twins to raise, Kemp hatches a dark and selfish plan to make his name and thwart his rival.
What follows is a gothic tale of art and deception, strength and folly, love and transgression, which ranges from small-town New Zealand to the graving docks of the River Clyde in Scotland. Along the way we meet a Prussian strongman, a family of ship’s carvers with a mysterious affliction, a septuagenarian surf lifesaver and a talking figurehead named Vengeance. Lives and stories will intertwine as fate takes its cruel trajectory, leaving you feeling as if waking from an unsettling dream.
(Price & availability last checked: November 2019)
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In booklists: Writers by Surname - C, World Fiction - New Zealand, Historical Fiction, In categories: Fiction, World - Asia, History & Biography,