Kay Harper is a circus performer who’s recently moved to the Old City of Quebec with her new husband. Each night she walks home from the circus and stops at the window of an old puppet shop that is never open, falling a little more in love with the puppet in the window every time. One night Kay, fearful a dark figure is following her, tries the handle of the door and as she steps in she is immediately transformed into a puppet herself. From then on, Kay and her fellow puppets come alive only during the darkest hours of the night and in a narrative echoing Orpheus and Eurydice, her only escape is if her husband finds and recognizes her. A spooky novel told lushly and beautifully, with alternating chapters of Kay’s experience in the puppet show and her husband’s desperate search for her. The result is a beautiful, strange novel that explores the constrictions and freedoms of the human body, soul, and spirit.— From Kelly
From the bestselling author of The Boy Who Drew Monsters and The Stolen Child comes a modern take on the Orpheus and Eurydice Myth—A Suspenseful tale of romance and enchantment
In the Old City of Québec, Kay Harper falls in love with a puppet in the window of the Quatre Mains, a toy shop that is never open. She is spending her summer working as an acrobat with the cirque while her husband, Theo, is translating a biography of the pioneering photographer Eadweard Muybridge. Late one night, Kay fears someone is following her home. Surprised to see that the lights of the toy shop are on and the door is open, she takes shelter inside.
The next morning Theo wakes up to discover his wife is missing. Under police suspicion and frantic at her disappearance, he obsessively searches the streets of the Old City. Meanwhile, Kay has been transformed into a puppet, and is now a prisoner of the back room of the Quatre Mains, trapped with an odd assemblage of puppets from all over the world who can only come alive between the hours of midnight and dawn. The only way she can return to the human world is if Theo can find her and recognize her in her new form. So begins the dual odyssey of Keith Donohue’s The Motion of Puppets: of a husband determined to find his wife, and of a woman trapped in a magical world where her life is not her own.
“At once old and new, borrowed and original, The Motion of Puppets disdains both genre and mainstream expectations to turn readers’ attention to the permeable boundary between life and its mimicry.”—The Washington Post
“Reminiscent of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline…Underneath all the changes, [Donohue's] story has the emotional depth, the love and grief of the old myth, only transposed to the sad, leaves-falling October Country of the mind.”—The Wall Street Journal
"[Donohue's] intricately plotted narrative blurs the lines between reality and fantasy. While a love story at heart, this inventive tale is suspenseful and absorbing. You will never look at a toy store the same way again."—Real Simple
“Poetic.”—The Charlotte Observer
“Think of it as Toy Story, if it had been written by Stephen King….Donohue is adept at creating brilliantly imagined worlds that offer both menace and allure. The Motion of Puppets is cunningly strange and hypnotic, and you’re likely to find yourself drawn into its seductive peculiarities….It seems merely like a magically effortless and enchanting piece of storytelling. But don’t be surprised if you notice a twinge of existential dread begin to build after you’ve finished the last page.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch
“Beautiful melancholy encapsulates everything evocative and haunting about The Motion of Puppets, a reimagining of a classic Greek myth that fixates on the power of loss and how we confront the aftermath of a sudden absence. Theo’s storyline in particular is heartbreaking and enthralling, combining the best parts of The Fugitive and The Vanishing in stirring form.”—San Francisco Book Review
"An engrossing novel of love, fancy, and enchantment."—Shelf Awareness
“The Motion of Puppets is the only novel I know to have fulfilled Robert Aickman’s famous statement about great supernatural tales, that they are the fiction most closely approaching poetry. Keith Donohue (The Stolen Child) has crafted a perfect fable based on the mysterious attraction of the puppet theater. Building upon the archaic superstition (exploited in Toy Story) that puppets have their own emotional lives, the author takes one more magnificent step and ties in the devastating myth of Orpheus and Eurydice.… Every part of this novel hums with mythic power, pulling on every heartstring.”—BookPage
"Full of glorious detail."—New York Journal of Books
"A masterpiece of psychological horror...Intricately plotted, absorbing, and suspenseful, this is a moving, modern story set in what feels like a fairy-tale world but is actually terrifyingly realistic."—Booklist (starred review)
“An inventive and suspenseful story told from an original perspective, Donahue’s novel examines how refusing to embrace the present and struggling to escape unavoidable circumstances can alter one’s life forever.”—Publishers Weekly